Before we start, happy belated Thanksgiving! I wrote quite a few drafts of my intro where I tried to be funny, but it just wasn't happening. Or maybe it WAS really funny but my standards are so high that I cast them aside (I didn't), patiently waiting for inspiration to strike (it didn't). Ah, the downside of being a world class humorist, how it tortures me so!
This Weekly Roundup will be limited in scope, as I'm working on a seasonal post listing my 10 favorite Fall albums from the last 10 years aaaaand it's proven to be more of an undertaking than I thought. All the while still trying to work on album reviews aka A Tribe Called Quest's We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service, which has been on ROTATION/ brought me back through my history, love, and infatuation with hip hop. Basically it's taking me a while to find the words.
Last week saw three artists release their third records: Dawn Richard's Redemption, Justice's Woman, and Bruno Mars' 24K Magic. I'll start with the good, none of them are bad, but I do need to give them a little more time to grow on me. Now for the not so good, I can say confidently that they are my least favorite record in each of the their respective trilogies. Now back to the good! My favorite album from this past week has come from new artist 6LACK's debut record FREE 6LACK. It's consistent and hypnotic, a downtempo, moody hip hop/ R&B fusion that lends itself to the cold weather it's been set free in.
This week we've had a few releases that, at the moment don't really excite me (The Weeknd's Starboy being chief among them). In lieu of that i'll throw you the new Christmas album that will dominate my holiday season (already added to my classics), along with a couple new-ish film scores that should spark the imagination, or at least soothe it (hopefully both!).
Leslie Odom, Jr. - Simply Christmas
You may know him as Hamilton's Aaron Burr, but since the start of 2016 Leslie has crafted himself a niche audience of his own thanks to his debut album, Leslie Odom Jr. (I honestly didn't know how talented he was until this), a Sara Bareilles penned track which you've hopefully seen by now (if not, click here and prepare yourself), and as of this month, his holiday record, the aptly titled Simply Christmas.
The album employs his preferred genre, jazz, leading to original arrangements that further shape the classics we know and love. The smoothness of his vocals is matched in full by his control of them, so much so that you almost forget how much power he possesses, leading to surprise and joy every time he unleashes it. Don't waste another day without it.
Patrick Watson - The 9th Life of Louis Drax
Those of you familiar with this blog know of my longstanding love for Patrick Watson. He's crafted wonder into the ordinary with everything he touches and his first film score is no exception. His orchestrations have the same impact as he weaves simplistic melodies to magical effect. While the film itself is passable, this score is not, and fits perfectly into the season.
While the The 9th Life of Louis Drax bears a similarity to his sound, Patrick Watson's album's generally feature an eclectic grouping of genres. As a huge fan it goes without saying that I think all of his work is worth hearing (his 2015 record Love Songs For Robots was in my Top 50 last year), but if forced to choose, I think Adventures In Your Own Backyard is a good place to start.
Dustin O'Halloran - Lion
Many of you may be unfamiliar with Dustin's work, but that doesn't make it any less special. Often relying on piano melodies, Dustin's orchestrations largely have a minimal focus rather than the sweeping scores we know and love. Here he is paired with fellow composer Hauschka, whose sound is a far cry from Dustin's. I think that's why I was so taken with Lion. It strays from his normal routine, while also not falling victim to genre staples. We see him dealing with rigid tones and unorthodox builds (which is more Hauschka's style), which only makes the light and beautiful tracks like "A New Home" shine brighter.
If you want something that represents his signature style, the score for The Beauty Inside is a wonderful place to start!
Lastly, I'd like to offer a sincere apology to Alice Eve for not having a photo of her atop this post. I wasn't sure if people thought I was doing it too much but by the end of this I thought, judgement be damned! What kind of romantic would I be if I shied away from true love??
So here's a picture of her holding a dog and wearing shoes that I considered cropping out but then realized it wouldn't be right of me to pass up a pristine opportunity to speak poorly of the Warriors, which in this case means pointing out that Alice is wearing Nike's version of the Curry 2 Low, or as it's universally recognized, worst shoe in the NBA. Thank you for your time.