Weekly Capsule Reviews – 17/07/2016


This week: Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa, Shura, blink-182

Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book (12/05/2016 – self-released) – (Mixtape)

This is the gospel record Kanye wanted and never got. That’s why he’s on it. Even he sounds “rejuvenated” (I use that loosely) gospely-speaking. A full voice, a full choir, and a full story – a new kid, a commemoration of his grandma, and his willingness to party through all the serenity. Aware of his blessings like all of these guys are, he believes in the kingdom not the king, knows there’s no Twitter in heaven (hopefully), and loves his fifty-ninth-floor hotel rooms with the big wide windows. So wide he can look over and down on the hip-hop world and for us to look up and bask in his good-guy air that he thinks is true to heart. And so do I. “Never let a friendship get in my way/Never let a blog get in my way” – maybe I should take heed. (8/10)

Vic Mensa – There’s Alot Going On (03/06/2016 – Roc Nation/Def Jam Recordings) – (EP)

Mensa has the soft sensibilities and regretful poetry that every hip-hop artist thinks they have and the ones we wish the likes of Kanye would adopt. Relinquishing some of those strenuous and self-imposed aspects (not quite all) which come with the gangsta lifestyle for a new-bae search and taking full advantage of lucrative record deals, he comes at us with a finale where his visualised future isn’t suppressed by his regrets. Natalie was on the receiving end of those regrets, however. (8/10)

Shura – Nothing’s Real (08/07/2016 – Polydor Records/Interscope Records)

Unlike Grimes’ triumph of last year in Art Angels, this didn’t feel like she was debating with me. It didn’t bring Grimes’ casual feminism to pass and it didn’t flip the “patriarchy” on its head. This seemed content but there’s no problem there. The smooth melodies of her voice and the hazy flow between her voice and the instruments is tight. Almost too tight. Madonna with innocence and maybe Grimes without it. (7/10)

blink-182 – California (01/07/2016 – BMG Rights Management)

Do you miss Tom DeLonge? I don’t know if I care or not. I don’t even have to explain this. It’s actually a half decent and more than half competent pop-punk record – booming front-loaded guitars like any punk record should possess, childish G-rated profanities, and a song about building a pool to see some naked guys. Okay, PG-rated, maybe. (3/10)


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