Ephorize by CupcakKe (short review)

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“A well-rounded introduction to a skilled writer” – Pitchfork

 

Perhaps not the most eloquent introduction to the year, today’s volunteer for the chopping block is the relentlessly vile and cringe-inducing Cupcakke with her most recent release; Ephorize. Research into the past and works of CupcakKe explains how her career is largely directed by the unique selling point of being some kind of vile sexual deviant, which I’m totally cool with when it’s done right, but in this case just seems somewhat pathetic. I shan’t recite her lyrical content, but it’s worth looking at to get a proper idea of her personality and for a giggle, because it’s actually really funny when you don’t have to hear her reciting it.

Now, I’m not one to shy from unnecessary vulgarity – I’m going to say crusty yeast infections for the sheer sake of it – but her use of lyrics and sexual content just seems really fucking desperate. I find her work totally lacking in any form of talent and it’s just executed in a style totally lacking in true style. I feel the character that is CupcakKe is just what the pop industry has been threatening since Lady Gaga first entered the pop world with his audacious and bold approach to sexuality, though he did it with such a phenomenal style and execution that CupcakKe just can’t recreate.

The music itself isn’t so bad – it’s pretty damn headache-inducing, but at low volumes it’s cool and well put together, it’s just a shame it has to be connected to CupcakKe’s god-awful lyrics and voice. I hear music like this and just wish I could hear Lil’ Jon’s balls-out shouting over the top instead. In fact, throughout this album there were many times I wanted to switch off and listen to him instead. This is the kind of music you listen to if you really hate your neighbours or flatmate and simply just have no taste, but there is a measure of cathartic joy from the sound design and the feeling of the bass.

This is the kind of music that makes me feel pure shame in the music industry and society as a whole. It forces me to imagine having a daughter and how my life would revolve so much around protecting her from the vile influences of this music! In fact, if any of you readers have kids then you should make effort to protect their delicate ears from the influence of this, lest you end up dealing with a depressing case of underage pregnancy. This vulgar nature and adherence to poorly-written pop-culture references makes for something so monumentally dreadful that the only effective use of the IP would likely be a comedic reading from Stephen Fry or Gilbert Gottfried. CupcakKe really is just atrocious. Her music is totally lacking in any actual style and I would recommend her only to those conducting a case study regarding post-lobotomy patients or those with a fetish for total skanks.

 

 

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POST- by Jeff Rosenstock (album review)

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(Yeah, it’s pretty good.)

With album releases seeming somewhat far and few between as we enter the new year, I find myself gravitating towards the only album released this year to the point of writing, a little ol’ thing called POST- by Jeff Rosenstock. With no prior knowledge of the man, I was surprised to find a body of work dating back as far as 1998 and involvement in a frankly stunning amount of albums, projects and acts. Rosenstock’s agenda seems fairly clear and there seems a consistent and personal aspect to his continued mindset which implies that the criticisms I have with this latest release are largely due to his personal design. I feel there’s something to be said for one who coins the names “The Arrogant Sons of Bitches” and “Bomb the Music Industry!” and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t very much appreciate his mentality and approach to music. He seems like a somewhat brazen character and this extends towards this latest musical vehicle, and I think that’s why I like it. 

I feel the album suffers from many of the same issues as a great many other albums which follow the musical design of one particular person and the most outstanding of these issues seems to be a somewhat disorienting flow and conflict of ideas. I’d like to say the issues feel redeemed by the creativity on display but this feels somewhat untrue. I will say that it’s a good bit of fun if you’re into that whole Punk thing, but it does sound like a bit of a fucking mess at times. I hugely appreciate the creativity on show throughout the album as a whole and I feel the variety of styles and influences speaks to a remarkable level of creative promise, but there are often times this feels poorly optimised and structural mismanagement often reflects in a manner that makes little to no sense. 

At this point I feel like I’m the only person in the world who actually gives a fuck about fantastic production quality and albums like this seem to ram this feeling deep up my ass with total disregard for my complaints. What I mean to declare with this total lack of eloquence is that this album sounds like shit in terms of the production quality, but I feel this was the personal design of Rosenstock himself and it contributes to a sound highly reminiscent of a DIY Punk/Grunge-esque tone. Still, despite this being his clear intention, I feel it to be fairly unnecessary and I feel a better energy could have been captured with more emphasis on the vocals and the leading instrumentation. I was pretty surprised to hear the addition of synth in places, but I didn’t feel they were really out of place in the album and they seem to fit quite nicely in the mix. The addition of synth also did much to offer originality and creativity to the album and served to draw my focus to the mind of Rosenstock, further securing my personal admiration in the man and his vision. 

The album is a curious amalgamation of a variety of styles and influences and, where many fail to capture the essence of them all, I feel that Rosenstock respects this and addresses this concern with an album that considers the spirit of Punk, Pop Punk and Indie Rock and displays them all in a wonderful light. When you consider the album from a certain perspective and consider the expansive past of Rosenstock, you can really hear the vast experience the man has – though this does little to restrain the adolescent sense of rebellion and identity most prominent in some of the opening tracks. 

I’d happily go on record and say it’s a very enjoyable album with a good, solid track listing, but the production feels so awful it becomes really hard to recommend. I guess if you don’t give a shit about how good the overall sound is and just care about an upbeat energy then you should check it out. I was very divisive on the album to begin with but by the time I reached TV Stars I began to appreciate the feel of the album a lot more. I don’t usually care much for lyrics, but I felt I actually cared about the words of Rosenstock in this album. I think it’s a fun album and if you have an interest in Punk Rock you should give it a whirl. Don’t expect particularly good production quality or displays of instrumental technicality, that’s not what this album is about – but the energy itself is pretty fantastic and it does well to capture the essence of Punk in a very unique and creative way. 

Boom by Walker Hayes (album review)

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(Yeah, it’s alright)

At this point I feel internal rupturing from the consistent fucking of all the Hip-Hop I’ve been exposed to and when today’s choice was between a “Pop Mixtape” and a seventy-four fucking minute Hip-Hop album, I cut myself some slack and skipped back a week to something I had hoped would be at least slightly different. I dug up Walker Hayes! Some American Country singer that none of us have even the slightest familiarity with. Yay!

I’ll level with you, folks; I don’t know if I like this or if I’m just so fucking glad to not be listening to another Kanye or Eminem. If I were to describe this album to a total stranger it would not take too long before the words; “kinda like an early Ed Sheeran, built for TV and radio adverts” streamed from my mouth. Now, those who know my stance on Ed may consider this a brutal disapproval on my part, but at this point I’m just glad to be listening to something which doesn’t suck so religiously from the dick of mass commercialism. 

The album has an air of Pop-like positivity that still pains my head to a small degree and it generally feels far too intrusive for my liking in places, but this stands outweighed by my appreciation for the humanity behind the album. The album leaves me with flashbacks to the Night Visions album by Imagine Dragons for its upbeat and somewhat basic structure and I think I’m kinda cool with that! It’s nice not to be receiving an ear fucking from some poorly programmed kick drum. 

I feel I would appreciate this album more if it were to wear its identity more clearly. Though it doesn’t come close to the “production line” quality of some of my previously reviewed albums, it definitely feels like something which wants some mainstream appeal whilst retaining a personality of its own and I feel there’s too much compromise behind this approach. I feel the album could stand to be a lot more intelligent behind its structuring and lyrical construction, but this is clearly something restrained by the desire to appeal to a more Pop-based demographic. 

If there’s still an audience for Sheeran’s older music then I’m sure this can find a respectable following too. It’s not a badly constructed album at all, it’s just pretty basic and somewhat lacking in anything wholly original. I’ll recommend this over the majority of mainstream bands and artists right now because it actually has a fucking heart to it, but I’d be lying if I said it was anything special. It’s just kinda good. Mind Candy and Craig are both pretty cool tracks so check them out and if they’re your bag then check out the album! 

No One Ever Really Dies by N.E.R.D (album review)

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(What cool looking guys! What shit music!)

First impressions were not good, ladies and gentlemen! Of the three remaining listed releases of this week I was tasked with deciding from three albums I really didn’t give a shit about before surrendering to N.E.R.D, mostly due to a slight familiarity with their earlier music. With expectations at an all time low, it wasn’t a stretch for my first thoughts to be overwhelmingly negative. 

There is something to be said for an album which simply encourages one to compile a list of juvenile and vulgar insults over genuine criticisms, and it sure isn’t positive! I trust I can be forgiven for assuming the introductory tracks should serve either to build towards a greater dynamic or to hit me with a hard fucking from the beginning to give me a good impression of the album, right? Whether you consider this more than adequate assumption or not, I’m almost certain you’ll agree that it acts as a hindrance to begin an album with your worst songs and hope to progressively get better.

Depressingly, however, any benefit the album might gain from this bold approach is in vain, as you slowly learn that the album doesn’t seem to increase in quality at any point. Sure, some songs have a better energy, but most just feel like a total assault on your senses. The tracks all come loaded with more headache-inducing noises than an evangelical street preacher and some songs almost feel painful to listen to. Couple this with the abrupt endings to some of the earlier tracks and it makes for a total lack of flow.

What upset me most is the clear potential the band have to make incredible music! The introductory section to Don’t Don’t Do It genuinely sounds fantastic, but the sound gradually falls into “total shit-storm” territory, much like the other tracks. And yes, I am pissed that my lord and saviour, Kendrick Lamar, got involved in this. This total disregard isn’t limited to this one particular track either! I felt a similar thing with the following track, ESP, which shows equal groove and pizzazz, until, much like the previous track, the song descends into absolute fucking garbage. 

Maybe I’m not “going down on the kids”, or whatever your hip, millennial saying is, but I genuinely struggle to speculate to the target market for this. The band make huge attempts to incorporate very experimental techniques, which I’m totally on board for, but when they apply these to a sleek and stylish R&B groove they just seem to turn all of their gold to shit! It’s almost as if the aim of the album is to make an incomprehensible fucking mess. 

To conclude, my darling readers; the album is shit. I expected far more from Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, but they failed to deliver any more than a compilation of squandered potential, incomprehensible noise and a total lack of flow. The album seemed a fucking ball-ache to listen to and there were legitimately times I just wanted to give up and do something more enjoyable, like drinking a bucketful of raspberry-scented bleach. I feel content in stating this has been one of the most dreadful experiences I have had this year and I couldn’t recommend you further from this album. 

Saturation III by Brockhampton (album review)

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(yep, it’s pretty good!)

I don’t ask for much when I listen to an album, despite the opinions of others. Throw me something with charisma and a solid groove and I’ll be more than happy with it! Unlike the 78 minute shit-show that was Revival by Eminem, Brockhampton carry this in spades, delivering a solid rhythmic fucking from start to end with their fourth instalment; Saturation III

I thought nothing of them when I saw their name appear whilst checking the weekly releases and I wouldn’t have given them the time of day if it weren’t for my total lack of interest in anything else, but I’m glad I checked them out. A quick Wiki search drew a pretentious scoff from my incredibly sexy throat as I saw them described as “the internet’s first boy band” with eight contributing vocalists, but the words “critically acclaimed” swiftly put me back in my place. The obvious consideration for sound-scaping and instrumental orchestration works well to justify this critical praise, but I can hardly consider it a masterpiece. Oftentimes the lyrics feel somewhat poorly written and sometimes disruptive of the flow of the music, though this isn’t a huge deal as it doesn’t apply to the album as a whole. 

The large number of vocal contributors serves as both a benefit and hindrance to this album. Whilst allowing for a refreshing level of diversity and variety and enabling a more adventurous approach to composition, it’s too easy to form a judgement on which particular vocalist you like the most and then it becomes something of a pop hits album, with you skipping to the parts you appreciate the most. That is, of course, assuming you do not possess the beautifully open-minded mentality of this most modest and majestic of writers. 

I feel at this point that every album with even a respectable budget should be expected to possess great sound production, but I found this album particularly impressive in this respect. I feel that strenuous effort was contributed to the overall sound of the fantastic vocal harmonies and layerings throughout the album and nothing seems particularly intrusive, with the exception of that god-awful “Woo” sound in the first few tracks and, what I am completely fucking convinced is, the sampling of Navi from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in the third track, though I forgive this for the absolutely stunningly atmospheric melodies towards the end.

Though I previously made a point to mention the poorly written lyrics, I feel there is a measure of humanity to them and they do well to portray the social and cultural influences of the various vocal contributors, which I consider a crucial trait within the Hip-Hop genre. The placing of the accents works well with the instrumentation and backing music to create a very tight sounding product, particularly in tracks such as Hottie

It seems like the general rule of thumb is to avoid anything with a higher budget these days. I recently listened to the most recent albums of Eminem, Kanye West and Juicy J and found all of them totally lacking in excitement and style, with all three seemingly playing to their own ego and not to a particularly ambitious musical display. 

Unlike others of the genre, Brockhampton have worked to create something of a relatable nature whilst neglecting an air of negativity or hostility. This album feels like a more inclusive attempt at the genre, clearly acknowledging racial segregation and abuse, but presenting it in a manner which preaches harmony and understanding above the themes of its peers. 

To summarise, it’s a pretty fucking good album! It represents the genre well, possesses a diverse range and offers all the variety your lovely little ear holes could ask for. The music is presented very well and carries a wonderful balance between style and emotional depth and it feels like one of few recent products of the genre which exceeds all of my expectations. 

My apologies, readers! I’m sure I’ll find the next album absolutely fucking dreadful!

Asking Alexandria by Asking Alexandria (album review)

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(Fucking hate self-titled albums)

Well, it turns out Asking Alexandria are actually pretty decent after all! Having not listened to the band for a great many years, I had them noted as a more amateur alternative to Bring Me The Horizon – but I think I may have misjudged the band! How disappointing for one such as me who simply adores every opportunity to relish in hatred and misery! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; the band still aren’t particularly amazing, they’re just kind of alright.

I won’t fault the band for their efforts regarding sound production and there stands a clear display of creative ability evident in some of the sound-scaping and breakdowns, but there just isn’t the same energy and magic that others of the genre seem to possess. Perhaps an unpopular opinion, but when regarding this genre I often refer my mind to Fightstar who, though lacking in the ability to structure songs to a great standard, are more than redeemed by the intensity of a drunken hate-fuck with your bitch of an ex-girlfriend. 

Though efforts have been made to incorporate an intensity of their own, I don’t feel that this band have channeled it as well as they could have. There is clearly a desperation to the music and vocals, particularly in the percussion; but I just don’t feel the emotional core as clearly as I do in similar acts. Still, the band seem one of the better of this style at layering and atmosphere building, which is a heavy statement when their work seems so easily comparable to Bring Me The Horizon, who also incorporate this aspect extremely well. 

The band embrace the importance of flow and balance this with very well considered dynamics to create something pretty fucking fantastic. I always appreciate a Metal band that offers a consistent fucking and I feel this album delivers this very well and, as a result, the album benefits from a constant state of enjoyment.

I was deeply reluctant to give this album a proper chance, given than the fanbase are possibly the most insufferable wankers I have ever had the misfortune of knowing; but I’m glad I did! Obviously, if you’re a fan of the Pop Charts or generally music that isn’t too heavy then you’ll probably want to give this a pass, but it wouldn’t serve as the worst entry point to the genre for those wishing to experiment. The album does have a Pop-like presentation that their previous work lacked, which will no doubt earn ridicule from the long-lasting fans of the genre, but I think it makes for a better executed and higher-quality product as a result.

I’m sure you wouldn’t be hard-pressed to find a fan who thinks this is their worst album yet because it’s not like their first, but I find it a perfectly satisfactory piece of work. I can see the album becoming something of a crowd-pleaser to fans of the genre if they’re willing to accept the more chilled out nature of the music and additional focus on the atmosphere-building. It’s just a wonderful display of ability from a totally respectable band and, against my original anticipations, it has weaselled its way into my Spotify library. 

Revival by Eminem (album review)

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(Should have stayed dead)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could tell apart a shit album with nought but a remarkable ability of clairvoyance? Well, it turns out I possess this remarkable gift of foresight! With a mere “Feat – Ed Sheeran” label on one of the tracks, I predicted that this would be a passionless and dull affair from start to end and oh fucking boy was I right! Or maybe I knew this straight out of the bat because of the convenient “Eminem” label on the front of the case because, seriously guys; when is the last time Eminem actually made anything of any real quality? When was the last time he released somebody with that glorious face-fucking and balls-out attitude he started with? 

Now I know what you’re all thinking; “What right does your privileged white ass have to review a rap album?” and your dumb ass may be right to question this, were we to live in a world of stereotypes where all white people listen to Taylor Swift and only black people have the capacity to like rap music! Even with the huge disadvantage of having been born whiter than powdered cocaine, I swiftly learned that the flow and timing of the lyrical delivery is paramount to genre. I was genuinely shocked to hear parts of his songs where Eminem’s timing actually felt disjointed and his accents often felt misplaced or totally absent from where they actually needed to be. This works in conjunction with the general orchestration of the backing music often feeling cheap and poorly presented, with more than a fair share of disjointed spaces throughout the entire album.

Normally I wouldn’t single out a particular song for dedicated criticism, but Untouchable seems like a frankly desperate attempt to stay up-to-date with a pathetic modern-day SJW mentality as well with a frankly embarrassing display of a white guy preaching exactly what we all learned from the Straight Outta Compton album in 1988 and a basic knowledge of the history of racial abuse. A true pity, because this was one of my most enjoyed tracks of the album

Although the sound production shines above the rest in the track, I found the shameless Joan Jett mash-up to be truly fucking embarrassing with samples used in such an amateurish fashion and the further incorporation of Zombie by The Cranberries encourages thoughts that the album itself seems to be desperately scraping from the bottom of the proverbial bucket.

When I initially began taking notes about the album, I noted the disjointed flow to some of his lyrical delivery and terrible imitations of other rappers but it feels like these failures are contained to their respective songs, which seems a real fucking service to the brave and dutiful cunts who have to tank out this seventy-eight minute show of tediousness, but it just highlights a constancy of mistakes throughout the entire album and adds a huge level of inconsistency to the overall tone and lasting contemplation of suicide.

The album feels like a totally passionless compilation of mediocrity with just a few moments of levity throughout and more filler than a triple-hole fucking from The Three Musketeers. Maybe I could forgive this, were the album not a fucking exasperating seventy-eight mother-cunting minutes long! That’s the same fucking length as the original Jungle Book movie, and that that has way better music in it! 

I’d love to say I’d recommend this to those who suffer especially badly with insomnia for how fucking dull the album is but that sentence is more exciting and well-considered than the album deserves. If you absolutely have to listen to a white rapper then you should listen to his Slim Shady LP, but you’re best off listening to the absolute fucking masterpiece that is To Pimp A Butterfly by the mighty Kendrick Lamar.

 Or just get out of the house and do something interesting for once, you lazy twat.