As I’ve said many times, 2022 has seen more comebacks from my favorite artists than 2020 and 2021 combined. So much so that I wonder, will anyone even release anything in 2023? I really hope so.
I know Taylor Swift got all the attention lately but there have been so many great projects that have come out in the last two months. I picked four of them and reviewed them in a two-part blog post.
(Also, for those who care, I’ve finally switched to Spotify after 10 years of absolute loyalty to the French platform Deezer. Why? I find Spotify is better supported and integrated into other apps and websites. Not to mention, if I want to share a playlist, it’ll be more likely that the person I share it with has Spotify than Deezer. I’m also looking forward to creating and curating some Art Kills playlists I can put out there soon!)
But for now, here are two albums I’ve been loving lately: Spirituals by Santigold and demon time by Mura Masa.
Though I thought I had heard of Santigold before, I cannot really name anything I listened to prior to her latest album, Spirituals. The title matches the mystic atmosphere the American artist is going for with her ensemble of melodies and sound effects.
Spirituals is an ethereal record that relies on insanely high-pitched, falsetto vocals that welcome us in the first track, “My Horror,” her playful singing juxtaposed to the dark lyrics. “Nothing” is an inquisitive song that confronts someone that called the artist “nothing” while she’s begging him to see her as “something,” anything. “Witness” is just as captivating and it combines intensely ethereal vocals with peculiar beats. The funky interlude titled “Shake” introduces us to the soulful “The Lasty,” featuring heartfelt vocals over the just-as-emotional lyrics.
It’s not a secret that we’re experiencing a revival of the 80s, and Santigold is contributing to this trend in her own way. Her album reminds me of Kilo Kish’s AMERICAN GURL, which I have reviewed in a past blog. Both albums are very funky and perfect to get down to.
Lighter and more accessible songs like “Ushers of The New World” give us a break from the deeply allegorical lyrics recalling old folktales, abstract concepts and religious rituals. Some songs also recall tribal rhythms, chants and afro beats, like “High Priestess” and “No Paradise.”
Though the closing track, “Fall First” feels like a never-ending nightmare, Spirituals is overall a great effort that I will be going back to times and times again.
demon time, Mura Masa
I’ve talked a lot about Shygirl lately but the truth is that she wouldn’t be who she is without one of her major producers: Mura Masa. Coincidentally, he’s recently come out with his debut album, demon time, featuring an army of artists that make great additions to his ultra-electronic musical aesthetic.
The project starts very strong with “demon time (with BAYLI),” an up-pop banger that combines a killer chorus and a captivating performance by the featured artist. It then moves on to the more innocent “bbycakes (with Lil Uzi Vert, PinkPantheress & Shygirl)” and the very electronic “slomo (with Tohji & Midas The Jagaban),” both of which sound very mainstream.
The pace slows down a little bit with “2gether,” a folk-ish track dragged forward by Gretel Hänlyn’s low voice: even in softer tracks like this, Mura Masa knows how to include his own personal touch.
“up all week (with slowthai)” could be a much better track if it wasn’t for that super repetitive and annoying chorus. His rapping is fire, though. Heading again into a more mainstream territory, “prada (i like it) (with LEILAH)” and “e-motions (with Erika de Casier)” (genius title, by the way) are here to make things lighter.
Of course, a holistically pop effort like demon time couldn’t lack some reggaeton influences: “tonto (with Isabella Lovestory)” bring that Latin energy that had been missing all along. Finally, we get some afro vibes as well thanks to the collaboration with Pa Salieu and Skillibeng in “blessing me.”
I truly hope that Mura Masa keeps it up with this varied and colorful style in future projects.
Cover image credits: Santigold via Instagram