Albums of the week: Killers, Nas, Mark Forster, Devendra Banhart, Jungle-Kultur

Nas – “King’s Disease II” (Mass Appeal Records)

The title of “musician’s musician”, that is, the musician who is adored above all by other musicians, is often about equal parts ennobling – and poisoned. Adelung, because completely sincere praise from colleagues, even among artists (stricter variant: rappers), is about as widespread as women on Dax boards. Poisoned because the whole thing implicitly also says very often: Very extraordinary art – but mine sells better. To the “rapper’s rapper” Nas The poisoned part did not apply for a long time. After all, the ones from him are also extremely successful commercially and brilliant hip-hop standard works “Illmatic” and “It Was Written”. However, he got his first Grammy for his latest album “King’s Disease”, but not even a gold record. So it is possible that he too has arrived at the poison a little. And maybe that doesn’t matter to him – he’s been earning money for a long time, especially as an entrepreneur.

The successor “King’s Disease II”, released on Friday, follows the expert concept almost fanatically. The album is pure MC muscle play. Big, but also incredibly relaxed technology show. Great storytelling. Absolute focus on texts and flow. But also: hardly any real hooks. Not even in Hit-Boy’s beats. Heavily elegant, very supple drums, fine synths, warm basses, a strictly thought-out overall concept. Everything, however, almost entirely in the service of voice and history. So a really outstanding rapper / producer alliance brings an album that works as a complete work and tends to get better the more you listen to it. But not a song that you would call a hit in the classic sense. Fans should love that. Just like the guests. In addition to Eminem (his verse is already being analyzed for the rhyme patterns in various videos; great pleasure), above all Lauryn Hill. She is extremely confident in ironing out complaints that she is often late at concerts. Punchline: “My awareness like Keanu in ‘The Matrix’ / I’m savin ‘souls and y’all complainin’ ’bout my lateness”. Jakob Biazza

Devendra Banhart – “Refuge” (Dead Oceans)

Absolutely the opposite concept: The “hipster’s hipster” Devendra Banhart breaks with Freak Folk and New Weird America on his new album. With all the Americana modernizations, which are always a bit ironic, for which he is known and which people with man buns and dad sneakers are so fond of. He’s now making meditation music instead. Seriously. So, seriously. “Refuge” was created with the composer, producer, guitarist and long-term friend Noah Georgeson during the pandemic isolation, which is why everyone worked for himself at first. It was only later that the material was brought together, which in return flows almost insolently well into one another. A word of warning though: It’s ambient music! Recorded with real guitars, pianos, pedal steels, harps and lots of analog synth clouds. And yes, maybe really beneficial after these tense months, which are slowly turning into years. But, you shouldn’t fool yourself, even to the last beat of “Breathe in – breathe out – come to rest – find your center – let everything slip on you that burdens you – be light – fall”. Jakob Biazza

Mark Forster – “Musketeers” (Sony Music)

The “darling’s darling” Mark Forster is not the type for breaks. “Musketeers” is a classic Mark Forster album again, his fifth. Denim-Shirts-Sneaker-Base-Cap-Deutschpop. Music like Saturday night shows on Pro Sieben. And for that, Forster deserves respect, almost a genre of its own. On the one hand. On the other hand, with the singer, in very rare moments, you get the feeling that he would like to want more. A little more courage. One touch less format. Break out a little, just for a moment and doesn’t have to be radical at all. “Carelessness”, produced by the duo, who cannot be adored enough Kitsch war lets guess what. And a little more the opener “OK ​​Wow”. A very fine, minimalist electro R’n’B hopper. Plush atmosphere, swings really very loosely below. The beat streams in, choirs shoot rays of light through the scenery, the synths chatter off. So it drives towards a wonderfully summer-cool outro, creates endless opportunities – so many possibilities where it can go now -, takes another deep breath … and … then just breaks off. Two minutes, twelve seconds of hope. So damn close. Then there are a few songs that could also be hits. Jakob Biazza

Jungle – “Loving In Stereo” (Caiola)

Seven years ago the band became Jungle hailed as a new big thing in England. Smooth disco soul pop, just enough edges that it doesn’t slip into the pleasant. Then unfortunately it took them four years for the second album and that magic moment was over. Now album number three is rolling in, it’s called “Loving In Stereo” and unfortunately all edges are gone by now. A shame. Everything is actually right: Beats danceable? Check. Lots of violins according to the Schwabing Disco Convention of 1976? Check. Women’s choirs like the best Chic-Times? Check. Curtis Mayfield, Earth Wind & Fire and Deee-Lite on the influence list? Check. Still, it almost never goes beyond very good background music. But let’s put it this way: if you only need a perfect album for cocktails on the terrace this year, buy this one. Max Fellmann

The Killers – “Pressure Machine” (Universal Music)

The killers-Frontman Brandon Flowers has dedicated an ode to the small town in which he grew up – at least something like that. Nephi, Utah has approximately 6,300 residents. In the four YouTube trailers that announced the album, you can see a place where there are always wrecked cars on the side of the road, rust-stained and left terribly lonely. But also as if they were still on the lookout with their faithful headlights and expect their owners to come and pick them up again soon. Dogs roam around. The paint hangs down in large scraps from many house walls. Flowers reports from here, or: lets report.

Between the songs, supposedly real people tell their stories in short snippets – of the security of the small town community, the marriage with the “high school sweetheart”, the Fentanyl known as “hillbilly heroin”, the train that brings someone every two or three years captures and kills. Flowers takes up these stories and spins them on. Sings of lovable police officers, disaffected workers, addicts, of frustration and the tightness and security. The music of his otherwise glaring stadium band is almost shy this time, ducking. Total service to history. So “Pressure Machine” could be the worst pose of authenticity. But it’s pretty great. Jakob Biazza

A detailed review about the Killers album can be found here.


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