This month in music: Astroworld, Crazy Rich Asians and Janet Jackson
Your review of the best and most important music we met this month.
“ASTROWORLD” – Travis Scott (released: 8/3)
Travis Scott had a big year with the birth of his daughter, Stormi, so it’s no wonder that “ASTROWORLD” is his most personal album yet. Drake, Pharrell, and Frank Ocean all make appearances, as does living legend Stevie Wonder playing the harmonica on “STOP TRYING TO BE GOD.”
“Queen” – Nicki Minaj (released: 8/10)
The queen of contemporary hip-hop makes a triumphant retrn with “Queen,” slamming toxic masculinity and empowering her fellow women. “Majesty” features Eminem for a brilliant back-and-forth jammer, and she even brings out her Trinidadian roots in “Ganja Burns.”
“Sweetener” – Ariana Grande (released: 8/17)
In the wake of the 2017 bombing of her concert, Grande’s graceful return gives fans exactly what they’re looking for: a comeback album about finding love and peace. Although the album features a new attitude, it still features her larger-than-life choruses and Mariah-esque runs and vibrato without sacrificing her newfound enlightenment.
“Crazy Rich Asians Soundtrack” (released: 8/10)
One of the first movies starring an Asian cast to make a splash—but bigger, more like a tidal wave—in Hollywood, the soundtrack had to be killer. Featuring predominantly Asian artists, most of the songs either presented covers of traditional songs (Kina Grannis’ “Can’t Help Falling In Love”) or are completely redone in Asian dialects (Sally Yeh’s Cantonese cover of the Madonna classic “Material Girl.”)
“Thunderclouds” – LSD (released: 8/9)
The third track released by the pop super group (Songwriting juggernaut Sia, British singer Labrinth, and DJ Diplo) proves to be their strongest yet. The song deviates from the group’s electronica vibe for a more somber song, begging a lover not to fear what they feel, nicely wrapped in Sia’s soaring vocals.
“SOS” – Cher (8/23)
After starring in “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,” Cher was so hooked on ABBA tunes, she decided to record a whole album of their songs. While the song sounds almost exactly the same (replace the vocals with Cher’s and add a modern and dancier beat), it’s a reminder of just how great ABBA’s music is, and just how adaptable Cher really is.
“Made for Now” – Janet Jackson & Daddy Yankee (released: 8/17)
Jumping into the Latin Music craze, Janet Jackson lends her light and airy vocals to this track, reminding us just how fun she can really be. The song is somewhat more low-key than “Despacito,” but is every bit as danceable, and the colorful video is just the cherry on top.