fawn by Foxtails
Released January 14, 2022 via Skeletal Lightning
As decadent strings undercut instrumentation that is otherwise jarring, Foxtails’ fawn establishes a somber tenderness. This creates a false pretense of comfortability that quickly fades, as droning gives way to jerky rhythms, fluctuating tempos, and an ever-looming sense of unpredictability. An unnerving and unrelenting anxiety permeates its way into every inch of fawn; these instrumentals become attached to lyrics directly stemming from trauma. As explained on the group’s Bandcamp—and via an excerpt from Pete Walker’s book, Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving—the inspiration behind the album title comes from the definition of the word, which means ‘to act servilely; to cringe and flatter.’ This behavior stems from abuse and codependency, while the trauma responses these experiences inflict a repeated surrender of self in favor of appeasing others. At what point, do your needs ever become prioritized? Do they ever? Are you even worthy of that prioritization? These are the questions that arise in your mind, and represent the constant struggle at the center of Foxtails’ songwriting. Much like the instrumentals, the vocal performances can shift at any moment, often evolving from what feels like a nervous ramble, to a cathartic screaming session. Taking shape in forms that feel as poetically vague as they do deeply personal, intimate, and visceral, fawn pushes on—but it never quite stops questioning why. It’s a brutal listen that strikes you to the core, and as devastating as it can be, it offers its own sense of inspiration and lends its hand out in solidarity to those who can relate. – Dominick (8.8/10)
Dominick: 8.8/10 | Henny: 8/10 | Cam: 7.8/10 | Pax: 7.8/10 | Hadley: 7.5/10
Jared: 7.5/10 | Peter: 7.5/10 | DeVán: 6.5/10
Three Dimensions Deep by Amber Mark
Released January 28, 2022 via PMR / Interscope
Victoria: 8/10 | Henny: 7.8/10 | Alan: 7.7/10 | Pax: 7.4/10 | Cam: 7/10
Hadley: 7/10 | Dominick: 6.8/10 | DeVán: 6.5/10 | Pablo: 6.5/10
From A Bird's Eye View by Cordae
Released January 14, 2022 via Atlantic Records / Art@War
With his sophomore album, From A Bird's Eye View, Cordae has again shown that he’s one of the best young artists in the game. It’s fair to say that Cordae heeded Cole’s warnings about the new generation of rap and has taken major strides to distance himself from the Lil Pump-types. He tells us this with “I had no other choice 'cause we ain't own this shit.“ No shade to YBN, he just had a different vision for his sound.
This album’s production is calm and composed, with a soulful rumbling on each track, but nothing is overpowered by booming 808s. Cordae adds energy with his changes in tempo and flow, while the bars are in abundance as Cordae discusses a combination of fame, success, and managing relationships. There’s a recurring theme of Cordae looking back on his youth and reminiscing on good times, while using the hard times to fuel his hunger.
Cordae deserves his flowers, as we all know it is difficult to follow up the strong debut that was The Lost Boy. The features on this project went crazy as Cordae was able to bring Gunna and Freddie Gibbs on the same compact disc.
“Chronicles” with H.E.R. and Lil Durk offers a nice surprise with some singing from Cordae; this is not something we usually hear from him, but he was more than holding his own on those harmonies. As a body of work, this album is not only great if you’re a Cordae fan, but great if you’ve lost faith in the younger generation of artists. Plenty of artists are making high-quality music, and Cordae is due some respect. – Daniel (8.5/10)
Daniel: 8.5/10 | Pax: 7.6/10 | Cam: 7/10 | Dominick: 6.6/10 | Alan: 6.5/10
Henny: 6.2/10 | Pablo: 6/10 | Hadley: 5.5/10 | Ben (Synth): 5/10