KAROL G, Don Toliver, and Gorillaz lead this week’s recent music releases.

Photo by: Viktor Forgacs

February is ending on a high note with music releases. 

There is a variety of different genres for everyone to begin 2023. Here are three recent album releases with what to expect, what songs to skip, and which to add to your playlist.

MAÑANA SERÁ BONITO (Tomorrow will be beautiful) – KAROL G

Hope for a better tomorrow and healing from heartbreak is the theme of this album, stated right from the beginning as the name gives listeners a glimpse of what to expect from La Bichota’s latest project. The album features big names and while it is still early, some of these tracks will probably carry over to be summer hits, especially the catchy: “OJOS FERRARI.”

The first song starts with a replayed sample of “Don’t Worry Be Happy” while KAROL G describes the pain of heartbreak and the coming of better days. The second track, “X SI VOLVEMOS” (in case we get back together), featuring Romeo Santos, is a beautiful ode to relationships that just don’t work out; this song features the perfect tempo for Santos’s vocals. The sixth track, “TQG,” featuring Shakira, seems to be directed at Gerard Piqué or any ex that has cheated or lied.

The album ends with its titular song, featuring Carla Morrison. While the lyrics on this track are good, it feels underwhelming knowing that Morrison’s vocal caliber wasn’t used to her potential, the song could have featured someone different or followed a rhythm where Morrison could have excelled.

Overall, this is an unskippable album, but “GATÚVELA,” “PROVENZA,” “AMARGURA” and “CAIRO” are a few songs worth highlighting and adding to your Latin/reggaeton playlist.

Love Sick – Don Toliver

Another unskippable album with the theme of heartbreak? Post- Valentine’s Day seems to be the time to drop albums with this theme.

Love Sick follows the mellow soul style that Toliver is known for with a mix of pop and R&B. The cover art fits the tracks perfectly and it might be one of the best album art in a while. Love Sick feels like one long track instead of 16 different ones and that is a good thing for this genre of music because of its mellow and continuous vibe. It’s easy to picture this album in the background on a late-night drive or a chill summer bonfire.

This album also features artists that fit the style such as Kali Uchis, Future, and WizKid. Some notable tracks include “4 Me,” “Time Heals All,” and “Do It Right”. Overall, this is an album worth listening to from start to finish with no skips.

Cracker Island – Gorillaz

Cracker Island follows a similar format to Gorillaz’s recent releases which seem to rely on featured artists while somewhat maintaining what Gorillaz fans would expect from their early 2000s output. It still includes upbeat electro pop production infused with oddball hip-hop sensibilities, but this time around also features artists from different genres shifting their style for better or for worse depending on which era of the outfit a listener thinks is best.  

The first track, “Cracker Island,” features Thundercat and starts off very fast-paced and reminiscent of their earlier work. It then slows down for the second track, “Oil,” featuring Stevie Nicks, which, while good, is somewhat dwarfed when Tame Impala comes in on the fifth track, “New Gold,” and overshadows all previous tracks with perfectly integrated quality of all artists. Bad Bunny is featured on “Tormenta,” their eighth track, and if it wasn’t on this album it feels as if it was one of his own songs.

Overall, this album is so divisive and the quality so scattered between tracks as to be a hit or miss depending on the listener. It has some good tracks, for sure, but it’s not for the casual listener. It doesn’t flow smoothly which might drive people away from listening from beginning to end. This is more of a pick-and-choose-what-you-like since all the songs are so different.

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