KANYE WEST ft. CHANCE THE RAPPER
Ultralight Beam ★★★★★
G.O.O.D. Music / Def Jam
The opening track from Kanye's The Life of Pablo is a bravura gospel performance so audacious and uplifting it moved even this atheist to stand up and say "Praise the Lord!" On this form, you can't help wondering, once again, whether Kanye the music artist and Kanye the media trainwreck could really be the same person? Then track two begins and he embarks upon a rant about having sexual relations with a supermodel who uses bleach on – shall we say – an area of her anatomy that wouldn't ordinarily be exposed to daylight. And you think, yeah, okay, that's our Kanye.
THE KNOCKS ft. CARLY RAE JEPSEN
Love Me Like That ★★★
The Knocks second collaboration with the Call Me Maybe singer is a catchy ode to unrequited love. The New York duo's long awaited debut album 55 is out March 5th.
The Big Big Beat ★★★★
Since she burst on the scene four years ago, rapper Azealia Banks has made far more headlines for her Twitter feuds than her musical output. According to her meticulously thorough Wikipedia entry, the 24-year-old has tangled publicly with more than 30 artists, including Iggy Azealia, Nicki Minaj, Diana Ross and The Stone Roses. (The Stone Roses? Wait, how is that even...?) Every once in a while though, she has been known to knock out a tune or two. And The Big Big Beat is a prime example of what, at her best, she's capable of. "Haters, I hit them deep in the jugular," she snarls. Haters, admirers, innocent bystanders...
Winter Night ★★★
Paper Trail Records
"In the night, I see your ghost..." After a year of radio silence, singer-songwriter Karen Sheridan and producer Conal Herron return with a gorgeous piano ballad. Wistful and nostalgic, winter has never sounded so warm.