Ever since I remember Yuna, I've respected her.
I just couldn't finish an album until Chapters.

Changes in production style make her latest stand out. It feels more modern, with deep bass and modernized RnB influences to balance the harsh pop base her style was built on. Balancing both worlds really well is her latest single Crush featuring Usher. Check it out.

I thought Usher was gonna hype the track more, honestly.

The fact that he kept it at mostly Yuna's vibe was the first impressive shot to me. The rest of the song and its dreamy downtempo goodness works well all on its own. It also features the weakest point of the album, which is the common every-track-is-a-romance, but it works, especially if you listen to the deluxe version of the album.

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The Malaysian singer-songwriter always had vocals and creative song-writing to her advantage, and it doesn't fall short on Chapters. The three extra tracks on the deluxe version give the album a completely different spin that I can't recommend enough. It goes from ending on a sentimental ballad, to ending on a sentimental truth. She goes in depth talking about how she got to where she is and the struggles she faced along the way on Time. I highly recommend at least that song if you're liking what you're hearing so far.

While you're checking the Deluxe out, check out another personal favorite, Places to Go. I'm not sure how, but lacing a heavy hip-hop beat immediately after the album's original ballad ending is the perfect way to slap you awake again. It almost makes you wanna replay the album.

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The ugly truth is B for the Beast is the only reason I heard this album. This, The Switch Album, isn't  even a bad album, it's just lost in a sea of indie pop-rock albums with psychedelic twists. I like it because I can go to the library and play The Switch and I know what the mood's gonna be, and they have more than just a couple of great tracks. Even this album has some pretty awesome material in there.

Golden nugget #1 for me was Hangtime. Check that one out if you get the chance.

So what are the Norwegian pop-rockers offering us?

I thought they fixed their sound from their prior We're Fooling No One, Really, what they're doing is modernizing. They've found their own indie sway full of dreamy melodies and airy vocals. It works really well for them, I just have a personal affection for their psychedelics.

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There are other tracks you can't stream on their Soundcloud yet that I really got into.  I can't help but sing along to Girlfriend Material. Gilgamesh is a decent opener, though, and if you like it you might want to look into She Is the One and Narrow It Down.

I wish it were more particular in style. The album's catchy, it's running circles in my mind, but it's music I'm used to, or music that despite being brand new, I hear often. But maybe it's just me.

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I could nit pick, but if you're being honest about every important aspect, it's a solid hip-hop album.

Maybe the quality of the content could reach a higher level, but you gotta be realistic about these things. You get about two lyrically fulfilling hip-hop albums a year if your standards are up there with mine. This isn't one of those albums for me.

It doesn't feel like a guilty pleasure, though.

Actually, it feels just right. It's just catchy enough to rap along if your lungs can take it. It's got enough artistic variety to keep the haters at bay, too. We're talking about a giant crew of musical talent being featured on just about every other song. It looks ridiculous on paper but it works out pretty smooth.

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Blended Babies killed the production on this effort. If you're gonna analyze every track you'll notice the work put into each beat is excellent, but they also know how and when to pull away. Nothing is ever overdone, giving it a classic feel while maintaining all those great production tricks they've got up their sleeves. Just wait 'til you hear those instrumental sections; it's beautiful.

What about Chuck Inglish?

Well, he was exactly what I was expecting him to be. Really good. You can't deny the quality of his rhymes, the wit and charisma. Again, I could nitpick and say it didn't exceed expectations, but he set his own bar high enough. The album works.

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I try not to write negative reviews

It’s a system. I like a variety of sounds so I focus on the best and worry less about the worse, and in the process of not worrying I come across hundreds of musical efforts. Somewhere in that pile of efforts was Voluma. I paid attention.

Voluma felt like it was in the worry-less area. There was a few good tracks on the effort but the album itself never caught me. I discarded the effort. It’s a week since I heard it now, and I hate the thought that I’m missing out on Mar just because the album isn’t up to my admittedly high standards.

Mar is fucking beautiful.

It’s got all kinds of rock and ancestors in there. Beach sways and a hint of bossa really engraved in. It feels like peace. It’s not pushing you anywhere but you wanna sway with it.

Mar translates to Sea. If you’re taking it literally, the song is an ode to how the sea cleanses and relaxes, together with the horizon sun revitalizing the soul. It’s a song about distance from the asphalt jungle.

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There are other good songs on that album. If I heard the album over I’d probably be glad I did. But the only one I couldn’t stand not hearing again was Mar. You can check it out yourself and see if there's something else for you by streaming it through Spotify.

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And if you really like his voice, find him with Latin-Grammy award winning Zoé.
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