Just 2 months shy of the end of 2019, its that time again to give you guys a run down of some of the best soulful projects released in October. It was a big month – Summer Walker dropped one of the most anticipated albums of the decade and was rewarded with the biggest opening week of any female R&B singer in the past 10 years. Over It was streamed 154.7 million times that week and landed at # 2 on the Billboard Album Charts.
All of this without the backing of radio or the mainstream media. Summer Walker’s success is a reminder of the power of the people in the age of the internet – artists can achieve great success by consistently creating music the people love. Thanks in large part to music streaming platforms, the audience for good music is out there and can find and support the music they love.
Enough schpill… The albums from the past month you need to know about + a playlist of the tunes we’re loving down below.
Summer Walker - ‘Over It’
It is well and truly Summer Walker season right now and it simply cannot be denied. Off the back of 3 sold out London shows this month to kick off her First & Last Tour, rumours that the 23 year-old may well stop doing music after this has far from affected her being in high demand.
An album layered in an abundance of smooth-grooving R&B with a 2019 twist throughout, it really sets the tone for anytime of the day and has a huge amount of replay value. Over It consists of 18 tracks but definitely isn’t a drag, lasting under an hour. It plays brilliantly in its full tracklisting or on shuffle.
Summer not only vocally amazes here, but her ability to bare all of her vulnerabilities consistently track to track is captivating throughout. Sonically, Over It is an album brilliantly put together and an album that will be in heavy rotation for years to come. Tracks such as Potential, Nobody Else, Just Might, are as vividly potent and memorable as lead singles Stretch You Out and Playing Games.
Simply put, Over It is the complete opposite of how we are feeling about this debut album from one of R&B’s most elite artists. Furthermore, the album is a wonderful example of how the genre is heavily thriving in 2019 and here to stay.
Summer Walker recently stopped by NPR’s Tiny Desk for a truly Summer performance. Peep it below.
Robert Glasper - 'F**k Yo Feelings'
The multifaceted musician that is Robert Glasper blessed us this month with his latest project abruptly titled F**k Yo Feelings. This is a very much soulful but experimental album which sonically branches off in many directions yet manages to remain coherent. With a number of MCs, singers, and musicians— including Yasiin Bey, Herbie Hancock, Rapsody, Baby Rose Denzel Curry, and Audra Day to name a few, F**k Yo Feelings is extremely free spirited and remains organic throughout.
At its core it is very much jazz-rooted, as you would expect with anything Robert Glasper. That said, it delves into soulful variations of Hip-Hop and R&B influences throughout. The track Expectations is a prime example of this, featuring Baby Rose & Rapsody. The pair vibe majestically over a jazz infused beat making for a delightful listen and is most certainly a highlight of the album.
The Grammy Award winning musician wanted to keep the vibe and aesthetics of the album very mixtape orientated as he explains “I want this whole thing to be mixtape vibe, so when we put it together it’s like a beat here, might be a song here”. On the whole, the album does that perfectly well and is a solid example of how a multitude of sounds and artists can still cohesively create memorable moments.
Glasper delivered a documentary for the album which you should give a spin below.
Anna Wise - 'As If It Were Forever'
Despite featuring on two of the most iconic hip-hop albums to have dropped this decade (Good Kid, M.A.A.D City & To Pimp A Butterfly), the hugely versatile singer this month released her first full length album, As If It Were Forever.
No stranger to dabbling in a variety of sounds and moods, Anna Wise never fails to draw you in emotionally and this album is no exception. As If It Were Forever offers a brilliant blend of modern acoustic soul and ambient feels making for a very chilled yet heartwarming 38 minute listen. Features from the likes of Little Simz and Pink Siifu further add to the diverse sonics.
Her ability to paint vivid pictures lyrically is another brilliant weapon in Anna’s arsenal and tracks like Abracadabra and What’s Up With You? are perfect examples. The theme of As It Were Forever is an array of her dipping in and out of surreal ideals as well as blunt realities and cohesively these relatable emotions are fantastically executed.
Check out Anna Wise’s live acoustic version of the track What’s Up With You? here
Nicole Bus - 'KAIROS'
Some artists the moment they begin to sing just hit you with genuine feels and Nicole Bus is one of them. Since signing to Roc Nation in 2018, the Dutch-born soulful songstress has progressed very well with her breakout single You, becoming one of the most played tracks of 2018.
KAIROS is album jam-packed with soul, that said, there are snippets and influences of Hip-Hop based production merged throughout which mesh very well. Tracks such as Rain, Mr Big Shot, S.O.S all adhere to this theme making for a very refreshing listen. However, it is not only Hip-Hop vibes showcased in the 14 track project with reggae and elements of 90’s R&B clearly evident.
That said, it truly is the unique tones of Nicole’s voice which is simply breathtaking from start to end on KAIROS. Nicole’s descriptive ability to lyrically take you on a journey from track to track on KAIROS not only resonates but truly hits home. In a nutshell, Nicole Bus is an artist we believe you certainly need to have on your spin list.
You can also check out the visuals to the first track on the album Mr Big Shot here:
So there you have it folks! Our top pick albums from the past month. Get into our playlist of top pick tracks below. It’s the perfect work playlist.