Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly Kendrick Lamar offers his reflections on where he has come from on his journey through the music industry, recalling some of the most influential figures in hip-hop to celebrate his origin and climb to the top. While acknowledging his success, Lamar struggles with the toxic nature of fame that’s inseparable from it, and the responsibility of being a cultural icon in a time when our culture is saturated with race-related violence. A lot of Lamar’s verses are conversations from one aspect of his feelings to someone in his life, or himself, or in one excellent piece of found footage editing, Tupac. Besides it’s political content, the album delivers dynamic, raw vocal performances, finely utilized samples coupled with an amazing studio band, and is one of the most engaging records to come out in the last decade. To Pimp a Butterfly is a work that could be dissected, discussed, and enjoyed for years to come. And it probably will.
In order of release, my Top 5 albums from the first half of 2015…
Panda Bear – Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper
PBMTGR was my first introduction to Panda Bear’s solo material, and just after a couple of listens, I realized that Noah Lennox brings just about everything that I love about Animal Collective to that group. The unsettling synths and oddball melodies get stuck in your head for reasons you can’t explain. I still struggle to understand this album, but there’s beauty in the struggle.
Nick Cave may have been the bracket veteran, but neither he nor his Bad Seeds were any match for third-ranked Tame Impala. “Eventually” moves on to face The Preatures and “Somebody’s Talking,” which pulled down an impressive 69% over Jagwar Ma.
Rounding out the sixteen songs in the Oceania bracket of this year’s Idle Time Tune Tournament are the tracks featured in these four matchups.
“Eventually” is a single off Tame Impala’s third LP, Currents. It faces competition from the oldest (and arguably baddest) dude in the bracket: Nick Cave. “Jubilee Street” was part of the Bad Seeds’ fifteenth studio album, Push the Sky Away, released in 2013.