First off is The Lady Killer by Cee-Lo Green. Cee-Lo has been in the game for quite a while and this album shows why he still can put out quality stuff especially with his style. His lead off single "F*** You" has propelled him back to the top of the mainstream world with how catchy it is, but the rest of the album itself is better than that song because it is still pure soul music at its finest from beginning to end. "Bright Lights, Bigger City" is a great starter after the intro setting the tone for what's to come and it goes on from there. Many people usually would sleep on something like this, but Cee-Lo always put out top notch material and The Lady Killer is just another example of what he is still capable of today. This is another high recommendation by me and up there with my favorite albums of the year.
Next up is Rihanna's newest with Loud. Surprisingly, I was looking forward to this album because I was disappointed with Rated R being too much of a departure for her. I only liked two songs from that album which are "So Hard" and "Rude Boy." The darker direction didn't work out for my tastes, but I know those were her times then and for Loud she can return to form, which is indeed the case. This is better than Rated R with better songs and a good balance of high tempo/slow tempo stuff. "S&M" is the third single from this album and pretty much its "Rude Boy" because they share some similarities. I can see that song as another hit from her when the radio stations play it more later on. "What's My Name?" featuring Drake is also another solid song and the current single as well, which makes sense to me since you can't go wrong with a Drizzy cameo these days. My hype for Loud came from "Only Girl (In the World)," which is still my favorite song from her in a while and I don't mind how much of a guilty pleasure it is since it makes you wanna go crazy sometimes. The album slows down at the end with "Skin," another good song and concludes with "Love The Way You Lie (Part II)" featuring Eminem. Putting out the sequel to one of the year's biggest hits is not bad of an idea after all as RiRi's version seems more personal as you hear it and one Eminem verse is good enough if anyone is tired of his angry voice in Part I. All in all, Rihanna's Loud sticks to what she's still good at as an artist making catchy and poppy hit songs rather than go on a darker direction.
I gotta save the best for the last, which is the long awaited and highly anticipated album by Kanye West with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Even though some people were disappointed by his last album, 808s & Heartbreak, which how auto-tuney it was for the majority of it and there was a lack of him rapping, I still liked it, but I know he listened to those concerns for his newest and this time there is a better balance of his rapping and auto-tune craziness. With this album, you can tell how much heart and soul Yeezy put into it as it shows with all of the songs from beginning to end. "Dark Fantasy" is too awesome of a song to start with and the greatest reminder of old-school Kanye with its production by RZA. The long intro of "Power" from the Runaway film didn't make it to the final album, which was a bummer even though it didn't hamper the song's quality which is still amazing. A lot of hype was for "All of the Lights" and it still lived to it even though I questioned the number of cameo appearances like the Fergie verse, but the vibe of that song reminded me of "The Good Life." Despite that, "All of the Lights" is another highlight of the album. The rap-heavy songs then kick in with "Monster" and "So Appalled," which both were revealed early on his Good Fridays releases. Both songs are great additions to the album because of that focus. The tone then changes again with "Devil in a New Dress," still an underrated song in the album and "Runaway," which is in fact nine minutes long. Some might complain that is too long for that song adding in the auto-tune section at the end, but the extra samples he added compensate for that. "Runaway" is still a special song just because of how crazy the lyrics are. I'm surprised how well "Hell of a Life" and "Blame Game" turned out at the end too even though the Chris Rock epilogue at the end of "Blame Game" is still surprising. As the album opened with a bang, it concludes with a bang as well with "Lost in the World," another personal favorite of mine. Mentioning all the songs in this album goes to show that there is no filler at all as Kanye has done it again. In addition, I could get a sense of personal connection with some songs, which is also crazy considering where I'm at now in life. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is truly a masterpiece from beginning to end and indeed one of all-time favorite albums now.
That's it for now. There's still some album releases I'm interested to listen and talk about, so till next time I guess.