The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

2 Album Reviews, 1 New and 1 “New”


Taylor’s Version of “1989” Recaptures the Magic of the 2014 Pop Benchmark

“1989” has always been the Taylor Swift album I’ve gravitated toward the most. Fully realizing her pop prowess, this record is full of glamorous, bubbly bops and bangers that could even make the biggest Swift hater bob their head.

Like all of her re-recordings thus far, there are minimal changes to each track. Other than a more mature voice and different mixing levels on certain instruments, “1989” is still the album you know and love, just back in the hands of its rightful owner.

Songs like the opener “Welcome to New York,” “Out of the Woods” and even the infamous “Shake It Off” all sound substantially more spacious and chicer than their original counterparts. Though some tracks may have lost that mid 2010s pop shimmer in the process, I don’t see that as a grave issue. The whole point of these re-recordings thus far, at least to me, is to truly just regain the rights for Swift and recreate the songs with a more modern lens.

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Along with every “Taylor’s Version” so far, there are also a few “vault” or bonus tracks to accompany the original record. I can’t say any stuck out to me that much or go toe to toe with any of the standard album tracks, but they’re fun while they’re on at least. Any die hard Swiftie will defend them anyway so it’s not like I need to say much.

Everything Swift and company set out to do with “1989” was accomplished here and I’m excited to see what her plan is for the final two records she’ll redo.


My rating: Happy for Taylor Continuing to Regain Ownership of All Her Past Art/10

Sampha Returns with the Introspective and Tender “Lahai”

One of hip-hop’s favorite elusive R&B crooners Sampha is back with his first album in 6 years. Dealing in themes of time, space and fatherhood, “Lahai” is a fruitful exploration in experimental soundscapes and Sampha’s life up to this point.

“Stereo Colour Cloud (Shaman’s Dream)” and “Spirit 2.0” are a perfect pair of introductory tracks that hook you right into the gentle yet sporadic experience that is yet to unfold. “Dancing Circles” continues this heavenly trance until “Suspended” pulls you into this void of energy and suspense with layered vocals, hectic distortion and building beats. Along with the next track “Satellite Business,” these are some of my favorite moments of the entire record with just how lush and detailed the production is as well as Sampha’s captivating lyrics and vocal gymnastics. It’s like you’re watching a montage of his mind and anxieties in song form.

“Jonathan L. Seagull” and “Inclination Compass (Tenderness)” return to a more tranquil, reflective state with choir-like refrains and cascading synth and piano passages. These tracks also carry a lot of the album’s central themes of self-realization and freedom while also drawing from the allegorical fable and novella “Jonathan Livingston Seagull.”

We shift into high gear again on tracks “Only” and “Can’t Go Back.” While the former reads more as a melodic rap song with feelings of insecurity and doubt, the latter is a slightly softer meditation on Sampha’s bigger life decisions. “Evidence” details further on these themes and sees Sampha speaking indirectly to his newborn daughter, “she’s enough evidence for me.”

Closing tracks “What If You Hypnotise Me?” and “Rose Tint” wrap the record up nicely if not slightly understated. Gorgeous piano lines scatter across the former as Sampha and guest Léa Sen ask, “what if?” The two play off each other quite well on a track riddled with uncertainty and precautions. Backed by a more synth-heavy, electro-pop beat, the latter plays an epilogue-like role as Sampha still fears everything he loves could be gone in an instant, yet he is able to overcome this and live his newfound life the way he wants.

6 years after his debut, Sampha is still sounding as authentic as ever. “Lahai” is easily one of the most personal, detailed and intricate albums I’ve heard all year and I only hope that finally releasing it has given Sampha a greater sense of reassurance and ease.


My rating: 9.0/10

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About the Contributor
Eli Bland, Arts Editor

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