In this day and age, booming upstarts are becoming billed stars at a quick pace. In 2017, we witnessed this fact via a slew of stellar debut albums from artists who basically broke ground with their standout projects. Here, REVOLT celebrates the debut projects from the new class of creators who altogether proved that #FirstTake is the charm.
Over a year ago, I wrote that Daniel Caesar’s “Get You” was not just unapologetically, but earnestly a love song. Turns out, it wouldn’t end up being an outlier on the then-forthcoming Freudian. The entire project, expertly fine-tuned at just 10 tracks, explores with abandon love at all its stages and at all its turns. Caesar is grateful and enraptured and satiated…and then desperate or dismissive or burdened. And as relationships (or lack thereof) are the running narrative, so is gospel the rooted musical inspiration amidst the R&B. It Midas-touches every track, sometimes in Kirk Franklin interpolations, and other times in choral harmonies and enveloping organs and delicate piano-playing, and it ultimately makes the album both familiar and inviting. Because who hasn’t, or won’t, experience such? When music seems to frequently document affection—temporary and lustful, at that—through a woozy, debaucherous haze, Freudian was welcomed for its clarity.
Something special happens when an artist mediates on personal hardships through melody. In 1994, Mary J. Blige turned heartache into a masterpiece (My Life). In 2011, Adele shared her pain and saw gain (21). In 2017, Kehlani accepted her hardships and turned it into a positive. SweetSexySavage finds the singer at her most vulnerable and self-confident — and to think, she does this all on her debut album. In analyzing the lows and highs, pain and joy, doubt and certainty within her personal universe, Kehlani comes out self-assured. In her contemplation, she is blunt, unflinching and finds recourse over sweet, exuberant, and dreamy production. The end result is beautiful bliss.
Amine exudes the kind of confidence that could rival anyone of your favorite established rap stars. The Portland rapper is the kind of guy who brings the life to the party and with one cadence turn a cloudy day into a sunny one. All of these examples capture the essence of Good For You, an album that delivers light in a year that was often shrouded by darkness. The songs are bright, the melodies are even brighter, and the guy’s flow is as smooth as butter. Whether its lamenting on heartbreak (“Wedding Crashers”), contemplating life’s rainy days (“Sundays”) or setting off the feels (“Dakota”), Aminé knows how to take the good with the bad and combine them into a gumbo that’s good for you, too.