I'm gonna write something that isn't about music one of these days. But for now...
Imagine Dragons—Smoke and Mirrors: 9/10
Highs: I Bet My Life, Friction, Polaroid
Surprisingly great, with a wide range of styles from hard to hipster to sure-this-isn't-Coldplay?
Emeli Sandé—Our Version of Events: 7/10
Highs: Next to Me, My Kind of Love, Maybe
A few really great tracks, a couple good ones, and a bunch of slow R&B that doesn't grab me.
Mali Music—Mali Is...: 6/10
Highs: I Believe, Royalty, Make It
[See notes for previous album.]
Chiddy Bang—Peanut Butter and Swelly: 5/10
Highs: All Over featuring Gordon Voidwell
It's a free mixtape, and as such it doesn't have the same level of quality or polish as their more recent music, but about half of it is decent.
Afrojack—Forget the World: 3/10
Highs: The Spark featuring Spree Wilson, Three Strikes
A couple tracks shine out through the generic garbage.
Highs: Run, Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)
Way too many weird ideas that probably could have been refined into something great, but don't fit together musically as recorded.
Magic!—Don't Kill the Magic: 7/10
Highs: Rude, Stupid Me, No Way No
Finally, reggae music for white people!
Outasight—Nights like These: 5/10
Highs: Shine featuring Chiddy, I'll Drink to That, Let's Go
Frat party soundtrack.
Singles worth getting:
(either an album isn't out yet, or I didn't like the other tracks on the album)
Janelle Monáe and Jidenna—Yoga: fantastic, pop-R&B
B.o.B and Trey Songz—Not for Long: fantastic, pop-rap
Doug Locke—#ThisCouldBeUs: fantastic, catchy summer pop
Kid Cudi—Return of the Moon Man (Original Score): fantastic, electronic instrumental
Rob Cantor—All I Need Is You: very good, ballad...?
Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars—Uptown Funk: very good; don't pretend you're not sick of it yet
Kanye West—Black Skinhead: very good, rap
Kid Cudi and Raphael Saadiq—Balmain Jeans: good, mystery-genre
Pharrell Williams—Marilyn Monroe: good, pop
Matt Palmer—Lovesick: good, cheesy pop
Taylor Swift—We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together: good, pop
Albums that didn't make the cut:
Sarah Brightman—Dreamchaser (sounds like an album of bad covers, because it is)
Kendrick Lamar—To Pimp a Butterfly (too hard to listen to, same thing I thought about his previous album)
St. Vincent—St. Vincent (too annoying to love)
Meghan Trainor—Title (actually pretty good, but I can't really see myself wanting to own it long-term... might reconsider)
Olatunji—Drums of Passion
Elle King—Love Stuff
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