Album: Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides
In June 2018, The Glasgow-born, LA-based producer/singer SOPHIE released her highly anticipated debut album, “Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides”.
Beginning with a call for vulnerability on “It’s Okay To Cry.” SOPHIE’s heartfelt whispers speak to the soul. The initial setting of the tracklist combines sweet pop melodies and sounds, with absolutely mind-numbing noises — grinding, clanking, blaring, burbling, blurting, unpleasant and jarring sounds, wildly auto-tuned voices — to create a form of pop music that, if not entirely new, may never before have been presented in such extreme fashion.
The rest of the album sometimes explores painful, often joyous themes of gender and femininity, particularly “Faceshopping” and “Pony Boy”. As a producer, she uses traditional pop structures and turns them on their head. The remix brings the album to new heights and wraps them in the sexuality and the euphoria of club culture. By plumbing the depths of the original material’s bizarre beauty, SOPHIE’s collaborators deliver a truly wild ride taking the freedom of self-determined gender expression onto the dancefloor.
SOPHIE is breathtakingly self-aware of her unique position in music and owns every bit of it. From ‘Is it Cold’ down to ‘Pretending’, she transitions into this limitless world of glittering bells, screeching, and distorted vocals. Everything feels new, but nothing feels underprepared.
Album: Flower Boy by Tyler, The Creator
Released in July 2017, Flower Boy is the fourth studio album by American rapper Tyler, the Creator. Flower Boy is by far the most introspective album of his career.
Containing key lyric references, real-life parallels, and running motifs intricately woven together to create a story of self-discovery, the narrative forms the spine of the record. The running garden and flower motifs represent Tyler’s personal growth and often tie in with lyrics that allude to his sexuality.
He raps about driving away from his problems and fears, almost crashing, switching gears, and touches on what owning a car means to him outside of getting somewhere from a materialistic perspective. The album’s figurative and literal centerpiece is “Garden Shed,” an inward-looking sexual awakening turning a lengthy metaphor into a watershed moment. “Tell these black kids they can be who they are,” he raps on “Where This Flower Blooms,” as he grows into the artist he’s always longed to be, and perhaps always had been. After deciding to directly come out about “kissing white boys” in this album, Tyler’s been at peace and Flower Boy mimics that.
Flower Boy is honest, gentle, liberating, full of emotion, and just pure magic. With only a couple of hard-hitting tracks, the majority of the album is like a trance, a hypnotic yet blissful trance.
Podcast: Dragon’s Reign
Dragon’s Reign is an eccentric fictional tale which was released in 2019 read aloud by its author Raythe Reign. This is one of her most prominent works amongst others.
Raythe Reign weaves a mystical realm of shifters and spirits into existence that captivates the listeners with its humour-filled antics, unexpected conundrums, near-death experiences and a hauntingly beautiful love story. The shifters are evolved from humans when they are possessed by spirits that deem them worthy. The immortal shifters extend to variegated forms such as bees, sphinxes and werewolves, but dragon shifters are the rarest and formidable of them all. As a result of years of war, the eight existing dragon shifters have claimed control over the entire world.
The plot revolves around the mundane Caden Bryce, who would rather sell dragon plushies than turn into a dragon-shifter. But when Caden’s unforeseen act of heroism succeeds in ensnaring the attention of a spirit, he transforms into a white dragon with a gift to splutter destructive streams of fire. The dragon king Valerious is none too pleased to find a ninth dragon galavanting about his territory without his consent. One battle and a misunderstanding later, Valerious is both befuddled and stupefied to find that Caden desires nothing but his old life. Furthermore, Caden’s world comes crashing down when he uncovers that he was meant as a mate for one amongst the eight dragon-shifters, and Cades’s chosen one would be the most powerful dragon ever to prevail.
With the two protagonists blending their dramatic personalities, the podcast conveys a plethora of emotions. It is intriguing to note that the plot features not only a queer romance but also a broken society with prejudices, misconceptions and fallacies, much like our own.
Moreover, the half an hour episodes are more than riveting when the author’s enunciated elocutions and innovations are immaculate. Love is a matter of the heart rather than form, and Dragon’s Reign portrays that truth incessantly.