October turned out to be an excellent month for new music. There were stunning debuts from young alternative pop stars, Lorde and Sky Ferreira. Arcade Fire’s hugely-anticipated fourth album, Reflektor, was unsurprisingly brilliant. Gesaffelstein’s Aleph brought techno firmly into the 21st century. Indie rock/pop saw pleasing releases from Sleigh Bells and Poliça. Pusha T and Danny Brown’s hip hop efforts received widespread acclaim. Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus’s respective works were altogether… not bad. To name a few.
But now it’s November and the nights are drawing in and other clichés. Here’s a look at five albums that have the potential to make November just as good as October.
1. M.I.A. – Matangi
“M.I.A. coming back with power, power.”
The ‘Paper Planes’ singer returns with her fourth album after a troublesome few years, including a bitter custody battle with her ex-husband, being sued by the NFL after sticking her middle finger up during Madonna’s halftime show at the Superbowl, threatening to leak the record if her label didn’t stop delaying it, and her previous LP, the sonically abrasive Maya, receiving very divided opinions.
Matangi is a step back to the sounds that made her first two albums, Arular and Kala, so exciting. Including the superb singles ‘Bad Girls’, ‘Bring the Noize’ and ‘Come Walk with Me’, this album can hardly be called ‘easy listening’ but it is definitely rewarding. M.I.A. pulls out all the stops and chucks in every noise available to make a beast of a record (a beast on MDMA or something) that sounds like no one else.
2. Lady Gaga – ARTPOP
I don’t think any respectable list of music to come out in November would miss out the new album from Lady Gaga, no matter the writer’s opinion. I’m not the biggest fan of Gaga (I like her, I don’t love her), but she does know how to write a great pop song or two (‘Do What U Want’, her collaboration with R Kelly, is a particular standout) and her iconic status cannot be denied. As long as the Little Monsters are kept happy.
3. Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP 2
First single, ‘Berzerk’, showed Eminem harking back to his early days with a track that was fun, tongue-in-cheek and demonstrated his love of old school hip hop (note the Beastie Boys samples).
The subsequent release, ‘Rap God’, saw Mathers impressively spitting out rhymes faster than Azealia Banks can start a Twitter feud. The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is set to be a return to the rapper’s glory days after his past couple of albums achieved a feat I thought was nigh on impossible: they made hip hop sound bland.
4. Cut Copy – Free Your Mind
The Australian electronic indie/synthpop quartet boasted one of the best records of the noughties with their second album, In Ghost Colours. Now releasing their fourth album, they’ve maintained their brand of infectious, bright rhythms with a pensive edge whilst fully embracing psychedelia.
5. Cults – Static
Indie rock duo Cults rose to prominence in 2010 when the excellent ‘Go Outside’ set music blogs alight with its seamless blend of sweet, sunny guitars and lyrics evoking frustration, creating a strangely perfect summer song. Some may be familiar with the track from The 2 Bears remix that was featured on an advert for Brothers Cider in 2011.
Static, the follow-up to their self-titled debut, comes after Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion’s relationship ended, which culminated in an album that is crafted of emotional complexities and a personal strength that many breakup albums don’t possess.