Hello & welcome to to the Halfway list of 2019's best albums girl. June is officially the halfway point (6th month duh) and our lady god has blessed us with a solid handful of glorious albums we can put on repeat. Now keep in mind I am currently sipping on some canned Rosé, you know the UNDERWOOD kind, so please expect things to get a lil loose and funky from here on out. I'll start chugging now. I fully expect all these albums to age nicely like a ripe mango.
In no particular order.
Ariana Grande - thank u, next
Shortly after Sweetener was released Ariana Grande decided she had another track list of iconic songs to share. The biggest buzz that surrounded the album release was the music video for "thank u, next". Filled with odes to classic early 2000's movies like Legally Blonde, Bring It On, and Mean Girls, "thank u, next" was probably one of the few music videos I have seen to quote unquote break the internet. Millions of people signed on to YouTube for the first views of the video (guilty for being one) and were in shock and awe one Kris Jenner flashed on our screens - you know what scene I'm talking about, the burn book with all her Ex boyfriends, and the super cute outfits. Anyways, the music video wasn't the only spectacular thing about this moment. Highly underrated songs like "imaging" & "NASA" tell the tale of Grande swinging back into her solo personal life post Pete and finding herself. Breakups are hard... but now they kinda aren't after listening to thank u, next.
Lizzo - Cuz I Love You
Lizzo rose to the top of the charts so mother fucking fast I should have made a wish on her. Her humble beginnings and dedication to music left her in the large state of Texas, where she had plenty of room to grow. Along the way to 2019 got herself into college by playing the flute, she kinda lived in her car, and made music for Prince who clearly saw the exponential potential henny. Now as you know - she is living her best life & happily twerking in all our faces (#honored). I personally came across Lizzo after hearing her song "Let 'em Say" feat. Caroline Smith during an episode of Broad City when Abbi & Ilana are split screen in their bathrooms over the course of multiple days. I was like, "this song its so iconic" (ya my exact words) and searched the lyrics. One song led me to another. By then "Good As Hell", "Fitness", & "Truth Hurts" aka "100% That Bitch" were on that Spotify repeat rotation. "Karaoke" fucking blew my mind and leveled me out. Bounce music & the New Orleans" Big Freeda shocked my system and gave me the energy I needed to continue to replay all the Lizzo songs. One second she was on the podcast I was listening to on the 101 fwy, then she was touring with Florence & the Machine, and hitting her flute on my IG Story... all while the clock was ticking to go boom. Within a year dis bitch blew up and now she has blessed us with Cuz I Love You, her debut album. Every song hits different and makes you feel closer to the talented beauty that is Lizzo.
Rico Nasty & Kenny Beats - Anger Management
Bars of steel, power lyrics that give me paper cuts like ugh, &fits that make me sad I'm not as extra as I wish I could be - Rico is my dream come true. Rico Nasty is the punk powder puff girl we all needed in the rap game. Teaming up with EDM DJ turned Rap Producer Kenny Beats, a white cutie from NY (relevant bc a lot of people are surprised) the two conceived "Anger Management". Kenny Beats happened to impress Rico one day at her studio session after he came up with the "Smack A Bitch" beat on the spot, after Rico (maybe sarcastically) suggested he reference Bad Brains as inspo. He made it work and now they are a dynamic duo.
This bouncy album serves delicious beats that keeps the pussy poppin and truly showcases the pairs innate ability to curate a hard new sound. "Big Titties" feat. Baauer & EARTHGANG happens to be my personal favorite & will definitely keep the crowd twerking in place for a long time.
Ari Lennox - Shea Butter Baby
Just looking at the album artwork I knew... it was going to be a sparkly beautiful album. The first full length album "Shea Butter Baby" by Ari Lennox dropped and every song makes me feel closer to her. It is something you can plan on listening to on repeat and even has fellow Dreamville features on it. The single "Shea Butter Baby" feat. J. Cole plays like a rhythmic dance and showcases Ari's ability to surround and melt down Cole's bars. Prior to that single on the track list "BMO" & "Broke" feat. JID are hands down the standouts from this entire record. It feels like she wanted to keep this special moment within the Dreamville family and make her mark as a lead role.
Flume - Hi This Is Flume
If you aren't familiar by now, Flume has the magical ability to make his electronic sounds tangible. I can always clearly see the music and watch how it moves through my mind, usually bright silver metal and glittery rain that can splat against a wall of sound and morph through each second of the music. This album, "Hi This Is Flume" in particular comes with sharper edges. After a hiatus, Flume has clearly taken the time to curate this track list and the stand out feature is hands down SOPHIE. "Voices" has that heart stopping layered beat - assumed to be by KUCKA - gets jazzed up by SPOHIE's lovely vocals. The entire song blends beautifully and shows the dynamic range Flume to showcase in his music. JPEGMAFIA's feature on "How To Build A Relationship" drops bars with slick messages and solid opinions JPEG has on society as a whole today and how he plans to stay interacting with people. Each song moves into the next like silk and shows the longevity from the Australian.
Omar Apollo - Friends (EP)
Can someone please get this dude more studio time? This EP is bursting at the seams with juicy thick beats that tie in nicely with his heavenly lyrics and milky voice. Immediately "Ashamed" serves you Prince/Childish Gambino (post Awaken, ML!) vibes and moves right into the next funky ass beat in "Kickback". The two major music themes seem to be dreamy love song vs. retro synth beat and I just want to inject it into my veins. Trouble can bring tears to your eyes if it catches you at a vulnerable moment, which is not something I ever though a young twenty something year old with a guitar could really do (I swore off crushing on musicians with guitars its too overwhelming). However the maturity and technique Omar Apollo consistently brings to the table, especially on the guitar and in the lyrics, never gets boring. Overall, the album will make you feel like you are back to the first triumphs and tribulations faced when sharing your heart with someone. Apollo is trying to navigate this new found adult love, which to no surprise, comes with heartache. To fully understand what I mean just watch this video below.
SadGirl - Water
"Water" has been a long time coming. After months of teasing and playing songs live for crowds SadGirl's full length album "Water" succeeds at catching the Southern California sound the group has come to embody. Seeing this band grow has been very special & every new song I heard them play live carried over so perfectly onto the album. "Breakfast Is Over" was the first single to capture my attention & I love the follow up "Breakfast for 2" so much because its rare when you can find that storytelling technique so masterfully applied to a discography. Lead singer Misha knows exactly what he is doing when he sings "Miss Me", the melancholy old sound makes you feel the confusion he is conveying so clearly. The best part of the album has to he the sounds you hear that feel like they are coming from another time. The dizzy guitar, the classic organ, and cute horn sounds. Intertwining them all makes the band unique and fresh and keeps this album's tracks at the top of my playlists. Can't wait to see what comes next from SadGirl.
Beyoncé - Homecoming
If you didn't pull a muscle running to your phone or computer to turn on Homecoming on either Netflix or Spotify as soon as it came out how dare you. I don't think another milestone performance will hit the same way Beyoncé's did, none the less a Coachella performance. Funny story, (actually not) I had tickets to Coachella the year prior when she had to because she was pregnant and Lady Gaga performed instead. It was still amazing but I was too burnt out and broke to get tickets in 2018 so I am living through this Docu/Album. Homecoming is the true span of Beyoncé's career. We have been given brief glimpses into the royalty affair that is her life and hung onto every confessional word in Lemonade. We retweeted the baseball bat memes from "Hold Up" and downloaded Tidal's 30 day free trial to access the visual. Now we have Homecoming. An ode to the HBCU tradition she always cherished, Beychella managed to take that special moment and amplify it to the heavens. The nearly 2 hour performance planned a year in advance shocked and awed the Beyhive immediately. I made the decision not to watch the Coachella performance when it was streaming because I wanted to go into OTRII with fresh expectations. Once those expectations were more than met, I still waited to watch the Coachella performance. When the album dropped and the documentary was added to Netflix I had it on repeat from day one. This powerhouse live performance album is one of the best I have every listened to. You can truly jump in at any time and be entertained like its the first time you are listening. Great live albums are a rare gem and this one is one of the best live albums of the 21st century.
Other notable mentions that I still need more time to absorb:
Tyler, The Creator - IGOR
Anderson .Paak - Ventura with the Andre 300 feature.
Goldlink - Diaspora
The Falling Man (EP) - Duckwrth
Billie Eilish - When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?