30-Second Album Reviews: June 2022

Kendrick Lamar, Sharon Van Etten, Kofi, Erez Zobary, Florence + The Machine, Jack Harlow, Def Leppard, Ethel Cain, The Rolling Stones and many more.

Album cover for Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers

Kendrick Lamar

Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers

Genre: Rap
Sound: Erratic stream-of-consciousness rap from master of the form
If you like: J. Cole, Freddie Gibbs, Vince Staples
Why you should listen: For his long-awaited return, enigmatic rap legend Kendrick Lamar needed to craft an album that defied expectations. With Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers, he delivers. It’s sprawling, complex and laced with contradiction and political commentary — already as controversial as it is popular.
Best track: We Cry Together

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Album cover for We’ve Been Going about This all Wrong

Sharon Van Etten

We’ve Been Going about This all Wrong

Genre: Indie folk
Sound: Quiet and surreal soundscapes
If you like: Angel Olsen, Julien Baker, Perfume Genius
Why you should listen: Sharon Van Etten’s vocals float along a calm ocean of sound, and the accompaniments throughout the album are pared down but eventually pick up the pace on Mistakes, which is Van Etten’s poppiest song yet.
Best track: Mistakes

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Album cover for Why Not?

Kofi

Why Not?

Genre: Rap
Sound: A traditional fusion of bass-bobbing rap and R&B
If you like: Burna Bandz, Gunna, Lil Baby
Why should you listen: Recognizing his previous relationship mistakes, Kofi dedicates this album to sharing his personal development when it comes to love. The Ghanaian- Canadian mixes low-fi hip hop with trap while drizzling vibronic melodies throughout the project.
Best Track: Two Tow’s

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Album cover for Dance Fever

Florence + The Machine

Dance Fever

Genre: Indie rock
Sound: Mystical, witchy, larger-than-life, baroque art pop
If you like: Regina Spektor, Feist, Kate Nash
Why you should listen: Florence Welch can always be counted on to deliver grand vocals and stunning orchestral arrangements. On Dance Fever, Welch wrestles with the question, “How much is art really worth?” and if it is too much of a sacrifice to keep performing music at her own expense.
Best track: King

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Album cover for 90s American Superstar

Wallice

90s American Superstar

Genre: Alt. pop
Sound: Electric, modern beats with sass
If you like: Rina Sawayama, spill tab, Lights
Why you should listen: The indie alt-pop star quips about fake fame and celebrity status with humour on her five-track EP. It’s full of ’90s movie references, reminiscent of 2000s pop music and contains witty, millennial, tongue-in-cheek lyrics.
Best track: Rich Wallice

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Album cover for Diamond Star Halos

Def Leppard

Diamond Star Halos

Genre: Rock
Sound: A timeless collection of wailing electric instrumentals and gritty vocals
If you like: Poison, Mötley Crüe, Joan Jett
Why you should listen: The English rock legends return with their first studio album since 2015. It’s packed with mighty electric guitars, crashing cymbals, singalong vocals and the perfect amount of power ballads — everything you need from a rock and roll album.
Best track: Angels (Can’t Help You Now)

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Album cover for Come Home the Kids Miss You

Jack Harlow

Come Home the Kids Miss You

Genre: Rap
Sound: Radio-ready hits that are high on swag (even when low on substance)
If you like: Amine, Lil Nas X, Dababy
Why you should listen: Jack Harlow rose to fame as a personality rapper — his suave confidence and flirty vibe rocketed him to heartthrob status among his (mostly female) fanbase. This album relies on that personality, and it’s enough to make it entertaining even when it doesn’t have much else.
Best track: First Class

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Album cover for Preacher’s Daughter

Ethel Cain

Preacher’s Daughter

Genre: Alt-pop
Sound: Expansive production, piercing vocals and tragic, detailed storytelling
If you like: Caroline Polachek, Oklou, MARINA
Why you should listen: Concept album from rising alt-pop star Ethel Cain uses mournful Americana tropes and witchy, industrial instrumentation to build dark soundscape chronicling life of a young woman crushed by religion, trauma and American life. The album veers from wildly catchy alt-pop hits to doomy, esoteric tracks —all worth listening to.
Best track: American TeenagerTeenager

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Album cover of No Longer in the Suburbs

Dylan Sinclair

No Longer in the Suburbs

Genre: R&B
Sound: Smooth R&B
If you like: Mario, Jon Vinyl, Savannah Ré
Why should you listen: Known for marking Toronto with a new sound, Dylan Sinclair shares how leaving the suburbs has impacted his relationships. Glazing his second EP with soft tempos and ease, the 2021 JUNO nominated artist puts a modern twist on early 2000s masculine R&B sound.
Best Track: Lifetime

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Album cover No Love Is Ever Wasted

Zach Zoya

No Love Is Ever Wasted

Genre: Rap/R&B
Sound: Blistering bars and laidback singing over trap beats and woozy instrumentation.
If You Like: Lil Baby, Post Malone, The Weeknd
Why you should listen: The Montreal emcee sings and raps with suave party-boy expertise, using layered vocals and smooth bars to soundtrack the summer house party of your dreams. Don’t worry, though — there are plenty of tracks here for getting in your feelings, too.
Best Track: Strangers in the House

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Album cover of rising

mxmtoon

rising

Genre: Indie pop
Sound: Bubbly, wistful ukulele-pop that’s lighter than air
If you like: dodie, chloe moriondo, beabadoobie
Why you should listen: mxmtoon is basically a viral track machine: her whimsical melodies, lilting voice and relatable themes about growing up in a chaotic world have catapulted her to Gen Z cult status. This album follows the same formula as previous releases, but hey — it’s a good formula.
Best track: victim of nostalgia

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Album cover of Live at the El Mocambo

Rolling Stone

Live at the El Mocambo

Genre: Rock ‘n’ roll
Sound: Jangling rock from infamous ‘70s live shows
If you like: The Animals, Jimi Hendrix, Cream
Why you should listen: The Rolling Stones show at the world-famous Toronto music venue El Mocambo is legendary. This incredible album captures their 1977 performance with hits that sound so fresh it’s like you’re hearing them for the first time.
Best track: It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (But I Like It)

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Album cover for blue water road

Kehlani

blue water road

Genre: R&B
Sound: Effortless R&B tone rich with sultry vocals
If you like: Summer Walker, Mahalia, Teyana Taylor
Why should you listen: In embracing a new sensation of freedom, Kehlani settles on joy. Melting her plush soprano voice over harmonies and string instruments, this candid album represents a new chapter for the 26-year-old artist.
Best Track: more than i should (ft. Jessie Reyez)

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Album cover for Palaces

Flume

Palaces

Genre: Electronic
Sound: Elevated EDM studded with features from alt-pop royalty
If you like: Alison Wonderland, A. G. Cook, Oklou
Why you should listen: This album is basically a who’s who of the biggest names in cool-kid electronic music: with features from Caroline Polachek, Oklou, Damon Albarn and more, every track is an immersive soundscape of addictive dance ecstasy.
Best track: Highest Building (ft. Oklou)

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