Admittedly, Blonde (Blond?) should've been on our must-play list in August, but since Frank Ocean decided to surprise-drop this one on a random Saturday last month, we're including it here. We're also including it here because to ignore what will likely be one of the best albums of the year would be criminal. Ocean has always lived on the edges of contemporary pop/R&B, but with his latest, he's proving he's a genre unto himself. On Blonde, ethereal beats meet lush melodies and lyrics that cover everything from romantic sacrifice ("Siegfried") to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina ("Pink White" and "Nights"). The album has a huge host of contributors (only Ocean can get Beyoncé to sing back up), but this is a pure Ocean album, through and through.
As promised, Jay-Z dropped his new 4:44 album earlier today on Tidal, but you won't be able to stream it if you subscribed recently. As the Verge reported earlier, and Pitchfork confirmed by trying to sign up, Tidal users who enrolled after June 26th won't get access to the album. Instead, you'll get a message saying "Jay-Z 4:44 is only accessible to Sprint/Tidal customers and all Tidal accounts established prior to June 26th during the exclusive period." Sprint kindly notes that if you switch to its network, you will get six free months of Tidal and access to 4:44, so there's always that route. Its statement provides a fairly resounding answer to the question we posed when Sprint invested $200 million in Tidal.
Last week the Polaris Music Prize, which recognizes the year's best Canadian full-length album, unveiled its 40-album shortlist for 2016. It includes big-time pop stars like Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen, and critical darlings like Grimes and The Weeknd. But tucked in amongst the far more established artists is PUP, a Toronto punk quartet that just released its sophomore album The Dream Is Over. It wasn't totally a surprise--the band's self-titled debut also made the Polaris longlist back in 2013, thanks to thundering tracks like "Reservoir." But The Dream Is Over is an even more confident step forward, following years of aggressive touring and near-destruction.
It's been almost exactly a couple years since Kendrick Lamar dropped To Pimp A Butterfly, the Compton rapper's world-stopping third studio album. So to prep for his next album, he did what only makes sense: wiped his Instagram clean and began the merciless teasing of what is to come next. SEE ALSO: Apple Music's live radio channel finally comes to Singapore users The post is a simple "IV" image, a reference to what will be his fourth studio album, with no comment. In an interview with The New York Times, Lamar explained where his focus is as he creates this forthcoming project. "I think now, how wayward things have gone within the past few months, my focus is ultimately going back to my community and the other communities around the world where they're doing the groundwork," he said.