I was going to ask why no one tagged me in this thread, but I went to the very first post and saw the bestie Jonathan tagged me from the very start ddd.
I don't know how Amaarae keeps slipping under my radar. I liked what I heard of her last album, and well, Fountain Baby is so good. How did she just come out of nowhere and do exactly what I wanted Janelle to do?! Damn. This production is so pristine, colorful, vibrant, and her approach is consistently creative. The strings and live instrumentation peppered throughout really add a little extra something.
When I tell you each song had something that triggered the dopamine receptors in my brain...
This album is an instant album of the year contender. I've loved everything she's done but this is on another level. The production is exquisite with the dreamy atmosphere permeating most of it, backed by the recurring string section, and also the way it ebbs and flows without losing any momentum at any point... or even being boosted during the riot grrrl inspired tune in the middle. Such a rush! I can't get enough of the angelic quality in her voice all throughout this thing too. I hope this will make her be on more people's radar because this is incredible stuff.
This is insanely good and definitely one of my albums of the year.
Her voice is immaculate, the melodies are entrancing, the lyricism is funny and poignant, the production is world-building, and all the influences that pulse through the album are marvelous (when the Clipse sample arrived mid-album I ascended - THE TASTE!). Truly genius work.
I gotta say, this album frightens me a bit. The first half is excellent. It's extremely playful and Amaarae commands your attention with her very catchy hooks and plenty of details in the production that make Fountain Baby a very interesting and exciting record from the get-go. But the run from "Wasted Eyes" to "Come Home To God"? It's ruthless. I refuse to believe that a human mind is able to create music that sounds like this. It both feels ethereal and – excuse my language but I just can't find another way to word it – fuckin' bangs all at the same time. "Counterfeit" is insane. This level of creativity feels unparalleled. I'm sorry because I don't know Amaarae personally, but let me tell you: she is sick for making this album and I'm scared of the greatness that might ensue.
Cannot stop thinking about how @enjoy mentioned Counterfeit being like an In the Zone B side, he spilled!
Pitchfork's write-up was great, I love how they singled out the line in Come Home to God: "If I had the world, I still would end it all", it such a perfect mission statement to conclude her scorched earth lyricism across the album.
@Jonathan27 ’s early assessment that this would feel like a sister to Sudan Archive’s Natural Brown Prom Queen somehow heels even more accurate now the album’s actually here.
The sort of record that refuses to reveal all of its cards well into its lifespan with the amount of seemless shifting it pulls off between genres and styles - I thought Kelela and Caroline had this year in the bag but I’d be shocked if this doesn’t end up a front runner for me come December.