Table Of Contents
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Changes -by- Justin Bieber
no future -by- EDEN
The Slow Rush -by- Tame Impala
By Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber released his new album Changes on Valentine’s Day last week, nearly a full 5 years since the release of his last studio album Purpose. Over the past few months, there have been moments where Justin Bieber’s status as a pop star was called into question, such as the release of Changes‘ lead single “Yummy” which was met with lukewarm reception. Subsequently, Bieber had to beg fans to stream to song in a last-ditch effort to beat out Roddy Ricch’s hit song “The Box” for the #1 spot on the Billboard 200.
On Changes, Justin attempts to put on a more mature persona, shying away from his earlier teenage persona. Now that he’s a married man, he wants to make sure that his art reflects that. Although it definitely feels more mature than his older work, it still lacks a lot of detail and depth lyrically and musically.
The vast majority of the songs on this record do next to nothing to make themselves stand out, often depending on the instrumentals or featured artists to lift Justin. Even with their help, there’s not much redemption.
For a 17-track record, you’d expect at least a few songs to be memorable – but very few are. The only reason songs like “Intentions” and “Forever” stood out to me is because they had a featured artist to pull the album’s sound out of the completely bland environment that Justin’s created.
Bieber mixes in elements of trap and RnB in this record. But like other aspects of this record, he does so seemingly without direction, chasing the popular trends and checking all the boxes for a typical pop album without doing anything more than that. The closest thing to stylistic exploration we get is on “Forever”, where Justin essentially tries to impersonate Post Malone’s vocals.
Its only saving grace is the squeaky clean pop production, but even that’s a low bar to achieve as nearly every album nowadays from any mainstream artist accomplishes that. Overall, Changes is a boring, too-safe, and easily forgettable record.
I give Changes by Justin Bieber a 1.5 out of 5.
no future is the follow up to EDEN’s debut studio album, vertigo. The Irish-born producer and musician leans back into some of his earlier electronic influences on this project while exploring his signature sound.
The opening track, “good morning” is the perfect introduction to this project, washing over listeners with a somber but warm sound underpinned by gentle synths and sustained vocals. As the first half of the record proceeds, EDEN steps away from most of the comfort projected in “good morning” and instead shifts back towards a more Lo-Fi emo-pop sound.
Some tracks take on a very melodic but melancholy sound reminiscent of some of BROCKHAMPTON’s sadder songs, such as “how to sleep” which is driven by a muffled, hollow beat with drawn-out synth bass, hollow drums, and slightly echoing synth accents.
Other areas of the record have a more unusual, skeletal sound with very simple instrumentals that cut out all the fluff but still serve their purpose perfectly, like on “calm down”
One of my favorite aspects of EDEN’s songwriting on this project is the fact that he’s not afraid to stray from the standard verse-chorus format, on tracks like “just saying” and “isohel”. This frees him up to throw in some more creative and artistic elements, such as the grand choir on “love, death, distraction” which envelopes the listener in its desolate but comforting embrace.
The production style of the record has some fun quirks every now and then, with mid-heavy filters and interestingly pasted together vocal lines that, while not the smoothest, add texture and depth to songs that would otherwise feel sleepy.
Certain tracks like “????” have some changes of pace, veering away from the general sorrow with a more upbeat sound and a little more energy. Moments like this help give the record a stronger sense of diversity without hurting its cohesion.
My main gripe with no future is the length. Many of the tracks on the latter half of the record feel like they do little to stand out from their predecessor. This makes it hard to maintain full interest for the whole runtime and leaves me feeling like if EDEN either cut out some of these tracks or put a little more effort, the record wouldn’t begin to blend together in the way that it does towards the end.
Although it’s not the most diverse record, the general sound that EDEN achieves is unique and resonates emotionally.
I give no future by EDEN a 3 out of 5.
The Slow Rush
By Tame Impala
Almost 5 years after the release of Tame Impala’s critically acclaimed Currents, Kevin Parker is back with the next chapter in the story of Tame Impala: The Slow Rush. This record gained substantial hype from the Tame Impala fanbase online after singles began dropping last year, taking on a more mellow, psychedelic, and introspective sound than its predecessor.
Lyrically, this album deals with the concept of time and how it both gives and takes in its ebb and flow. “Posthumous Forgiveness” addresses the sadder side of this concept, with Parker ruminating on the estranged relationship he had with his recently-deceased father. On other cuts like “Breathe Deeper”, Kevin focuses on mindfulness and living in the present moment, staying positive and taking deep breaths through times of tribulation to stay afloat.
Musically, the record incorporates tons of colors and sounds into its palette from across different genres. Whether its funk basslines, disco-inspired drum beats, progressive rock inspired methods of songwriting, or the general poppiness of some pieces, it’s clear that there’s plenty of content here.
However, at times this sound sometimes becomes muddled, and in attempts to span genres, it actually loses a strong sense of self. This isn’t present on most tracks, but towards the end of the record it definitely feels like Parker’s ideas are beginning to run thin.
Tracks like “Instant Destiny” and “Borderline” take on a more upbeat sound serve as good breaks between the psychedelic, phaser soaked sound set for the album by the opening track “One More Year”.
As a whole, The Slow Rush takes some chances and when it does, it excels. However, some tracks towards the end begin to feel less inspired. If it weren’t for the more energetic, colorful closing track “One More Hour”, the latter half of the album would feel seriously undeveloped. The sound isn’t quite as fun and adventurous as that of Currents, but it’s still a great peek into the mind of Parker, full of color and creativity.
I give The Slow Rush by Tame Impala a 3.5 out of 5.
Other New Releases
There’s not enough time for me to give a full review to every project that comes out – so here’s the rest of the new music that I listened to and enjoyed this week but didn’t have a chance to review.
And It's Still Alright
By Nathaniel Rateliff // Album