Category Archives: Music/Concerts

‘Currents’ album review

By: Caden Kipfmueller

Image taken from:

On July 17th, 2015, an Australian musician going by the stage name Tame Impala released his third studio album, ‘Currents’.  Tame Impala, or Kevin Parker, had been rising steadily in popularity since the release of his last album nearly three years prior, but ‘Currents’ was undoubtedly his big break.

Two years after its release, I would listen to this album for the first time, while sitting in my middle school English class during silent work time, browsing YouTube and idly looking for something to help me focus while I studied in the thirty minutes I had left in class. I remember the day well, I think because of how important it would be to me one day.

The album cover caught my eye, with its wavy lines that looked like optical illusions and an overwhelming amount of purple. A friend of mine once told me it looked like a physics textbook from the nineties, and I’m inclined to agree. Something about it was so…enticing to me. I knew what I was doing for the next thirty minutes.

From my very first listen I was hooked. ‘Currents’ was nothing like I’d ever heard before, a unique blend of 80s inspired synths with a modern twist. It was catchy. Intoxicating, even.

Tame Impala has this innate ability to masterfully craft dense soundscapes in this album, with a variety of trippy synths as well as a handful of percussion instruments, guitars, smooth bass and smoother vocals all coming together to make the most utterly jaw dropping music I’ve ever heard to this day. Parker’s voice, an airy falsetto, is the cherry-on-top in every song, somehow grounding tracks despite its ethereal nature.

Listening to this album makes me feel like I am floating in a sensory deprivation tank. I was shocked to learn that the entire album was mixed, written, and recorded by him and him alone because it seems otherworldly, and far more complex than could be imagined by one creative artist. In my mind, it’s so far beyond what anyone is capable of creating, much less one man who describes himself as “Just some guy”.

The album’s opening track, “Let it Happen”, was a seven minute masterpiece that left me so floored the first time I heard it that I had to play it again. And again. And again. Before I knew it, English was over and I hadn’t even gotten past the first song. The rest of the album was similar, filled with moments that made me do a double take and play over and over again. I think it took me three days to listen to the whole thing start to finish when all was said and done simply because I couldn’t stop going back and listening to my favorite moments one more time.

Lyrically, ‘Currents’ is surprisingly nuanced. It may be hard to notice because his vocals are so frequently distorted and hard to pinpoint exactly, but Kevin Parker weaves intricate stories into his songs. You may not pick them up on the first listen but they are always there. Stories about loneliness and loss and growth, and the agonizing process of slowly losing contact with loved ones. Some songs you can relate to. Some songs you can’t. I find his songs especially poignant as a teenager growing up in the twenty-first century, but I feel like the overall themes would have held up over any time period.

“Yes I’m Changing” holds specific emotional significance to me as I prepare myself for college and the next stages of my life. Sometimes I look back on the person I used to be with deep longing. I frequently wish I could go back to before I was stressed out about grades and friends and, well…growing up. Listening to “Yes I’m Changing” is always a deeply personal experience for me, as it grounds me and reassures me that growing up is going to be ok.

I never really listened to music much when I was younger. Some homes are occupied by music-philes, where music is constantly on in the background, others not so much. Mine? Not so much. Sure, my mom would turn on the radio in the car, or my dad would play songs on his iPod for me, but the music I was hearing regularly never really resonated with me. I didn’t hate it, per-se, but I never really connected with it. I just didn’t know how powerful music could be. When I listened to ‘Currents’, I discovered that power. Finally, I understood what it was that made music so important to so many people. For the first time in my life, I understood the emotional potential of music.

This album has sparked a long lasting passion for music inside of me. I don’t know if that passion was always there and just waiting to emerge or if it came out of nowhere, but frankly I don’t care. It doesn’t really matter to me. What matters to me is that music is now an integral part of who I am. It makes me a more well-rounded person, and it’s given me the chance to connect with those that share my love for this album, forging deep connections over our common love for this music. This album’s role in my willingness to branch out and seek out new types of music across all genres will never be understated. It is only now that I am coming to realize that music can be a vehicle of relaxation, protest, awareness, diversity, escape, or sympathy beyond simply serving as background noise on a long car trip.

‘Currents’ marked the start of a lifelong love for music. Without it, I don’t think I’d look at music, or even art more generally, the same way. The album has fundamentally changed my perspective on life more broadly, setting a standard for myself when I create things of my own.

Jack Harlow album review

By: Nagad Omar & Sophie Johnson

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In this writing we will rate the new Jack Harlow album ‘Jackman’. This album came out just last month on April 28, 2023, and it is the third studio album that singer and rapper Jack Harlow has released. The style and genre of this album is very hip hop. The album as a whole, as well as the songs on it, are already a big hit with many of his fans and other listeners.

This album has a total of 10 songs with a length of 24:03. The whole album overall got generally positive reviews averaging with a score of 67/100.

The first song we are reviewing is called “It Can’t Be”. This song has a lot of nice bass in it and the vocals are especially good. Some of the songs on this album are not our favorite but this is one of the better ones we’ve heard. The beat is a little repetitive but overall, this song is a 7/10.

The next song is called “Blame On Me”. We would rate this song a 6/10 because there is not as much of a melody. It’s not a bad song but there are definitely better ones on the album.

Another song on this album that we reviewed is called “Is That Ight”. In our opinion, this song sounds the same as most of the other songs on the album. It is another 5/10. Once again, this song is not a bad song, but it’s not the best we’ve heard.

The next song off of Harlow’s new album, ‘Jackman’ is called ‘”They Don’t Love It”. This song was released as a single for the album. We would rate this song a 6/10. The beat of this song is pretty good and the song overall is not bad.

The next song on the album is “Ambitious”. The lyrics of “Ambitious” are great but we don’t like the sort of mellow beat. The chorus felt repetitive and long. The verses are definitely strong but feel like spoken word sometimes and less like pop music. We rate this song a 6/10.

The next song is “No Enhancers”. We really like the chorus of this song and the repetitiveness. It’s just enough but not too much. The lyrics flow really well and it feels like the normal pop music Jack Harlow makes. The beat is great and doesn’t feel as mellow as others. We rate this song a 8/10.

The next song we will rate is “Denver”,our favorite song on the album. The beat and flow of this song is unmatched. The chorus is great and the melody and flow of Harlow’s voice all match up perfectly to create this masterpiece. The opener of the song is great and sets the tone before the beat at the beginning comes on which we love. This song has no flaws. We rate this song a 10/10.

The last song we will rate is, “Gang, Gang, Gang”. This song was Harlow’s biggest song on the album, but really because of the content of the song. In this song Harlow talks about one of his buddies who allegedly raped 7 girls in the back of a Target parking lot. He also talks about his other hometown buddie who is accused of molesting a 10-year-old. This is very different from what is usually in his music, but the bigger story in this song is how much people change when he revisits his hometown and how hard it is to believe. We rate this song a 8/10.

Overall, this album is different than what Jack Harlow usually puts out. This was more deep of an album than Harlow puts out normally. His past album, “Come Home the Kids Miss You” was more rap and pop whereas this album is more mellow and Harlow tells stories in each song. The lyricism in this album is different then what we usually get. In the last album, Harlow had big features such as, Drake, Pharrell Williams, Justin Timberlake and Lil Wayne, whereas in this album there are no features. All in all, this album might not be for everyone but this album has better reviews than his last. We rate this album a 8/10.

What is NPR’s Tiny Desk?

By: Hannah Gliedman


Tiny Desk was created by Bob Boilen, a writer and music creator at NPR. At the time Bolien was a concert fanatic and was seeing 5 shows a night, every night for years.

In 2008 Bolien and a coworker, Stephen Thompson, a co-producer at NPR Music, attended a show featuring Laura Gibson, a small artist from Oregon. Boilen says “It was this awful bar — the speaker was pointing out the door, people were watching basketball games and cheering for their teams. [Laura] had a quiet voice, and we could barely hear her at all. Then an idea struck. Stephen jokingly said [to Gibson], ‘You should just come play in our office.’”

After a couple weeks Gibson came into play just at a desk with some microphones and a camera that was then put on to the fairly new, NPR YouTube channel. From there, NPR has invited hundreds of artists from all different fields of music: rap, pop, folk. Over time the segment has gained various recognitions and has multiple videos that have over 100 million views.

The Tiny Desk set up sometimes creates obstacles for artists, for others it causes no trouble. Because of its stripped back and authentic nature and sound, “There’s no hiding at Tiny Desk” says the sound producer at Tiny Desk, Niki Walker. Some bands like Wolf Alice and Big Thief have a hard time stripping back their music to fit the more acoustic mood. Other bands, especially jazz, like Moon Hooch says, “We didn’t have any trouble with the sound at Tiny Desk; we just went into subway mode.”

Greatest Of All Time

The most viewed Tiny Desk of all time is Dua Lipa’s at home concert which accumulated 107 million views in just 2 years. The video was part of the tiny desk concerts that were held during the pandemic, “at-home”, but because of the stripped back nature of the show it didn’t change much about the layout, if anything it gave the singer more room for electronics and instruments.

However; it’s widely considered that the best Tiny Desk of all time is Mac Miller’s. The concert was published in August of 2018 and has 101 million views. The performance came only a couple weeks before the singer’s untimely death. The set was the first time the artist performed tracks from his album, ‘Swimming’.

Other great performances on the Tiny Desk include Tyler, The Creator, who utilized the strippend back style of the show and performed with an emphasis on his background singers, The Cranberries, Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Hozier, Adele, Lizzy MacAlpine, and many more.

My top 5 favorite albums of the 2020s (so far)

By: Charlie Boone

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So much incredible music has come out in the past three years, so here are 5 of my favorite albums from 2020-2023, from any genre, in chronological order.

LEYA – ‘Flood Dream’ (2020)

LEYA is an experimental music duo from Brooklyn, New York consisting of harpist Marilu Donovan and vocalist/violinist Adam Markiewicz. Their 2020 album, ‘Flood Dream’ is a haunting and hypnotizing experience combining Donovan’s low-tuned and dissonant harp with Markiewicz’s ghostly operatic vocals for a final product that is as beautiful as it is petrifying. There’s a very distinct eerie quality that feels cinematic but in a very unorthodox way, like it’s the score to a VHS tape that kills you if you press play.

Favorite track: “INTP”

ZelooperZ – ‘Valley of Life’ (2020)

Throughout his time making music in the exciting and ever-evolving Detroit rap scene, ZelooperZ has paved his way as a creative talent, melding elements from both underground and mainstream hip-hop, as well as jazz and club music. He’s an incredibly consistent artist with multiple albums out this decade that could all be on this list, but 2020’s ‘Valley of Life’ stands out to me as a particularly fleshed-out and replayable experience.

ZelooperZ plays with various styles of rap, melding them together with a constant personality and distinctive production style. “Fooseball” features a jazzy lo-fi beat with a unique and infectious groove, while “What2du” (featuring an incredible verse from New York neo-soul artist Fousheé) has what is probably my favorite beat on the album, with eerie synth stabs and sparse yet bouncy percussion reminiscent of Soulja Boy and Tisakorean.

Favorite track: “Just Me”

Brand of Sacrifice – ‘Lifeblood’ (2021)

In the early 2010s, deathcore was at its peak, creatively and commercially. Bands like Suicide Silence and Whitechapel were establishing their footing as the current top dogs of extreme metal, while bands like Winds of Plague and Disfiguring the Goddess were experimenting with technicality and orchestral elements to further expand the sound.

Over a decade later, the deathcore scene seems to me like it’s going in two different directions, one focused on the revival of what made the old scene so great, and the other focused on modernizing and polishing the sound to make it fresh.

In my opinion, the 2000s revival scene is much more interesting with a rawer, more aggressive edge, but the biggest exception to that is Brand of Sacrifice. Their 2021 record ‘Lifeblood’ is pretty much the perfect embodiment of mixing mind-bending brutality with fantastic modern production, and the closest thing to the logical conclusion of what the 2000s deathcore bands were experimenting with.

Favorite track: “Lifeblood”

Ghais Guevara – There Will Be No Super-Slave (2022)

Philadelphia rapper Ghais Guevara has been making waves in the underground recently with incredible, entirely self-produced rap records that are, in my opinion, some of the best and most groundbreaking hip-hop projects I’ve heard in recent memory, combining the aggressive and energetic sounds of East Coast drill and Jersey club with a calmer, more introspective style both over masterfully selected soul and pop samples. ‘There Will Be No Super-Slave’ is definitely Ghais’s current best work and a great showcase of his massive amount of talent.

Still, it’s clear that this isn’t the furthest he wants to go with his sound, and given the way he’s been talking about his upcoming record, I am very much looking forward to what he comes up with next.

Favorite track: “Face/Off”

Danger Mouse & Black Thought – ‘Cheat Codes’ (2022)

The Roots’ Black Thought teams up with super-producer Danger Mouse to craft a jazzy hip-hop soundscape full of dusty drum breaks, fantastic sample work, and countless double entendres. The album’s old-school boom-bap style doesn’t necessarily lend itself to innovation, but with the addition of features like the late MF DOOM and New York staple from Griselda Records, Conway the Machine, ‘Cheat Codes’ is genuinely a perfectly constructed hip-hop album that feels like a portal into a dusty crate of old vinyl records with one of the greatest MCs of all time spitting at the top of his game.

Favorite track: “Aquamarine” (feat. Michael Kiwanuka)

Who I think gave the best Coachella performances

By: Mya Olson – Williams

Image taken from: Teen Vogue

Many are aware that 2 weekends ago was the first weekend of the popular music festival in California, Coachella. There are two weekends of this three day festival. The headliners are Bad Bunny, BlackPink, and Frank Ocean. Smaller artists that are also performing are Kali Uchis, Labrinth, TV Girl, and so many more.


Labrinth’s music is usually recognized from the show Euphoria. In his weekend one performance, he brought out the special guest, Billie Eilish to perform their newest collaboration.

On weekend two, he sang another two singles with special guest, Zendaya. During Labrinth’s shows, the crowds were loud and interactive. His stage setups were cool and unique. He sounded great live, overall giving an amazing performance.

Calvin Harris

Calvin Harris is popular for collaborating with other artists like Rihanna, Ellie Goulding, and Dua Lipa. During his shows, he played lots of well known songs, had cool stage lighting, and a massive crowd with high energy. On weekend two, Calvin sang with Ellie Goulding. At one point, he made a tribute to the rapper Takeoff, who died in late 2022.


boygenius is a smaller band, featuring Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker. They recently released an album called ‘the record’. They sounded great together live, and you can tell everyone loved their music. boygenius had a really cool stage set up as well.

Overall, there were multiple amazing shows and performances this year, and these were my personal favorites. Coachella 2023 seemed like a great time, and I hope next year is the same.

The career of SZA so far

By: Isabelle Baidoo

SZA, Solána Imani Rowe, is by far one of the most influential music artists of this generation. Not only has she topped the charts countless times, but she has been nominated for a Grammy 15 times.

Rowe was born on November 8, 1989. She was raised in Maplewood, New Jersey by Abdul Mubarak-Rowe and Audrey Rowe. Her father was an executive producer for CNN, and her mother was an executive at AT&T.

Rowe created the stage name, SZA, from the Supreme Alphabet. The Supreme Alphabet is a system of interpreting text and finding deeper meaning. The S in SZA stands for savior or sovereignty. The Z stands for Zig-Zag, which means Knowledge, Wisdom, and Understanding. Since it’s the last letter of the alphabet it represents the final step of consciousness. Then lastly, the A stands for Allah. She also stated that she took influence from RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan.

Her musical career started in the early 2010s. She had released two pieces before signing with Top Dawg Entertainment. After being signed with her record label she released ‘Z’. This would be her third EP and first retail release.

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Rowe has 7 Top 10 Hits on the Billboard Charts and has had 39 songs in the top 100. The highest song on the list being “Kiss Me More”, which remained on the charts for 43 weeks; its peak position being 3rd place.

She has won countless awards, but the most recent dating back to 2019 are:

  • The NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Duo or Group (“All The Stars”)
  • The BET Her Award (“Good Days”)
  • The Billboard Music Award for Top Viral Song (“Kiss Me More”)
  • and lastly The iHeartRadio Music Award for R&B Song of the Year (“I Hate U”).

On June 9, 2017, SZA released ‘CTRL’, her debut studio album. This album has fourteen tracks, all co-written by SZA herself. She collaborated with many other artists for this album including Travis Scott, Kendrick Lamar, James Fauntleroy, and Isaiah Rashad.

‘CTRL’ pays homage to the fear of losing control. In the intro of “Supermodel”, she states “That is my greatest fear. That if, if I lost control. Or did not have control, things would just, you know? I would be, fatal”. ‘CTRL’ is made to be a relatable commentary on how life is for a “20 something” year old. Facing issues with love, body image, confidence, and of course, control.

Rowe is commonly known for her advice and inspiring quotes. 

Such as, “I love empowering women. I think it’s crazy: if you ever try to belittle women, you’re playing yourself – I ride with whoever rides with me.” -SZA

Or, “Don’t get discouraged with your skin when it doesn’t do what you want it to do…Give it some time. That’s the only way to get to know yourself.” -SZA

SZA has helped so many people realize that their dreams of succeeding in the music industry are possible, and with hard work and determination you can achieve whatever you put your mind to.

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Benefits of listening to music

By: Mya Olson Williams

Image taken from: The Harvard Gazette

Most teens these days are listening to some sort of music. Especially during school days. But is it doing any good? Yes, it actually has a very positive effect.

According to John Hopkins Medicine, listening to music can reduce anxiety, pain, and blood pressure. Not only that, but it improves your mood, the quality of your sleep, and memory.

Music is so universal and there’s something for everyone. Because it’s so beneficial, you should find what you enjoy and listen when you can.

Along with the other benefits I mentioned, listening to music can start up your creativity. Especially when listening to new genres you maybe aren’t a fan of or haven’t heard before. Challenging yourself to listen to them causes the brain to try and understand the new sounds.

Music can also be great for recalling old memories. Maybe some familiar music from many years ago reminds you of an old friend, place, or time in your life.

Another few other great reasons to listen to music is because it reduces stress, and relieves symptoms of depression. If you struggle with one or maybe both, turning on a good and uplifting song could make you feel better in the moment. The music you’re listening to relieves this stress by triggering biochemical stress reducers in your brain.

Aside from mental health, music positively affects your physical health as well. It boosts your immune system, keeps your heart healthy, and eases pain.

Now, if you think your student, or child constantly has their headphones in, maybe it’s a good thing! Because of all of the amazing health benefits music has, we could all listen to it every once in a while. And I’m sure most of us do.

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Iayze (Jace!) – ‘Reverence’

By: Charlie Boone

Iayze (or Jace!) is a rapper from Fort Worth, Texas that first gained prominence on Soundcloud in the burgeoning underground plugg scene. His sound uniquely blends orchestral samples and ambient soundscapes with hard-hitting 808s and glitchy percussion, creating a trance-like energy that feels more purposeful and well-realized than many of his contemporaries.

On his debut full length album, ‘Reverence’, released on March 7, 2023, it really feels like Iayze is trying to prove himself as a versatile artist. Expanding his sound into spacey R&B on songs like “Bed Side” and “Call on Me”, showing off his ability to sing and penchant for deep, entrancing atmospheres. He melds the atmospheric soundscapes with more aggressive rapping perfectly on the song “Laylow”, produced by another popular rapper from the same scene, DevStacks.

‘Reverence’ is a total of 29 tracks, and an hour long, which is usually the sign of a bloated project, but even though there are points that I wasn’t as engaged, Iayze shows a level of quality control while bouncing around styles that makes even moments that don’t personally appeal to the listener feel fresh and interesting nonetheless. While this makes it easier for different types of listeners to find something they enjoy, this does unfortunately affect both the replayability and cohesion of the project.

Iayze’s previous mixtapes have touched on lyrical themes of mental health, isolation, and heartbreak before, and for the most part, ‘Reverence’ sits in that familiar territory, with most songs feeling lyrically like small vignettes of an idea, juxtaposed with how fully realized and deep the production feels.

‘Reverence’ features a wide variety of producers that bring unique touches to Iayze’s sound, his long-time producer Cullen appears on a variety of tracks that do a great example of showcasing what was great about his previous projects, at a higher level of production value and performances. Songs like “Dee in a Cutlass” and “The Hills” both produced by Biinx, are great examples of what is trendy and happening right now in the underground SoundCloud scene.

In closing, while ‘Reverence’ isn’t as consistent (thematically or stylistically) as his previous work, it is by far Iayze’s most ambitious project, and to be able to make a 29 track album that doesn’t feel boring and stale by the end is truly a feat; especially as an underground artist without a large amount of industry backing.

If you’re looking for an exciting and diverse rap project, and you favor deep, atmospheric production, I highly recommend ‘Reverence’.

Morgan Wallen album review

By: Sophie Johnson & Mae Skold

One of the most successful country music artists of our generation, Morgan Wallen, released his double album ‘One Thing at a Time’ on March 3, 2023. This is his third album he has released since his career launch and it features 36 songs. This album has several featured artists, on multiple tracks, such as Eric Church, HARDY, and Ernest who are some of Wallen’s long time friends. The album was a hit with the fans and here’s what we thought about it.

Because the album is 36 songs long, there was a lot of room for variety in style and song quality within the album. Given that there were so many songs there were certainly ups and downs but here are some of the “ups”.

The biggest favorite among the fans would have to be his upbeat, early release single, “Everything I Love”. This song is an upbeat, fun, song with country twang. It follows the plot of a breakup perfect for fans to relate to.

Another hit was “Man Made a Bar” featuring Eric Church. This song is in storytelling style and its chorus is its hook. Wallen and Church’s voices blend perfectly in the chorus making the song unskippable.

Ultimately, the song that we think takes the title of best on the album is track #5, “Devil Don’t Know”. It’s a slow guitar ballad about a girl he loves who is with someone else. The emotion and passion of this song is so powerful making it shine among the other songs on the album. 

Wallen spoke about the process of writing this album and how he was searching for a theme as he wrote it. He stated that he started writing with a song called “Born with a Beer in My Hand”. To him, this song symbolizes the birth of the album in a way, making this song a big monument for him. To go along with that, track #22 is titled “Dying Man” which for Wallen really pulled together the theme of birth to death in the album.

One other song that we loved off this album is the song called “Thought You Should Know”. This song is a thank you letter to his mom letting her know that he appreciates her and everything she has done for him. It is slightly slower paced than some of the other songs on his new album, yet it still holds such a deep meaning. We loved this song so much partly because it has such a catchy and singable chorus as well as the fact that it holds such a sweet message. 

The last song that we are reacting to on the new album ‘One Thing at a Time’ is a song called “Last Drive Down Main”. This is another one of our personal favorites on the album because it fits the vibe of the album so much and it has a really fun and catchy melody to it. This song is about someone who he is no longer in contact with, but wherever he goes, he sees their face. He talks a lot about old memories in this song and how he keeps going back to the same places because they make him remember those special memories of being with that person.

Album review: Gorillaz’s ‘Cracker Island’

By: Bijou Kruszka

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On February 24, 2023, Gorillaz released their newest album, ‘Cracker Island’. For those unfamiliar, Gorillaz is a virtual band created by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett. The fictional cartoon members are lead singer 2-D, bassist Murdoc Niccals,
drummer Russell Hobbs, and guitarist Noodle. They are known
for their genre-breaking music and iconic animated videos. Now,
with the release of ‘Cracker Island’, they’re back in the spotlight.

As a whole, the album is decent. On a first listen, all the songs seem to blend together, with a very similar lo-fi hip-hop sound with a slightly dance-y twist to every song. However, they make it work. As the saying goes “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and the chill, pleasant sound of the album is far from ‘broke.’ The songs are far from bad and some are even highlights of the Gorillaz discography. But when considering their past albums like ‘Plastic Beach’ and ‘Demon Days’, ‘Cracker Island’ fades in comparison.

Released a few months previously as a single, “Cracker Island” is the title track and first song of the album. Listening to the album as a whole, this one certainly stands out. While most of the songs in the album could be described as lo-fi hip hop with lyrics, “Cracker Island” is heavily contrasting with its electronic dance sound. The song is impossible not to dance to, and the bizarre lyrics and Thundercat’s vocal contributions to the song elevate what would have been a relatively basic dance track.

The other singles released pre-album range in quality. “New Gold” featuring artists Tame Impala and Bootie Brown, is a fantastic track. Combining dreamy, almost ethereal vocals with cleverly rapped rhymes and a fabulous rhythm, this track stands out from the rest of the album. “Silent Running” features excellent vocals from both Albarn and Adeleye Omotayo, and the beat is uniquely fun. However, both “Baby Queen” and “Skinny Ape” are relatively forgettable. Sure, they’re pleasant, but they feel much too slow, and don’t do anything super original. They seem to serve as filler tracks, which makes it bizarre that they were released as singles.

This album also heavily relies on featured guests. As mentioned before, Tame Impala, Bootie Brown, Adeleye Omotayo and Thundercat all added interesting elements to their tracks. However, this is not always the case. The song “Oil” features Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks, and that’s the only interesting thing that could be said about it. Nicks’s vocals are good, as usual, but don’t do anything special to the track. Neither the instrumentation or the lyrics are particularly interesting either. Singer Beck can be found on the final track of the album “Possession Island,” but his musical stylings are too similar to Albarn’s to make him a noticeable appearance. Alternatively, Bad Bunny’s appearance is incredibly significant on “Tormenta,” with his Spanish lyrics elevating the bossa nova-style track, and adding a level of uniqueness to the song not found in the other tracks.

There are only two songs not released as singles, or featuring another artist, “Tarantula” and “The Tired Influencer.” Both are unremarkable, and when first listening to them, I wanted them to be over much sooner than they were. “The Tired Influencer” was particularly mediocre. While the music was standardly pleasant, the lyrical commentary on social media was, as the title would suggest, tired.

‘Cracker Island’ continues the Gorillaz trademark of animated music videos. However, they’ve transferred their style from 2 dimensional cartoons to 3 dimensional models. While it is an interesting artistic choice, it feels less authentic than the 2-D. After all, the lead singer is named 2-D, so to move to 3-D feels odd. The music videos are also significantly harder to follow. While the story was somewhat ambiguous in albums past, it was relatively followable. Meanwhile, ‘Cracker Island’ is heavily centered on lore and plot, which is hard to convey in a music video.

Overall, ‘Cracker Island’ is good but not great. The songs are okay without being spectacular, and the stand-out tracks are only unique due to their featured guest artists. The music videos leave a lot to be desired. In comparison to Gorillaz’s past albums, ‘Cracker Island’ is simply average: pleasant but unmemorable.