Review: Did You Know That There's a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd by Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey’s best albums unfold boundlessly: gathering U.S. pop culture references over decades, shredding toxic relationships detail by detail and exploring the intimate bonds between violence and love. Since her debut over ten years ago, her wild, nihilistic glamour has exposed the oppressive cultural prisms of white America through the lenses of iconography like California, white mustangs, blue jeans, Art Deco, Guns and Roses, and Brooklyn.  Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd represents more of that revelatory drama, often sounding like a greatest hits of Lana’s playbook. It spans genres from psychedelic rock to folk to trap, sprinkling in classic Lana-isms from “Your mom called, I told her, you’re fucking up big time” to “If you want some basic bitch, go to the Beverly Center and find her. But much of the album also feels more insular and ghostly than the maximalist production on Norman Fucking Rockwell! or Ultraviolence. T he lush, cinematic production that ha

REVIEW: Paramore's This Is Why

   For kids who grew up with the explosion of the internet and the mobile phone, Paramore’s pop-punk emotional honesty has the universal appeal of tie-dye, checkerboard Vans and Hot Topic. Almost ten years after “Still Into You” and “Ain’t it Fun,” their raspy guitar lines and lead singer Hayley Williams’ cathartic choruses still scratch that itch on the inside of your ribs telling you to screw insecurity and let it all go. Paramore’s influence is easily heard today: Lil Uzi Vert ’s angsty melodies were inspired by Hayley Williams, Snail Mail’s raw soulfulness came from the sound they pioneered, and Olivia Rodrigo’s no.1 hit, the “Misery Business”-interpolating “good 4 u,” credited Paramore as writers.  But Paramore’s musicality has also matured as their late 2000s-early 2010s generation fans have grown up. Their last album, 2017’s 80s rock-inspired After Laughter, was more vulnerable and reflective: acknowledging the difficulty of going commercial and existing after the departure o

REVIEW: Kid Cudi's Entergalactic

i dont like kid cudi. this post is a repost of an article I wrote for The Hoya For over a decade, Kid Cudi has championed the “lonely stoner” he referenced in “Day ‘N’ Nite,” his first hit single: the misunderstood , emotional male who finds solace in drug-fueled escapes from the despair of night.  His 2009 debut, “Man on the Moon: The End of Day,” became a collection of anthems for teenagers smoking their first blunt or railing against the unjust world after being rejected by their crush. Since then, Cudi has been attempting to revisit the relatable loner-stoner, sorrow-tomorrow narratives he constructed back before the internet gave us abominations that claimed to convey “ true pain ” like XXXTENTACION songs over edits of Bart Simpson . In an interview with Complex magazine, Cudi explained his latest studio album, “Entergalactic,” as his “perspective on love” which “people haven’t really heard.” Yet in reality, it represents more of the same trite nostalgia for narratives of lonel

REVIEW- Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers (2022)

     Kendrick Lamar released his last studio album, DAMN.,  when I was in seventh grade. In the 1855 days since then, I have grown up. I went to high school. I learned that I loved to speak. I started dating a girl. I am going to college. And the world has changed too. Economies collapsed and a pandemic raged. Cities burned and were invaded. The influence of social media is more pervasive than ever, and polarization is worse than ever. The world has gotten more complicated, which places a heavy burden on Kendrick, as someone who must now juggle being a 34-year-old with a fiancee and two kids with discussing a range of societal issues in his work.     But luckily, Kendrick delivers, remaining just as introspective and forward-thinking as he always is.  His albums have always raised the stakes by complicating the topics they bring up and introducing additional perspectives—you never finish a Kendrick Lamar album feeling a sense of clarity, only more uncertainty. Mr. Morale & The Big

the most underrated Frank Ocean song?

     With its array of characters that pray, love, or cry, Frank Ocean's channel ORANGE is my favorite album because it is endlessly relatable. I grew up on the album—playing it in the car on trips to H mart or hearing the sounds waft over from the basement where my mom worked. But almost ten years later, I am still realizing the subtle references, double entendres or hidden meanings of songs that ask just as many questions as they answer—and the airy, mid-album contemplation of "Crack Rock" might be the most indicative of this constant questioning.      In the 1980s, the CIA covertly supported right-wing rebel groups called the "contras" to undermine the socialist Sandinista government of Nicaragua. But this intervention abroad came at the cost of African-American lives. An investigation by journalist Gary Webb found that the CIA financed the contras through sales of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of L.A., establishing a pipeline that caused an

my thoughts on Donda

I have counted the less busy half of my summer through Kanye's Donda listening parties. Since the first event on July 22nd, watching in concern as a clearly upset Ye wandered aimlessly around an empty field playing unfinished concepts of songs, my weekends have been spent wondering whether his long-anticipated tenth album would release. And finally, it has, with Universal dropping the lengthy 100+ minute affair on Sunday morning without Kanye's permission.  But for all the hype and crazy speculation that surrounded the adventure of Donda's  drawn-out release, from the shock of hearing a heavenly Young Thug feature or the drama of Kanye levitating out of the stage, repeated listens to the album have failed to inspire me in the way that Kanye's other work does. While Donda often produces beautiful, classic Kanye instrumentals , energized verses, and harmonic bliss, it is a mess as an album. Apart from a few standouts, Donda  feels empty: a shell of the bravado, the passio

lofi "marxist" rappers i recommend

    While it seems like a weird pairing, a  German philosopher with a nice beard that died 100 years ago and a rapper from Brooklyn who runs an official Twitter account called @darkskinmanson have much in common. Despite the overwhelmingly prevalent view of rap as a materialistic outlet meant to promote expensive flexes and absolute excess, many rappers use their music to do the opposite: delivering powerful commentary on the harms of societal structures and expectations. In this post, I chose highlights from three rappers who seem to understand the problems caused by the expropriation of surplus just as well as Karl Marx. The rappers on this list don't speak out in as maximalist a fashion as artists like Run the Jewels , but the specter of capitalist social relations often looms over their music, where they acknowledge the negative consequences of a world focused on production and profit.  MAVI: "Love, of Money"     MAVI is a neuroscience student at Howard University, wh