Every month, Queens Library's expert staffers are looking for the best new materials to add to our collection. Check out our music recommendations for May:
Pharrell Williams – G I R L
If you’ve been paying any attention the past 2 years, you know Pharrell. He’s the one responsible for those super-hits “Get Lucky” and “Happy” that you couldn’t escape. “GIRL” is his 2nd album and it is full of more potential hits than you’d think possible. Whether the 1970’s retro sound that he employs is new to you or feels like old times, you’re sure to find something to enjoy on this CD. Listen to the single “It Girl” here.
Schoolboy Q – Oxymoron (Parental Advisory)
Schoolboy Q considers himself to be a gangsta rapper though he freely admits that no else seems to be anymore. His third release, “Oxymoron” is also his first major label release available at retail. Described by some reviewers as a “rap opera”, the album deals with adult issues and is not shy about it. Schoolboy Q says the title describes how he does bad things for a good cause, mainly helping to raise his daughter (that’s her on the cover). Listen to a clean version of the single “Collard Greens” here.
Shakira - Shakira
Shakira, the Columbian pop sensation, has released her 10th album, her second with all English lyrics. The album was supposed to drop in 2012 but Shakira took time off for her family. The wait seems to have done some good though as the new tracks have been praised for their strength and honesty, despite a wide range of styles. When it was released in March, the album went to #1 on iTunes in 63 countries. Watch the music video for “Hips Don’t Lie” here.
Romeo Santos - Formula Vol. 2
The “bachatapocalypse’ is here. Romeo Santos has unleashed his second album of cross-over Latin pop and what may well be the first pro-LGBT bachata song. Though normally associated with sentimental weepiness, Romeo picks up the pace with some dance beats and some high profile collaborations with Drake and Nicki Minaj. This may not be the record to bring bachata to mainstream America, but it is a step in the right direction. Watch the lyric video for the song “Odio” here.
Ty Dolla $ign - Beach House (Parental Advisory)
“Beach House” is Ty Dolla $igns follow-up EP to 2 previous mixtapes of the same name. He calls it ‘R&B you can funk to”. The EP already has a break-out single , “Paranoid” and more featured artists than can fit in this brief review. Expect a follow-up full album “Free TC” sometime later this year. In the meantime, you can listen to the instrumental version of “Paranoid” here.
My Chemical Romance - May Death Never Stop You
Last year, 2013, My Chemical Romance broke up after 12 years and 4 full-length studio albums. If you missed them while they were happening, you can get the best stuff on the newly released greatest hits package “May Death Never Stop You”. Featuring hit tracks, unreleased songs and demos, this album ties together the career of the most successful pop-punk band from New Jersey. Watch the promotional video for “Fake Your Death” here.
Afghan Whigs - Do to the Beast
The first album of new material from the Afghan Whigs in 16 years has certainly created some excitement. Always in the shadow of grunge, the Afghan Whigs consistently put out great records that all too few people noticed. Critics, however, adored them and you’ll find their albums on many Top 100 lists of the 1990’s. Aside from front-man Greg Dulli, band members have come and gone and come back again, but the sound is always there. Check it out here.
Johnny Cash - Out Among the Stars
When Johnny Cash died in 2003 it was inevitable that there would be some posthumous releases of questionable quality. No one expected to find a complete album of songs recorded in the 1980s but never released due to lack of interest. Thankfully, people are interested now and this record proves that even when there wasn’t a market, Johnny Cash could still make music that mattered. Listen to the title track here.
MercyMe - Welcome to the New
MercyMe have been winning over Christian rock audiences since 1994. They almost called it quits after their last CD but were inspired by a friendly youth pastor to carry on. “Welcome to the New” is their 8th studio album. MercyMe shake up their formula a bit by adding a few dance grooves and other influences and seem to be having a good time doing it. Listen to the band talk about the new album here.