Monthly Music Recap – November 2022


November was an important month for fans of both mainstream and more niche music. With new releases from hip hop legends BROCKHAMPTON and Nas, as well as new projects from cult-favorite independent artists like Quadeca, Cavetown, and Jakey, this month gave us here at The Paw a lot to cover. Luckily, though, now that there are three of us working on the Recap, we’re able to cover even more of the most important releases (and some of our less popular personal favorites) of the month. We hope you enjoy our most extensive Recap yet!

– Albums –

Cavetown – worm food 

worm food - Album by Cavetown | Spotify

Cavetown added some new sounds to his repertoire this month with his album worm food. Keeping his usual style of that sweet and endearing singer-songwriter vocals, Cavetown decides to mess around in the hyperpop and indietronica genres for a change, making this album really refreshing after the last few projects he has released. Lyrically, there’s not much happening. On the second track “kill u,” he sings the line “Yeah, honestly, I’d kill you if I could / And I can’t fall asleep ‘cause this is adulthood.” This kind of corny songwriting is nothing new coming from Cavetown. The track “a kind thing to do” features Pierce the Veil, an American post-hardcore band, which makes this track surprising, and also terrible. Combining the screaming sound of Vic Fuentes with Cavetown’s usual songwriting techniques creates an uncomfortable moment on this album. Though this record has some really rough spots, it’s a step in the right direction for Cavetown; he’s diversifying his sound, and showing that he’s capable of more than just writing some indie folk song. – Amelia



BROCKHAMPTON drop "final album" The Family, then surprise fans with second record - triple j

The 13-member rap collective and self-proclaimed “boyband” BROCKHAMPTON have released two separate albums, finalizing their departure, titled The Family, and TM. Each of these albums have two different vibes and approaches, with The Family being a lot more rap-centric and intense, while TM is a lot more laid back and chill. Regardless of the two releases being uniquely thematic compared to each other, and this being their final albums as a group, they weren’t necessarily the greatest releases. Beginning with The Family, this project actually started off pretty well. The choices of instrumentals were very catchy and flowed quite well, giving off excitement to hear the last of their music. But, after the first quarter of the album, it became very disappointing, and wasn’t attention-catching. Not much stood out to be all that interesting, and it didn’t feel like much of a closer album. TM is mostly a similar story. This project contained even less creativity, and grew kind of boring, especially considering the slow approach that was taken. With the speed of the album, it did feel a lot more like an ending to an era, and a send-off to something that once was, but regardless, it still lacked much personality, compared to the other album. Overall, these albums weren’t the greatest attempt at a conclusion of BROCKHAMPTON. They were two totally different projects, and each lacked their own characteristics which would make a solid retirement album, and let alone a good ordinary release. – Nicolas


Jakey – ROMCOM

ROMCOM - Album by Jakey | Spotify

YouTuber-turned-artist Jakey released his debut album this month after putting out a handful of singles over the past six years or so. ROMCOM was hyped up by casual listeners and longtime fans alike, but its release has met mixed reception, with some praising Jakey’s distinctive style and others disliking it. The production on ROMCOM succeeds on its lush atmosphere and instrumentals. The problem lies in Jakey’s lyrics and vocal delivery, which has a strange sort of novelty to it that isn’t quite clever enough to be tongue-in-cheek. For example, “LIKE TOTALLY FREAK ME OUT” has a great instrumental completed by hazy, cloudy production, but Jakey’s verses get old quickly, and the titular Bring It On sample essentially ruins the entire song with its grating repetition. It’s a shame, because Jakey’s sampling is otherwise quite charming; on “SURVIVAL HORROR,” he cleverly manages to build a pleasant instrumental around a sample of this classic viral clip. ROMCOM feels like a transitional album for an artist with potential; Jakey is clearly creative and has a distinct style, but he hasn’t quite found his footing yet. – Nico


Quadeca – I Didn’t Mean To Haunt You

I Didn't Mean To Haunt You - Album by Quadeca | Spotify

California-based artist Quadeca first gained popularity through his YouTube diss tracks back in 2018 against well-known content creator KSI. Since then, Quadeca has put out seven studio albums, with six of them being poorly reviewed, gaining less than three stars out of five by listeners on This November, Quadeca sends us his eighth album, I Didn’t Mean to Haunt You. Introducing a folktronica-like nature to his usual rap model, Quadeca doesn’t disappoint. The album totals 57 minutes and 44 seconds with the closing track “cassini’s division” lasting 8 minutes and 16 seconds, the longest of the 11 tracks. Attracting a feature from rapper Danny Brown, Quadeca goes above and beyond, showing off his talented production to tell a story from the perspective of a ghost. – Amelia


Drake & 21 Savage – Her Loss

Drake / 21 Savage: Her Loss Album Review | Pitchfork

Drake and 21 Savage have come forth and released a collaborative album:Her Loss. Despite this collaboration being teased in the last track of Drake’s previous album, this new project was both unexpected, though highly anticipated upon announcement. Drizzy and 21’s chemistry is truly iconic, and really displays what mainstream rap music should sound like, for the most part. Some parts of the album do grow kind of repetitive and boring, and feel pretty unreasonable, like the second leg of the track “Hours In Silence.” However, other parts of the album present the two’s rapping skills and them going back and forth on different tracks, and other playful ideas. Even Lil Yachty had production credits on here, did ad-libs for a track, and chose the unique album cover. This album both shows that Drake still has it, and shows that everyone who’s a part of it had fun creating it. While Her Loss doesn’t introduce much that is new and doesn’t display anything astoundingly creative, it’s a pretty solid album. – Nicolas


Nas – King’s Disease III

Nas: King's Disease III Album Review | Pitchfork

On King’s Disease III, legendary rapper Nas proves that he’s still got it almost 30 years after his seminal debut Illmatic. The third installment in his King’s Disease series of albums sees Nas returning to his 90s hip hop roots while also remaining modern and fresh, thanks in part to prolific producer Hit-Boy, whose beats are as smooth as it gets. KD3’s highlights are lively and rhythmic; the third track, “Thun,” for example, is a dynamic sonic portrait of New York City. Though there’s the occasional lackluster delivery, Nas’ rapping is impressive throughout. He carefully wields emotion and tone to give lines the weight that they have, especially on tracks like “Don’t Shoot.” King’s Disease III marks yet another success in the storied career of Nas. – Nico


Weyes Blood – And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow

Weyes Blood: And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow Album Review | Pitchfork

Jumping out of her 2019 breakthrough album Titanic Rising, Weyes Blood has released its sequel, And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow. Starting this album in typical Weyes Blood fashion, listeners get the taste of a beautiful string arrangement and velvety vocals on “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody.” The next two tracks don’t offer much variance in sound until we get to “God Turn Me Into a Flower,” a song about the Greek mythical figure Narcissus, where she ends with vocals that make you stop and truly listen to the emotion that is being poured out. “Twin Flame” shows us something a little different, a fun drum beat to accompany the lyrics of love. The album closes with the somewhat disappointing “A Given Thing,” a simple piano ballad accompanied by smooth moving vocals, which in itself isn’t a bad thing. However, placing this track as the closer, having it follow the soft rock vibe of the penultimate track disrupts the flow of the record and leaves the big anticipated feeling of the finale lost on me. – Amelia



SMITHEREENS - Album by Joji | Spotify

Once known as an internet comedian, and now a soundtrack for sadness, Joji has released another solemn and emotional project called SMITHEREENS. After nearly two years of silence in music, this was his first album since 2020. This release definitely stands out in his catalog, though sort of in an odd way. The 24 minute runtime, along with the two-disced structure of the album, is rather strange. This project actually starts pretty strong, with his hit single “Glimpse of Us” being the intro. The next couple of tracks perform quite well too, and the entirety of the album includes catchy melodies, both vocally and instrumentally, with the vocals almost always being layered. Other than these positive components, the album runs a little weirdly. The first half of the album is a lot more sad-centric and slow, with the second half being more upbeat, but it also sounds a bit unfinished. A track is labeled as a demo as well, solidifying the project’s incomplete feeling. The vocals throughout the tracklist also feel one-dimensional, aside from a few areas. Overall, this album falls short of the potential that it could live up to, with its biggest component holding it back being the short runtime, along with the partially rushed vibe of it. SMITHEREENS isn’t great, it isn’t bad, but it is just okay. – Nicolas


MGMT – 11-11-11

MGMT: 11•11•11 Album Review | Pitchfork

Established psychedelic pop duo MGMT pleasantly surprised fans this month by finally releasing the long-awaited recordings from their show at the Guggenheim on November 11th, 2011, exactly eleven years later. The performance on 11-11-11 was made up of new material from MGMT, making this live album particularly special, as it is an album in itself rather than a compilation of live performances of a selection of hits. Their Guggenheim performance proved to fit the venue; the album’s whimsical, psychedelic atmosphere is all-encompassing and, for lack of a better term, huge. “Whistling Through the Graveyard” exemplifies this, with its hypnotic instrumentation and tantalizing melody. Shimmering synthesizers and lush guitars soar over every track. 11-11-11 is an archival of what had to have been a life-affirming experience for concertgoers, and fans are grateful for the opportunity to hear it in studio quality, even if the experience is secondhand. – Nico


Louis Tomlinson – Faith in the Future

Louis Tomlinson - Faith in the Future (Deluxe CD + Zine) - Music

Louis Tomlinson is back with his second studio album titled Faith in the Future that dropped earlier in November this year. Following his not so successful debut album “Walls,” this album disappointed just like its predecessor. With lame lyrics and annoying choruses that made my eyes roll, it’s safe to say that Louis Tomlinson fell off after his One Direction career for a reason. This album was incredibly uninspired and unoriginal, making it seem that Tomlinson has lost touch with his musicality. Sticking to his pop roots shows a lack of diversity within his discography and doesn’t do him any favors. With 16 tracks being delivered to us this month, not one of them stands out like it should, with each song sounding like a bad cover of some song he heard on the radio. – Amelia


– Singles and EPs –

AJR – “The DJ Is Crying For Help”

The DJ Is Crying For Help - Single by AJR | Spotify

AJR’s first single for their upcoming album leaves a lot to be desired, to put it very generously. To be much less generous, “The DJ Is Crying For Help” is essentially an amalgamation of everything a song shouldn’t be. The already-maddening vocals are layered with an even more obnoxious, dated autotune, and this is worsened exponentially by the corny lyrics: “Hey now, hold up, we were fun as hell / I’m all grown up, but you couldn’t tell / Now I don’t know what to do with myself / The DJ is crying for help.” The instrumental is also grating, leaving absolutely no pleasure to be found anywhere in this track. Suffice to say, this was not a good choice for their upcoming album TMM’s leading single. – Nico


Jane Remover – “Contingency Song”

Jane Remover: “Contingency Song” Track Review | Pitchfork

Jane Remover has released a new single under the name “Contingency Song,” being one of their most layered and mysterious tracks yet. This song has amazing progression and a bountiful amount of sounds, all stirred into one beautiful mess. Lyrics aren’t the focus here, but instead the merge of different melodies and details shoved deep into the mix. The sound of this song is so thought-provoking and fascinating, leaving the listener with a lot to digest throughout the song’s runtime, and lots to think about after the song finishes. – Nicolas


Gorillaz – “Baby Queen” and “New Gold”

Baby Queen - Album by Gorillaz | Spotify

The instantly-recognizable virtual band Gorillaz released two new singles this month for their upcoming album Cracker Island, whose first single was the title track. “Cracker Island” was decidedly a club banger, which was somewhat-new territory for the band. However, “Baby Queen” is more laid-back and atmospheric, with a distinctly-chillwave sort of vibe. It’s a highly pleasant, relaxing track, which serves as a nice change of pace from the other two singles, which are more bombastic and danceable. This is where “New Gold” comes in, which features Tame Impala and Bootie Brown alongside a pulsating drum beat and 80s-esque “futuristic”-sounding synths. “Baby Queen” and “New Gold” are both strong tracks and have definitely built more hype for February 2023’s Cracker Island. – Nico


aldn – “post spring self destruction”

post spring self destruction - Single by aldn | Spotify

Aldn, continuing his new sound of a pop and rock mixture, has released his new project “post spring self destruction.” This seven track EP did a great job feeding the die-hard fans, while also introducing his newer or casual listeners to this sound of his. The project starts off with a harder rock taste, then slowly progresses into a hyperpop-ish sound, and ending with some of aldn’s most organic pop music he’s created. While this short but sweet release doesn’t have anything astonishing about it, and it doesn’t present anything too special, it is definitely a nice listen. It’s at times passionate, other times playful, and all around a decent project. – Nicolas


shame – “Fingers of Steel”

shame – Fingers of Steel Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

English post-punk/art rock group shame, who hail from the same groundbreaking London scene as bands like black midi and Black Country, New Road, released the first single for their February 2023 album Food for Worms this month to positive reviews, and for good reason. “Fingers of Steel” is decidedly more melodic and warm than the tracks on their 2021 album Drunk Tank Pink. Where the best tracks from Drunk Tank Pink (i.e. “Human, for a Minute”) are dark and tinged with Joy Division influence, “Fingers of Steel” is brighter, warmer, and wears its heart on its sleeve, which is something the band does exceptionally well. If shame keeps releasing singles this good, Food for Worms is shaping up to be a highlight of 2023. – Nico