Music Reviews January

Ryan Gronich, Music Critic and Puzzle Master

RAP: Nightmare Vacation – Rico Nasty (December 4)

I may not think Rico Nasty’s songs are the catchiest out there, but she sure does make you want to go light someone’s stuff on fire. I wasn’t expecting to like her singing as much as I did. I’m glad she uses her voice in more than one way; it makes her music a little more dynamic than you usually get with otherwise pretty standard trap. Even if I found Nightmare Vacation to be a relatively unremarkable album, I think there’s potential in it. Rico’s rapping style is great. A woman willing to scream herself hoarse telling everyone how she’s the best person in the world and nobody can mess with her is something I can get behind. I just wish her lyrics were a little wittier. “Smack A B****” was a single before it came out on this album, and I think it’s just great. “You rap about a Audi too much / because my Audi paid off, […], hush” makes me laugh every time I hear it and I want lines like that to be her standard. Though I ultimately want more out of Rico, I thought this album was absolutely fine, and I recommend it if you’re in the mood to rap about how you’re hotter than anyone you know.


FOLK POP: Evermore – Taylor Swift (December 11)

Taylor Swift is notorious for genre-hopping, and I happen to think she’s quite good at it in the scheme of things. She made good country, then good indie pop, then good radio pop, then a couple of albums we don’t talk about, and now the fruits of her discovering Bon Iver aren’t half bad. Swift is in her thirties now. Evermore sounds like it, and not in a negative sense at all. She’s grown past songs like Red’s “22” and into ones like “willow,” introspective and quiet and not made for dancing to. I’ve always liked Swift’s voice no matter what she’s doing. Her delivery is great here; I think she has a very solid understanding of where she wants to go with a project before she does it, and she knows her audience. The people who like her music are, at this point, accustomed to her upbeat Uber-pop, and Evermore seems for the most part like it would be really accessible for those people as a bridge into a folkier place. I don’t think this was the best album I’ve ever heard or anything, but I respect what Swift is doing and I hope she keeps branching out. I’d give this one a listen if you’re in the market for branching out too.


INDIE: Indoors – Baseball Gregg & Boy Romeo (December 21)

I’m familiar with Baseball Gregg as a dreamy lo-fi indie rock outfit, reminiscent of perhaps a calm day on the beaches of Italy where the band met. However, this EP brings Boy Romeo into the mix, who gives their sound a little more flair; the first track, “Snacks,” is a synth-and-bass-laden tune that works better with Sam Regan’s sweet and whispery vocals than I figured it would. The bass on the entire EP is excellent. Stripping away the cassette-tape fuzz and surreal guitar effects of Baseball Gregg’s earlier records seems like it would tone the band down into boringness, but Boy Romeo is tight enough on their instruments that it successfully fills the hole. Usually the problem with indie rock being generic is that a band isn’t thinking about the actual music in the background and is instead putting more into their lyrics. These two bands absolutely don’t have this problem: we’ve got a sax solo, chime accents, disco synthesizer, and the guitar you expect all on the same record, and they’re cohesive to boot. Indoors is a really nice collaboration. If it’s mellow bedroom rock you want, give this EP a listen.




I don’t just have to write blurbs about stuff I really liked lately– if you’ve got a request for me to talk about a new album you thought deserved it, shoot me an email at [email protected] and it’ll be a blast for both of us! Stay fresh, kids!