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Transistor, I Let It in and It Took Everything, and Pinball Reviews

written by Amir Lahoud on

Hello, music lovers! We've been searching for some more in-depth album reviews, and boy have we have delivered! This week, we have WUVT DJs Naiel Habtemichael, James Brunson, and Skyler Rapp reviewing albums from reggae to rap to metal, with more coming soon! To begin, check out Skyler's review of 311's Transistor!

311

311 by Transistor

Skyler Rapp

In 1997, alternative-reggae-punk-rap rock band 311 released their fourth album, Transistor. Upon release, the album was immediately met with varying opinions. While some embraced 311’s attempt at trying something totally different, others were baffled and cried for a return to the band’s roots. Nowadays, the album is now much more positively regarded, and you’ll find multiple 311 fans gushing about how it's their all-time favorite. But is its newfound praise truly deserved? Despite the risks from its experimental nature, Transistor stands out among 311’s library in the best way possible. Out of the gate, its first two tracks, the title track and Prisoner, introduce the tone of the album-- 311’s classic styles with a more atmospheric and spacey twist you can lose yourself in and “float” to. This album leans a tiny bit more on the lighter and slower side, with some of my favorite tracks being Prisoner, Use of Time, Light Years, Strangers, Stealing Happy Hours, and its most popular song, Beautiful Disaster. Fans of their heavier songs might enjoy its title track, Electricity, Jupiter, and Creature Feature. At a lengthy 21 tracks (the title track literally starts with “If you want more beats for your buck there’s no luck”), several people think that Transistor is way too long, and I kind of have to agree. I'd be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy every track, but there are a few filler songs I would cut if I had to shorten it. Despite 311’s risky experimentation and the initial controversy that the album would face, Transistor has become a timeless 311 album that both fans and those unfamiliar with the band can greatly enjoy. Transistor is a good reminder to look back on initially disliked things and that, sometimes, it takes a little time to be loved and appreciated. Being the black sheep is cool!

Loathe

I Let It in and It Took Everything by Loathe

James Brunson

If I could describe a perfect album (which is rare for me) it would be this metal album called I Let It In and It Took Everything by Loathe. Listening to the whole thing, and it being consistently my top listened album for the past 3 years, I can do nothing but praise it for its blend of somber, ethereal, and aggressive tracks. Mixing a combination of metalcore, black metal, death metal, djent, shoegaze, and mid-2000s emo, this album creates and auditory journey, complete with very aggressive highs, depressing lows, and a climax track that I consider one of my favorite songs of all time. On top of that, the way the album is blended makes it pretty much a long 50-minute song, but you still have the opportunity to jump in on any track without feeling like it relies on the rest of the album. With all that being said, I Let It in and It Took Everything is a must-listen for anyone who's into harder music.

Pinball

Pinball by MIKE

Naiel Habtemhicael

After last year's Burning Desire was met with critical acclaim, MIKE became a rapper whose next release, Pinball, was highly anticipated by underground rap fans. This recent wave of rappers focusing more on soulful, contemplative delivery, both in their lyricism and instrumentation, has had few artists as special as MIKE. With Tony Seltzer executive producing the album, it was hard not to get excited for this release. Both Seltzer and MIKE have been making waves within the New York underground for a while now, so a collaboration between the two feels like the most logical step forward. With such a defining release behind him, and promising singles like R&B, MIKE's popularity was on the rise. Artist backstory aside, this album rips from beginning to end. The opener, Two Door, gives the listener a glimpse of the spacey beats and good flows that define lyrical rap. If the whole album was tracks like this, it would be great, but MIKE has more in store. Tracks like Lethal Weapon, R&B and Skurr utilize very groovy, electric piano heavy beats that pair so effortlessly with MIKE's flows it’s almost upsetting. My favorite of these beats, however, is probably Underground Kingz, which explodes from the first moment the drums come in and does not let up for the near two-minute runtime. Blasting this song with the windows down would definitely scare the neighborhood kids, and I'm all here for it. The title track, Pinball, is another track that stands out stylistically, and is heavily reminiscent of Tisa Korean's melodic, more synth heavy tracks. MIKE however, brings his own more reserved style to this type of beat, which fits together like a rap jigsaw puzzle. The closer, 2k24 Tour, is yet another spacey, wide spanning track that sounds like those Epic Mickey games on Xbox where Mickey Mouse would run around fighting dudes with a paint brush and shit. Honestly, this album is chalk-full of great songs and a must-listen for any rap fans. Check it out and try not to fall off the edge of your seat waiting for MIKE's next release, 'cause I know I'll be.

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