Published on The Indiependent
Anti // Rihanna
From the fateful day Rihanna’s Instagram featured a studio shot back in October 2014, Anti has been the buzz word on everybody’s lips. Notably, Rihanna has utilised the greats in her industry, employing the music skills of Kanye, Sir Paul McCartney, Sia, Florence Welch and Natalia Kills to name just a few of the plethora of stars involved in the album’s production. Already featuring raw, soulful vocals in ‘FourFiveSeconds’, and providing a feast for our eyes in the visually stunning yet graphic ‘Bitch Better Have My Money’, the morsels released have generated a hungry appetite for its release, paving the way for what many have dubbed album of the year.
The internet sphere has been abuzz, and we can expect the album to be filled to the brim with new genres and experiments for Rihanna. One such genre is that of dancehall, popularised in Jamaica and the Caribbean, suggesting that she is looking to her roots to develop her new sound. Interestingly, the album marks a pivotal stage within her career, in which the transition between international pop star and infamous superstar must be bridged. Although a collaboration with the holy trinity (Rihanna / Beyoncé / Nicki Minaj) seems unlikely, the album promises to deliver a star-studded line-up, golden R&B hits and, most importantly, RiRi at her all-time best.
How Does It Feel // MSMR
Founding a music label that has released tracks for artists such as HAIM, Charli XCX and Marina and the Diamonds, MSMR are keen to slingshot from the success of their fellow label comrades and gain a cult following with their second album, due to be released on the 17th of July. Infamous for the psychedelic, dreamy pop sounds and synth-powered ballads, MSMR’s sound is both intriguing and instantly recognisable. Their newest release is set to be dripping with the dreamy vibes associated with their act, yet seeks to establish themselves as the newest sound of pop as acts such as Years & Years bring dreamy pop to the masses
With teasers nestled in the tracks ‘Painted’, ‘Wrong Victory’, ‘Criminal’ and the eponymously titled ‘How Does It Feel’, the band have established an amalgamation of synths, dreams and ballads layered over a very personal message. The music expected from the band’s second album is easily comparable to the sounds of a Wordsworth poem, or the images evoked in a Picasso painting. ‘Painted’ itself delivers the pop anthem expected, whilst the title track establishes a dreamscape of beats that are bound to be maintained throughout the album’s other melodies. Undoubtedly, the listener will be taken on an emotional rollercoaster, whilst their hands are held tightly with the synths and beats. How Does It Feel could be the most underrated album of the year.
Honeymoon // Lana del Rey
Arguably the most hotly anticipated follow-up of 2015, Lana del Rey looks to continue the success of her three major label releases to achieve yet another number one album. Images of smoky jazz bars and artistically noir melodies are instantly conjured to the mind whenever Honeymoon is mentioned – linking heavily to Lana del Rey’s trademark style. Shrouded in mystery and ambiguity, little is known about the album itself, and this creates a stark contrast to the numerous heavily-promoted albums that litter the charts. The album, much like Lana herself, remains elusive and aloof, with the exclusive teaser being drip-fed throughout the spheres of Twitter and Instagram.
Interviews and the singer’s personal social media accounts have revealed we can expect a cover of Nina Simone’s ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’, as well as a collaboration with Mark Ronson, establishing the album as something that will become the must-listen to record. Alluding to her sound in Grazia as “close to the golden age of jazz” and to be filled with “majestic choruses” and “beautiful orchestrations”, Honeymoon appears to be aiming for a sense of grandeur that sees a definitive shift from pop-based jazz to something more definitively jazzy. Yet, naturally, the self-defined “gangster Nancy Sinatra” will ooze from each chord. The album will serve as something that will divide the masses, but will undoubtedly establish itself as one of the year’s best albums.
TBC // Grimes
Originally scheduled for release in September last year, Grimes, real name Claire Boucher, has returned to the studio to record her latest album, dubbing it as a “surprise”. Her sound isn’t easily definable, and her release will link into this – oozing with unexpected riffs, jumpy skits and her trademark, eerie vocals. Something worth noting, however, is the presence of guitars for the first time, marking a shift in the experimental sounds of the artist. This only adds to the anticipation the album is generating, with its mystery and expected ethereal pop culminating to create a hype that is overflowing.
Interesting, recent singles ‘Go’ and ‘REALiTi’ aren’t expected to feature on this latest release, meaning that very little is known about the album or what it will sound like. The singer has, however, stated through her Twitter account that “every track is super different”. Could the untitled release be a genre-spanning masterpiece, using only her trademark vocals to intertwine the individual tracks into an album of genius? All that can be confirmed is the presence of Grimes’ talent, something that cannot be denied. The album will showcase an unheard version of the singer, and will establish her as a musical force and master of her own sound.
Radio Silence // James Blake
Expected to collaborate with both Kanye West and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, James Blake will once again aim to prove his musical intelligence to intertwine varying disciples into a cohesive sound. As a follow-up to his impressiveOvergrown, the singer-songwriter and producer will seek to continue his ascent into stardom through technical mastery and electronic wizardry. His sound is something that is easily listenable and transports the listener to their very own world, a world that is encapsulated by the word ‘zen’. It is expected that his latest release will further capture the listening audience, and heighten the sense of ‘zen’ throughout its audience.
The Mercury-Prize winner will be looking to maximise on the exposure gained, and reportedly utilising this album to “dabble in different production techniques”. James Blake as an artist is destined for stardom, and this latest album could catapult him into the hallowed halls of greatness, of which his musical mastery is deserving of. Although a release was apparently scheduled for April this year, the release has been stalled for later on. Overall, the album will be more than worth the wait, showcasing tracks filled with talent and raw emotion – an album that will definitely influence thousands of artists, and music as we know it.