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Album Reviews

Kweku Collins - Net Love

Adam Sputh

  Kweku Collins and I are the same age. We both grew up listening to Weezy and T-Pain, and we both grew up with IPods. That being said, I left Chicago at fourteen and he stayed, and it shows. Nat Love is a synthesis of many wonderful things; hip hop, social consciousness, insecurity, weed, and soul. This album reminds me of being stoned, lying in the grass at the park in high school. This album comes from a man acutely aware of himself, and his environment. His whiny singing sounds childish, but it comes from a very mature mind. 

  Kanye West and Chance the Rapper are the two big names these days when talking about Chicago hip hop, and Kweku absorbed the best of these guys. There are gospel sensibilities found in songs like “Death of a Salesman” and “Everever (Oasis1)”. Like Chance, he’s in touch with where he comes from and you can hear it in “The Outsiders”.

Can’t you see the sunset real good on the North side?

You can see it on the South side too

  Lyrically this album covers a lot of ground, all from the perspective of a highly self-aware nineteen-year-old. In “Stupid Roses” he talks about his love/hate relationship with cannabis; personifying it as though it were a beautiful temptress. His relationship with weed is not unlike that of many high schoolers. It’s a great distraction from the growing up you’re supposed to be doing, but if you let it, it can become a crutch. In more ways than one, it’s a great love song for people of all. 

  He brazenly criticizes the powers that be in his native Chicago. He talks about being asked to serve a country that thinks he can only be a rapper or a soldier, but he doesn’t get ahead of himself, and doesn’t ask for favors from anyone. Additionally, motifs of fading love and big aspirations pervade this album, all set to a comfortable hip hop/trap instrumental. 

  Serious subject matter is backed with slow, pulsating instrumentals. The tempo on this album never changes and suggest a contemplative mood. Piano and acoustic guitar color the backdrop of the beats, and remind me of blues and soul records from the ‘50s and ‘60s (a la B.B. King and Etta James). The music doesn’t overpower the lyrics, instead it does a wonderful job of enhancing their effect. 

  Nat Love is Collins’ sophomore album, and a more developed sound compared to his debut Say it Here, While it’s Safe. And while I’m impressed by the mature sound that this man has cultivated, I still get the feeling that the best is yet to come from Kweku Collins.

By Charlie Hindman

Frankie Cosmos - Next Thing

Adam Sputh

  Last spring, Greta Kline, better known as Frankie Cosmos, announced that she would no longer be playing bass in Porches in order to have more time to focus on her own music. As much as I love the chill melodies in her debut album, Zentropy, this announcement upped my anticipation as to whether or not she would show more variety. The EP Fit Me In, showed a totally different side of Frankie Cosmos with all-electronic instrumentation, a fun break that showed Kline is capable of breaking out of the box of “quiet girls playing guitar in their bedroom” that Zentropy could of placed in her in.  

For Next Thing, Kline returned to her roots of short and simple beats. Kline recognizes this, and even poked fun at herself in an Instagram post, “half the band is taking a selfie during a song…cause it’s a #sparse #arrangement.” The longest track on Next Thing is 2:34, all 15 songs together only adding up to 28 minutes. The lightness of her songs makes is almost frustrating when the 45 second “Interlude” song plays, and it’s only purpose seems to be to give a shout out to Meredith and Momo. Whoever they may be, one thing is for sure, you want to be them. Kline clearly used her extra time to focus on lyrics, as she crafts a heavenly world full of friends, dogs, and some bad days too. For me the climax of the album comes when Kline drags out “what the fuck?” at the end of  “Is It Possible / Sleep Song.” Frankie Cosmos is no longer the quiet girl who seems to be the master of awkward shyness. In Next Thing, she isn’t afraid of confrontation and looking you straight in the eyes. 

  I was actually surprised to see that Fit Me In has less than a half-an-hour playtime, as her beautifully weird and witty lines make it feel like you may have also just spent hours with friends, only just emerging from a happy haze. Kline’s wonderfully weird lines have the ability to last outside of their airtime, as you continue to think about them after they’ve passed. In the intro track “Floated In” Kline sings of two people growing drowsy together, “Now it would be bedtime if / I could close off my mind / It just flops onto you / Wet and soppy glue … You know I’d love to / Rummage through your silky pink space cap.” The achievement of Next Thing is Kline allowing us to see into her silky pink space cap of poetry, and hopefully this continues in whatever she writes next.

By Elise Morgan