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Friday, November 27, 2020

MUSIC REVIEWS

‘Power Up’ signals a mixed energy from AC/DC

Forty years ago, Australian rock band AC/DC released “Back in Black,” an album that has sold over 50 million copies to date and gave us hits such as “Shoot to Thrill” and “Hells Bells.” In the two decades following “Back in Black,” AC/DC has released 10 albums with varying degrees of success. Their newest album, “Power Up,” sees the band trying to stay relevant in a new decade, and while there are moments of progression and innovation, AC/DC provides more of the same on this LP.

‘Love Goes,’ but Sam’s heart will go on

There are only a few artists in this time who can cut onions from miles away and still get something out of me: Adele, Rex Orange County, Ellie Goulding and Solange. But then there’s Sam Smith, and let me just say they can cut a whole bag full.

‘Visions of Bodies Being Burned’ is experimental hip-hop personified

The world of experimental hip-hop has been overlooked in favor of more mainstream-sounding music. Acts like Death Grips and JPEGMAFIA have been at the forefront of shaping rap music that is creative and innovative. One group that is often left out of the conversation of experimental hip-hop is clipping. Based in Los Angeles, clipping. consists of rapper Daveed Diggs and producers William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes. After listening to their latest album “Visions of Bodies Being Burned,” it is safe to say that clipping. produced one of the finest albums of the year.

Gorillaz deliver with ‘Strange Timez’

It seems only appropriate that a year as strange as 2020 would see the release of a new album from the off-beat British virtual band Gorillaz. Their seventh studio album, “Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez,” is another great addition to their innovative, fun and weird discography.   

‘As Long As You Are’ shows Future Islands being absent

Few acts are bigger in the synthpop scene than Future Islands. This North Carolina-based band came on to the music scene in 2014 with their album “Singles.” Since then they have only grown in popularity. However, with their latest album “As Long As You Are,” the band seems to have gone ghost.

Casual Cadenza: Alt-rock, innit?

To turn your attention away from the current political turmoil and the frequent “I hate it here” phrases that every aspiring expatriate seems to utter these days, I thought it would be a good idea to delve into the musical culture of a country other than America.

‘My Life 4Hunnid’ has YG speaking his truth

With his latest project “My Life 4Hunnid,” YG raps about topics ranging from police brutality to spending time with women. The result is an album that has a strong message but could have used some fine tuning.

‘Ohms’ is the best Deftones record in 20 years

When I first heard that legendary metal band Deftones was going to be releasing an album this year, I was excited to see what this experimental band would come out with next.

Neil Young’s ‘The Times’ offers little to entice new fans

Listening to a new Neil Young project in 2020 sounds like something that would be enjoyable. However, after listening to his latest EP, “The Times,” I was disappointed. Released on Sept. 18, Young’s latest EP is a collection of recordings he did at his home during his Fireside Sessions Series. These sessions were a series of live streamed concerts in which Young played some of his older songs from his home.

Casual Cadenza: Agnes Obel and her folk for folks

Although folk music is not nearly as popular as it was during the 19th century, there is one artist who I think is capable of bringing back a positive folk mentality into 2020: Agnes Obel.

Pop Cultured

Although this summer was different for many, music around the world hasn’t stopped. In this week’s column, we will explore some summer bops.

‘Hit Different’ is the return of SZA

Hearing a new SZA song in 2020 was the last thing I expected to hear. Since her debut album “CTRL” was released in 2017, SZA has only been periodically releasing new songs for soundtracks such as “Black Panther” and “Trolls World Tour.” She has also been nominated for nine Grammy awards since the release of “CTRL.” On her newest single,“Hit Different (feat. Ty Dolla Sign),” SZA goes over a relationship that is falling apart but is still alive because of the love she has for her man. After listening to this song, I was surprised by how good it was.

Jaden does sunny 1970s pop his way on ‘CTV3: Cool Tape Vol. 3’

Who knew heartbreak could sound so … happy? This is certainly the case for Jaden Smith’s newest album, “CTV3: Cool Tape Vol. 3.”