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TEEN, The Way and Color

2014 | Label: Carpark Records

On “Sticky,” the fourth track of TEEN’s The Way and Color, lead singer and former Here We Go Magic keyboardist Teeny Lieberson puts her own spin on an old theme: Songs about unplanned young motherhood. Unlike the protagonists of Diana Ross and the Supremes’ “Love Child” and Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach,” Lieberson’s lyrics are both clear-eyed and vague: She thoroughly comprehends that she’s unprepared to responsibly raise a child, yet it’s unclear from the lyrics whether she chooses abortion or gives up the newborn for adoption. That ambiguity circumvents morality… more »

The Menzingers, Rented World

2014 | Label: Epitaph

The first song on The Menzingers’ fourth LP Rented World boasts a title so declarative and on-the-nose that it threatens to render the actual song redundant. Fortunately, “I Don’t Wanna Be an Asshole Anymore” lives up to its billing — a raucous, raw-throated anthem that testifies to the redemptive powers of rock for the kind of people who see themselves in the Scranton band’s music. Who are those people? Well, note that “I Don’t Wanna Be an Asshole Anymore” is an apology, not a promise. When Greg Barnett yells “BABY,… more »

Kelis, Food

2014 | Label: Ninja Tune

A few years ago, I spoke at an event called “Wine Unplugged” that filled the darkened meeting room of a casino with a wine tasting (reds, whites and bubblys); a Grateful Dead cover band; and a couple of writers well versed in matters of food and music. I was charged with explaining the similarities between wine and music to the audience, and I remember stammering through adjectives used to describe both — “full-bodied,” “tart,” “flowery,” “foul” — while the musicians stared at me with just enough ire to let… more »

Future, Honest

2014 | Label: Epic

In an interview for Complex in early 2013 (when Honest was still going to be called Future Hendrix, and was still coming out that year), Future discussed “dumb[ing] down” his music. “You’ve got to dumb it down for your audience so they can get it, can understand it and comprehend,” he insisted. For Future, Atlanta hip-hop’s current biggest hitmaker and premier Auto-crooner, this meant a more melodic sound, based as much in R&B as trap music, and remote from the rapid-fire battle rhymes on which he (as either “Meathead”… more »

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