Musicality – Marina and the Diamonds, Ricky Martin, Jimmy Somerville, Kendrick Lamar

Marina and the Diamonds
Froot
(Neon Gold/Atlantic)
If you enjoyed Marina and the Diamonds’ previous album Electra Heart, go get the new one this instant. It’s wonderful, and it carries a similar style and tone. The album takes you on a trip through the many confusing emotions you go through when falling in and out of love. Anybody who has ever had his or her heart broken will feel it. Though she covers the various coping mechanisms of getting over a lover, she retains her strength and attitude to deliver a wonderfully strong and addictive pop album. On the song “I’m a Ruin,” pay attention to the lyrics and you will be stabbed directly in the heart. The fantastic beat will carry you through it, though. Her vocals are unique and haunting –strange for pop, and she pulls it off flawlessly. My favorite songs are “Better Than That,” “Savages” and “Immortal.”
Ricky Martin
A Quien Quiera Escuchar (Who Wants to Listen)
(Sony Music Latin)
Ricky Martin’s new album is here just in time for warm weather. This is a good one, and it debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. Top Latin albums list. Martin always delivers with style. The album is in Spanish, but it doesn’t matter. Music is a world language. I enjoyed the two singles he released, “Adios” and “Disparo al Corazón (Shot to the Heart).” The rest of the album is no different for me. It’s fun, but also serious. Those who speak Spanish, or who turn to the Internet for translation help know that the lyrics match the tone, with a good amount of complexity and soul searching throughout. For those who enjoy world music and Latin beats, this album is fantastic. My favorite songs are “Isla Bella (Beautiful Island),” “Náufrago (Castaway)” and “La Mordidita (The Nibble).”
Jimmy Somerville
Homage
(Membran)
This album is a delight. With a strong disco and funk sound, Jimmy Somerville really delivers. Such an addictive groove is hard to pass up. Somerville was openly gay in the ’80s, before it was cool, and he is still here dishing out wonderful songs dedicated to the kind of music he grew up loving. The album is fun, light, and simply easy to listen to. It’s not over the top and doesn’t delve deep, but it doesn’t need to. It’s nice just to listen to something smooth that treads lightly, something perfect in the background, with strong melodies that don’t demand a lot of attention. The bass melodies really highlight this album, and the addition of horns is always welcome. If you’re looking for something to relax to that definitely won’t put you to sleep, this is a great one. My favorite songs are “Some Wonder,” “Taken Away,” and “Lights Are Shining.”
Kendrick Lamar
To Pimp a Butterfly
(Top Dawg/Aftermath/Interscope)
If you like R&B and rap and you haven’t hopped on the Kendrick Lamar train, now is the time. This one is not for the children. It is hard to keep up with this brutally, honest, unexpected, strange and absolutely wonderful album. Kendrick Lamar is a fascinating artist. Kanye West thinks he is still dishing out music with depth like this. As far as fresh originality goes, Lamar doesn’t just take the cake — he mixes, bakes, decorates, and then gently serves it with grace. Certain parts of songs rub you emotionally raw at times, so don’t expect an easy ride the entire time. Honesty can be a rough pill to swallow, but it’s worth it. The melodies are wonderfully composed, and Lamar goes above the skyline with his lyrical talent. There is some serious dialogue here. If you’re looking to drift into a different planet of R&B, do not miss this one. Some favorites are “King Kunta,” “Hood Politics,” and “Complexion (A Zulu Love).”

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