It’s already half way through 2012, which is just enough time to have a small round up of albums that flew under the radar but pack a huge musical punch to your ears.
Childish Gambino – Royalty
If you’re down with the show Community, then you will be familiar with Donald Glover, whose rap moniker Childish Gambino is making waves in the rap game. His lyrics are anything but childish. Gambino is an intelligent rapper who lyrically weaves word play and pop culture references effortlessly together. Royalty is harsher than his last EP, but with guests like RZA and Ghostface Killah, how could it not be? But those naysayers who claim Gambino has gone a different route in his music didn’t fully listen to the album. Yes, he raps harder and with more emotion but it shows his growth as an artist.
Gambino has the natural talent to flow over beats that other rappers wouldn’t be able to touch. Check out “American Royalty”, featuring Hypnotic Brass Orchestra. Over trumpets and horns Gambino tears it up without missing a step.
Although Royalty isn’t an official full album, it’s something to get the fans by, and it’s definitely worth the time to check out. And if anything features a very hilarious Tina Fey rap at the end of ‘Real Estate’.
Linkin Park – Living Things
I already hear the groans. Even suggesting that Linkin Park put out an album that is worth listening to is ludicrous. Or is it? Living Things may just surprise you.
Give it a few listens from start to finish and some favourite tracks will stick out. The album is synth heavy with weighty guitar riffs. The vocals are evenly split between Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda. While Shinoda raps throughout the song, “Lies Greed Misery”, Bennington’s vocals come like a punch with his very distinct voice. It plays that way through most of the album.
So why did people overlook Living Things? My guess is that Linkin Park has been on the slow decline for the past few years. Living Things may have just broken them out of their spiral downwards.
Miike Snow – Happy To You
The Swedish indie pop band Miike Snow did not get enough recognition on their album Happy To You. Andrew Wyatt beautifully hums and sings over whimsical tunes that fit so perfectly together. Wyatt’s soft voice floats overtop trumpets and percussions that make for a happy experience. That is the best way to explain this album. It is meant to make you feel good. The music is completely upbeat and perfect to pop in for an afternoon drive. It is an album to get lost in. Why it went completely unnoticed is beyond me. Songs like ‘Vase’ and ‘Paddling Out’ are just a few of the stand out tracks.
MGK – Half Naked and Almost Famous EP
Machine Gun Kelly aka MGK aka Richard Colson Barker is a rapid-fire rapper. At first listen you’ll be shocked to find out he is a skinny 22-year-old white kid from Ohio. People have overlooked him or compared him to Yelawolf and lumped him into the white rapper pool. Which is not to say that they aren’t talented but instead grouped together and made out to be the same. But his raspy voice flows so quickly and accurately, you can’t doubt he’s talented.
MGK raps naturally over The Naked and Famous’ track Young Blood, and ‘Wild Boy’ showcases just how fast he can spit.
MGK is a rapper to be on the look out for. Half Naked and Almost Famous is just an EP made for some amazing rap in 2012 that went a bit unnoticed.
The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
Handwritten is a happy medium between The Gaslight Anthem’s The 59’ Sound and American Slang. Which is why it fell short on everyone’s radar. Most were expecting another breakout album like The 59’ Sound but Handwritten is much stronger. The band has evolved with more complex riffs and melodies. Though the same up beat sing a long lyrics and music is still there, it is all around more solid than the previous effort, American Slang. All in all The Gaslight Anthem hasn’t drastically changed their music but still are putting out albums that their fans old and new should be familiar with.
These albums all have a certain quality that for whatever reason were overlooked. If the beginning of 2012 flew past you and these great records were missed, I highly suggest checking them out. You may not like the full album but I bet a few songs will be pulled out of this mix.