Custodian Review: January 2016 Albums

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ANTI – Rihanna

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This may not be Rihanna’s most commercially successful record but it is her most important one yet. Hopefully it means that people start taking her seriously instead of dismissing her as merely a pop star. Even though for the life of me, I can’t figure out why that is a bad thing. She is the biggest hit-maker of our time. That is an amazing feat. Regardless, this album proves she has artistry. She took risks and experimented and that paid off.

The album is a complete and cohesive body of work. She has a club banger, another song you can scream along to in the club, a sultry song, a song about Chris Brown, a nice cover and two bad ass songs. Dear desperado, didn’t they tell you that she was a savage? On first listen I liked Work, Desperado, Needed Me, Never Ending, and Close to You. By the second listen, the rest of the songs had started gradually winning me over. At this point I think every song on the album is solid. ANTI is an exquisite, acquired taste which you should only indulge in small amounts at a time. Like sushi. This album is sushi. My only complaint is that James Joint and Higher are too short.

 

Don’t You – Wet

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A debut album by a Brooklyn band which exists thanks to a fuckboy or fuckboys. Be prepared for the chills and ear-lovemaking. It is the type of album that gets you wanting to eat your sorrows away. The lead singer’s silky voice will make anyone going through a break-up cry buckets. It’s a catalog of the many stages of love. Weak is about begging your lover not to leave. It’s All In Vain was written for anyone who has ever been lied to. All The Ways and Island give me Sara Bareilles vibes. You’re The Best is an electronic song about still being lonely even in the company of someone you love. Body is also about loneliness and it may be the best song on the album, closest competition being Deadwater. Most of the songs sound beautiful but to be honest, they’re the kind of love songs you shouldn’t believe. The writer is rather needy but that doesn’t stop her voice from adding a sense of gravity to your insides.

 

This is Acting – Sia

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Sia has written songs for all the best singers. She wrote Pretty Hurts for Beyonce, Diamonds for Rihanna and Let Me Love You for Neyo to name a few. On this album though, she has strong, empowering anthems in Bird Set Free and Reaper. She sings her heart out on the emotional Broken Glass. Cheap Thrills is that fun jam you can’t help but sing along and dance to. Heart’s on Fire, my favorite on the album, is very solid. She is quite a remarkable vocalist and she has a good range of songs on this. Critics have accused the album of being disingenuous but I think it’s okay that she was acting. As an accomplished and consistent hit-songwriter I imagine she writes most of her songs because it’s a job and not because that’s what she’s feeling.

Weirdly enough I had the same idea that Sia executed with this album. I once thought, “wouldn’t it be cool if Sia got all the leftover songs artists have rejected and recorded them for herself?” Crazy. The success of the album probably means people will reject her songs less now. The whole time I was listening I kept playing a fun game of Who Could Sia Have Written This Song For? Unstoppable sounds like Katy Perry’s Fireworks and it also sounds like Roar. Move Your Body could easily be a Jennifer Lopez song. I can even visualize J Lo’s dance routine for it. In fact, I’m pretty sure J Lo already has a song like this.

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