The best new music from this past weekend includes a new Teyana Taylor album that’s over three times as long as her previous record, a powerful protest anthem from H.E.R. and Phoebe Bridgers’ dreamy sophomore album “Punisher.”
“The Album” by Teyana Taylor
Reality television star, choreographer, dancer and R&B artist Teyana Taylor dropped her third studio album, a collection of 23 tracks split into five categories, which Taylor refers to as “studios.” Labeled by the letters A, L, B, U and M, each studio represents a different aspect of Taylor’s life: love, sexuality, self-worth, vulnerability and triumph. The record follows her 2018 album “K.T.S.E.,” which served as the fifth and final installment in a collection of albums produced by Kanye West during the bizarre gathering in 2018 on a ranch he purchased in Wyoming.
With “K.T.S.E.” clocking in at only 23 minutes, “The Album” feels like an appropriate follow-up, giving Taylor the time and creative freedom to further establish herself as a skilled vocalist and overall artist.
“Punisher” by Phoebe Bridgers
Phoebe Bridgers dropped her highly-anticipated sophomore album “Punisher,” a lyrically beautiful record showcasing her unique ability to find humor in heartbreak, depression and loneliness. Bridgers crafts vivid stories on tracks like “Garden Song,” the album’s lead single about murdering a skinhead neighbor and burying him in the backyard. The album also features intensely personal songs, such as the title track about late singer-songwriter Elliott Smith, whom Bridgers has called her hero, and her long walks past his old Los Angeles home.
On the decision to release the album as protests against systemic racism continue, Bridgers tweeted “I’m not pushing the record until things go back to ‘normal’ because I don’t think they should. Here it is a little early. Abolish the police. I hope you like it,” along with a link encouraging listeners who stream the album to donate to one of seven social justice organizations.
I’m not pushing the record until things go back to “normal” because I don’t think they should. Here it is a little early. Abolish the police. Hope you like it.https://t.co/vmwERN0SOm— traitor joe (@phoebe_bridgers) June 18, 2020
“I Can’t Breathe” by H.E.R.
H.E.R.’s new single is one of the latest of many protest anthems released as protestors nationwide gather to protest police brutality. The singer and songwriter debuted “I Can’t Breathe” during a livestream performance on YouTube, hosted by iHeartRadio, to benefit the National Urban League, an organization fighting racial discrimination.
The official release of the soulful track is accompanied by a powerful video featuring footage from protests around the world and honoring George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others who have lost their lives as a result of police violence.