3 albums with the CultureCow seal of approval

Originally published on Sumner Newscow on July 9, 2021

Happy Friday. Last week, big-name artists like Ed Sheeran and Tyler the Creator released new albums, but they were overshadowed by a surprising former YouTube star: Doja Cat.

This isn’t to say Tyler’s album wasn’t good, and we’ll talk about it further down the page, but the fact that Doja Cat was able to make an album that good is a feat unto itself. Doja got her start on YouTube, and her first “hit” (if you can call a viral video that) was called Mooo! Which didn’t exactly predict music stardom.

Her new album is Planet Her and is as close to a concept album as Doja is capable of. If you’re thinking that you’ve heard of a woman artist creating a fictional planet around the concept of femineity, that’s because you have. Lady Gaga did the same thing with Chromatica, but it’s okay that album came out over a year ago.

While not terribly original, listening to Planet Her is a blast. It starts hot with Woman, the song that will be stuck in your head for days after hearing it. Woman is a great lead song because it encapsulates what the rest of the album holds: sugary earworms you can’t help but love.

Doja started as a joke artist, but this album really brings her up as a legitimate pop star. It isn’t just Woman that you’ll be humming for the next few days, either. Some other addictive songs include Naked, Get Into It (Yuh), and I Don’t Do Drugs.

If the album wasn’t surprising enough, Doja also snagged some awe-inspiring features. Ariana Grande, JID, and the Weeknd all make appearances on the 14 tracks. The best feature of them all, however, comes from SZA on the song of the summerKiss me more.

Planet Her is out now and well worth your time. She also put out a deluxe version for those of you with more time on your hands.

Just because Doja outshined him doesn’t mean Tyler the Creator didn’t release a good album too.

Coming off the heels of the wildly successful album IGOR, Tyler revived some of his earlier sound on the new record CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST (he loves the all-caps look). CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST is devoid of Tyler’s singing voice that we heard so much of on the last two albums and opts for more classic raps.

I say it’s more like his old work isn’t just because of the raps; however, the album also has songs directed at women. The last two albums have made it abundantly clear that Tyler isn’t chasing women, so it’s a little odd that songs like WUSYANAME have feminine pronouns.

I understand artists will change words to make a song sound better, like when John Denver changed the place in Country Roads from Maryland to West Virginia. But it’s more suspicious on this album due to DJ Drama.

You’ve heard DJ Drama on a lot of your favorite rap songs, but he’s just the producer/DJ, so you probably only recognize his trademark “GANSTA GRILLS” shout. DJ Drama is a known homophobe, so Tyler changing his lyrics this much from one album to the next doesn’t sit right with me.

Aside from that, however, the album’s sound is immaculate. It’s as well-composed as IGOR and Flower Boy, but with the brash lyrics, we haven’t seen as much since Tyler’s 2013 album, Wolf. There aren’t any hard cuts in between tracks, and the album seems together as if it was meant for vinyl.

My favorite songs are CORSO, MASSA, and WILSHIRE, but there are 16 tracks to pick your own favorites from. Tyler is one of my favorite artists working today, and he will always get the CultureCow seal of approval.

Finally, let’s take a trip to the land of snails and good bread: France. There’s a French electro-pop duo named Polo & Pan which has been putting out great music since 2013. It released a new album called Cyclorama.

Cyclorama isn’t heavy on lyrics and is much more concerned with vibes. Each song may or may not have a singer, but it will certainly have great production and a beat that you can’t help but bounce to.

The album is perfect “island tunes” that bring some much-needed tropicality to the oppressive heat we’ve been suffering through this summer. When it’s this hot outside, and the news is this bleak, albums like this need to provide some escapism.

Meme of the week

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