Moser’s Monthly Music Roundup – Vol. 1

Parks Moser



RENAISSANCE [2022] is Beyoncé’s seventh solo album, eleventh in total. The album is, as most of her recent work, a love letter to black culture. An homage to house music, a genre [of many] stolen from black individuals, and claimed by white people. What started as the child of disco, for queer people, by queer people, became the soundtrack to partying white girls with nothing better to do than cry and dance. The album is a sonic shift from her previous work, which was mainly pop, and the occasional R&B. High energy dance songs like COZY that have samples of TS Madison, trans black activist, and Beyoncé mentioning every color of the progressive pride flag, or BREAK MY SOUL which also feature icons like Big Freedia, who is also a trans black woman. They show that her sound is new and improved and Beyoncé has a message; queer black people have been here forever, and are not going anywhere. Beyoncé is on a mission to reclaim the genre, whilst reinventing it in the process. She has solidified herself as the visionary, and the muse all at the same time. 


JAGUAR by Victoria Monet


You may not have heard of Monét, but I’m sure you’ve heard Monét. 34+35 by Ariana Grande, and Do It by Chloe x Halle were all written by Monét, among many others. JAGUAR is no different. JAGUAR [2020] is Victoria Monét’s fourth album, on which she has writing credits on every single song. The album is deeply personal, detailing Monét’s love life in such a way listeners feel as though they have fallen in love as well. Monét’s writing is so prolific, her music feels like a novel. The album feels like a collection of love letters. Additionally, the flawless production help this as well, as each song’s different production helps perpetuate the story. Like in Dive, a song about sex, the sound of a creaky mattress is used. It is utterly genius. This album is so well thought out and articulated, Monét definitely put all of her JAGUAR in this. 


Back To Black by Amy Winehouse


Back to Black [2006] is Amy Winehouse’s second album, and her last album before her unfortunate passing. The album, even before her passing, was considered a classic, and has stood the test of time. The album is Winehouse’s magnum opus, and forever will be legendary. I do not say that lightly, the album has a legacy preceding and following it. The album’s theme is over her tumultuous relationship with her then ex-boyfriend, future husband. It touches on depression, grief, and infidelity. Winehouse’s soulful voice singing the hard hitting lyrics over the jazz pop is utter perfection, and really helps sell the theme. Take for example Some Unholy War. Winehouse sings about her undying commitment to her partner, despite his addictions and mental health issues. In the first verse, she sings “If my man was fightin’ some unholy war” but in the third she sings “Yes, yes, my man’s fightin’ some unholy war”, showing that her partner is for sure now struggling, and she’ll stand by him nonetheless. On the worse side of her relationship, look at Love Is A Losing Game. Winehouse compares her regret and trauma of her past relationship, to a game of no winners. The lyrics are simple, but very powerful all the same. Winehouse sings “Till the chips were down / Know you’re a gambling man / Love is a losing hand” showing that when the chips were down, he didn’t take their relationship seriously, and continued to play games. Additionally, Winehouse proves not only how eloquent she is, but just how smart she is. The song has no chorus. The song is so well written, it isn’t even needed. This was a ballsy move for the 2000s, but it just goes to show how smart and legendary Winehouse was. Her death was, and will forever be, one of the biggest losses to the music industry. She will forever be missed, and her impact will always be felt.


K.T.S.E. by Teyana Taylor


K.T.S.E (Keep That Same Energy) [2018] is Teyana Taylor’s second album. The album was Taylor’s comeback to music after her television career, and starting a family. The album follows several themes of love, sex, and Taylor’s career. K.T.S.E. was produced by Kanye West (which is the only gripe I have with this fantastic project). Most every song has a sample, and West and Taylor know when to go all in, and when to step back. Like on Issues/Hold On, it is a stripped back acoustic song, but with the laser sounds and airy backing vocals, it shows the strugglers of her relationship. She has demons, but still loves her man all the same, with all her heart. The laser sounds help illustrate the chaos behind her deep love. On the other theme of the album, Taylor’s coming up, Never Would Have Made It is a stand out track. It is the mark of a great artist when a song can be applied to so many different situations. The song is a dedication to those who helped her rise to fame, but could be applied to an appreciation of your romantic relationship. Or, for me, it reminds me of how much my friends have helped me through the darkest moments of my life, and everytime I hear it, I tear up a little. Taylor is one of the most influential women in modern R&B, yet the most uncredited in the field. She has paved, decorated, and remodeled the way for so many people in the genre. This album is more than proof that Taylor deserves her flowers. By the ton. 

Also, W.T.P is one of the gayest songs ever and forever needs mentioned. That song is legendary. Memed but also a classic in the ballroom and club scene.


After Laughter by Paramore



After Laughter (2017) is their fifth album, after their four-year releasing hiatus. The album was a large shift for them as they ditched pop punk and alt rock, for a synth-pop and new wave sound, in contrast to the darker lyrical content. The album is inspired by lead singer Hayley Williams’ public divorce, and touches on themes of depression, anxiety, and exhaustion. Every single track is a stand out. One of the most well known songs is probably the most After Laughtery of all the songs; Fake Happy. The song is about Williams’ real emotions under her bubbly facade, and that she is glad others feel the same way. The dark lyrics over the bubbly synths is a work of art, which is just what After Laughter is. Another stand out track, and my personal favorite is 26. It is an acoustic song on the synth album, but it still matches the theme and is a fantastic track. It is the one raw song that doesn’t hide in pop melodies. It is about keeping your hopes and dreams alive, and is a loose antithesis to their hit track Brick by Boring Brick. The song is the perfect happy-cry-end of nervous breakdown-“everything is okay” song. Its instrumentals are stripped, and Williams sounds so raw, and purposeful. It is a perfect song, and album. The album is one of my biggest comfort albums, even if it came out at my lowest point in life. It saved my life, and is my favorite album in history.


*The scoring system was based on skips. The percentage is the portion of the album that is not skipped.