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Tha Carter IV
If this is what sober Weezy sounds like, well, we kinda wish he'd get off the wagon already. Because aside from the astounding early single "6 Foot 7 Foot" and the so-cheesy-it's-irresistible follow-up "How To Love," there's spectacularly little worth listening to here.
To be fair, we weren't the biggest fans of the Antlers' debut, Hospice, either, and everyone certainly seemed to love the shit out of that. But now that they've released a follow-up, Burst Apart, that's at once colder and more cloying, we find ourselves longing for the old days (of, er, 2009), when things were lush and dreamy, but also spiked with some jagged edges throughout. Burst Apart is so smooth it goes unnoticed.
Wasn't this supposed to be the album that hurtled The Strokes back into the spotlight? The album that made up for the kinda spotty First Impressions of Earth? The one to re-establish Downtown cool as the premier cool? To steal back some of Brooklyn's limelight? In the end we got a half-baked dance-rock album made by a band grasping to reinvent themselves, and not any of those other things.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
In 2011, the shabby-but-lovable production quality that CYHSY made the Brooklyn scene's go-to sound six years ago is nearing the end of its cycle, and, suddenly, Alec Ounsworth's expressive vocals just come across plain whiny. Worse yet, Hysterical sounds fussy, built on complicated arrangements rather than the memorable melodies that made their debut shine, even through the fuzz.
Wounded Rhymes was an album that people tried very hard to like. After all, Li's got things going for her—a distinctive voice (think a toddler with black lung), and she's cool-looking without being too pretty in an obvious way. But the album's biggest problem was that its songs were mostly about being sad, and yet they didn't sound like they came from a person who knows what it feels like to be sad.