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Has May been the best month for music this year? Is Tyler, The Creator’s IGOR the best album to this point? Can another month top what’s been released in May? I’m probably being irrational and overreacting (maybe not…). Nonetheless, May’s been a great month for music! Jamila Woods’, LEGACY! LEGACY!, Lucky Daye’s, Painted, and Tyler, IGOR’s have been some of my personal favorites, and are albums I’m looking forward to growing with and seeing how they develop over time. There’s also Steve Lacy’s Apollo XXI, an album that shows some flashes of brilliance, but also struggles to find its footing at times. Flying Lotus’ Flamagra, sees the producer bring his blend of Jazz and Hip-Hop in a more refined manner than his previous work, and has an incredible list of features including, George Clinton, Tierra Whack Anderson .Paak, Solange, Little Dragon, Denzel Curry, and longtime collaborator, Thundercat.
Below are some of our favorite songs from the month and a bit about why we love them. Side A, songs 1-9, were selected by me, Stanley, and Side B, songs 10-18, were selected by Kevin. We hope that you enjoy the playlist, find a song you like, and dive into an entire album!
Stanley: Lucky Daye — Try Your Fire
Lucky Daye’s single, Real Games first appeared on February’s Plug’n Play from Kevin, but now we have the full album! Since last Friday, I’m pretty sure I’ve listened to Painted, and watched his Tiny Desk performance more times than I can remember. Lucky Daye’s music recalls a history and lineage of Funk and R&B, while presenting it in a contemporary fashion. Try Your Fire, in particular, shows Lucky Daye’s skilled use of his voice, seamlessly transitioning from his falsetto to his lower register.
Stanley: Jamila Woods — MILES
Jamila Woods’ sophomore album, LEGACY! LEGACY!, is an ode to Black artists, like Zora Neale Hurston, Miles Davis, and many others, exploring their art and legacy. LEGACY! LEGACY! pays homage to, and identifies, Woods’ artistic genealogy. This song in particular, MILES, is somewhat written from the perspective of Miles Davis, where the lyrics read, “I gave you the cool/I could do it in my sleep/Seven days out of the week/It's a cake, oh, it's a breeze,” referencing Davis’ Birth of the Cool.
Stanley: Tyler, The Creator — I THINK (Featuring Solange)
Tyler, The Creator’s IGOR feels like the album he’s been trying to make for years. Without a doubt, IGOR is Tyler’s more complete and cohesive album. Musically, IGOR sees Tyler at the peak of his powers. Lyrically, IGOR presents an emotional story of heartbreak, and takes him to more vulnerable areas than he’s previously gone. In particular, I THINK recalls one of Tyler’s influences, Pharrell (it’s in the drums), features guest vocals from Solange, and a nice synth bass on the breakdown.