Hayley Williams is big time sad. Or perhaps was at some point — it’s a little bit unclear. Described by the singer herself as a prequel to or “some sort of detour between parts [one] and [two] of” her debut solo album, Petals for Armor, her second record, FLOWERS for VASES / descansos, is devoid of the cathartic joy and sometimes rage that characterized its predecessor, instead reveling in the macabre and heart-wrenching feelings that occupied her mind during the dissolution of her marriage. …


In 2020, I didn’t have the energy to write about music at all, even when I really wanted to. As such, I will be posting reviews of my favorite albums of last year — approximately as the anniversary of their release approaches — to allow myself to capture what made me love them so much. Here is the second!

If any artist has been through hell and back, it’s Kesha. After pursuing a tumultuous legal battle with former producer/label president Dr. Luke (that is, unfortunately, still ongoing), the singer released 2017’s somber-yet-victorious Rainbow to critical acclaim; while the country-glam-pop-rock record…


In 2020, I didn’t have the energy to write about music at all, even when I really wanted to. As such, I will be posting reviews of my favorite albums of last year — approximately as the anniversary of their release approaches — to allow myself to capture what made me love them so much. Here is the first!

Manic is an apt title for Halsey’s third record. Described by the singer as “chang[ing] its mind as often as [she does]” in the lead up to its release, the album is a hodgepodge of different styles, genres, and subjects held…


When Jazmine Sullivan drops a body of work, it’s always a statement. On her last proper album, 2015’s Reality Show — released almost five years after its predecessor — the singer embodied the stories of Black women in all their facets, from scorned lover to envied Instagram influencer, from ride-or-die to “stupid girl.” Speaking her truth, she left no stone unturned and no person unscathed (herself included) before she quietly retreated from the spotlight until she had something of substance to voice again.


FKA twigs has been broken. While much of the singer’s music showcases her vulnerability, little of it details as devastating scenarios as the lyrics on MAGDALENE, her sophomore record, and her first release in over four years. With such a lengthy gap between projects — her last being 2015’s M3LL155X EP in a four-year streak of releases both big and small — the anticipation can easily dwarf the quality of the content, causing a respectably fine project to be ripped to shreds for “forcing” listeners to wait for something they don’t want. …


If “cellophane” was FKA twigs’ exercise in minimalism, “home with you” — the third single from the forthcoming MAGDALENE — finds the singer at her most maximalist. Continuously building much like 2014’s “Pendulum,” the track transforms from a sinister, distorted dirge into an airy, operatic ballad about devotion; the first half is supported by synthesizers and faint piano, while the second half is a delicately layered vocal laid atop prominent wind and string instruments. Playing out like a two separate movements in a symphony, twigs embodies both extremes exceedingly well.

The beginning of the track is quite grim, twigs’ vocals…


Over five years and four records, Tove Lo has made a name out of being the horniest mainstream popstar to grace the airwaves — just look at most of her album titles (Lady Wood and BLUE LIPS are particularly evocative). She has also earned a reputation for providing much bleaker bops than most of her peers. On Sunshine Kitty, yet another play on the singer’s vagina, Lo attempts to deliver a lighter record than its predecessors to varying levels of success; after the near-apocalyptic relationship that preoccupied the content of BLUE LIPS, it’s exciting to hear her sing about a…


If Charli XCX’s 2017 mixtape Pop 2 was meant to usher in the second phase of pop music, her third album, Charli — her first in nearly five years — takes that space and treats it like a personal playground. Having straddled the fringes of both experimental and mainstream pop since her 2013 debut, True Romance, XCX didn’t fully come into her sound until her first mixtape of 2017, Number 1 Angel; Charli is the culmination of all of the exhilarating output she’s produced since linking up with the PC Music collective back in 2015. …


With a title like “Graveyard,” one would imagine a dark and/or aggressive sound to match — especially following previous single “Nightmare” — but then you don’t know Halsey. Subverting expectations once again, the lead single to her forthcoming third album, Manic (which “Nightmare” is noticeably absent from the current tracklist), is a somewhat acoustic affair; hand claps and other natural percussion dominate, with minimalist synths maintaining an undercurrent for the by-the-books melody. Closer to the soundscape of 2017’s hopeless fountain kingdom than its direct predecessor, it’s an intriguing step back into safety.

Like many great Halsey singles, “Graveyard” examines her…


Change is an essential part of life — we face changes (be they minuscule or all-encompassing) what feels like every second of our lives. As people move through life, their experiences shape them in both fantastic and tragic ways, eventually culminating in a fully-realized person in the best of cases. This is particularly true of artists, who have the unique ability to translate what these events impart on them into consumable media. …

TJ Lovell

A music business student with a passion for writing about music almost as intense as his desire to curate it.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store