This year has been no less than epic. There have been so many good records to come out this year that picking my top twenty albums has been the hardest thing I’ve had to do… next to studying for my microeconomics final. This year was not only been stellar in the metal world, but also in the world of non-metal. Earlier this year I remember Cody (Tentaclesworth) pointed out that this band he really enjoyed had a new album coming out. So I checked it out when it was released, and instantly knew that it would be my favorite non-metal record of the year, and possibly in recent memory.
BADBADNOTGOOD are a Canadian trio of kids (yes, none over the age of 21) who have devised a unique way to mesh jazz and the rap music they love. They are comprised of a pianist, a bassist, and drummer, which is a rather odd setup for any band. Originally rejected by their music teachers due to a lack of substance, they quickly uploaded a cover of an Odd Future song onto YouTube, where it was discovered by Odd Future member Tyler, The Creator. He loved it so much he began openly promoting it and pointing people in their direction, and eventually collaborated on one of their releases to great effect.. Regardless of what you think of his music, you can’t deny that he definitely helped them in gaining a very diverse fanbase. I can show them to fans of nearly every type of music and people can appreciate it.
Let’s start with this warning: this album is about half covers, and half originals. The band itself gained notoriety for their covers, but have stepped up to make some very memorable original songs on this record. For now, let’s talk covers. The opener to BBNG2, ‘Earl’, is a cover of the song of the same name by Odd Future artisit, Earl Sweatshirt, and features a sax solo from Leland Whitty, which I think is awesome. It’s a really great track in terms of flow and the use of the distortion that they have with the synthesizer. The album’s next covers are ‘Limit To Your Love’, which is a cover of a song by James Blake, and ‘Bastard/Lemonade’, a mashup of two songs by Odd Future. Both of these songs are great withing their own rights. The last three songs on the record are all covers, but the true standout is ‘Flashing Lights’, a Kanye West cover which is by far the best cover on the album. It’s driving, fun, and never gets too frenetic like most jazz songs can at times. But as I said earlier, the covers are only comprise half of this album.
The originals on this album are also pretty powerful, maybe even more so than the covers this time around. The originals really show how well this band can write their own stuff, like with the song ‘CHSTR’. It’s the best original track on this record, and can easily stack up to any cover the band has done in the past. The other originals can fill the void left by covers in between the first and second half of the album, and most of them are sandwiched in the middle part of the album, which is completely acceptable by my standards. I think it’s a great way to distinguish the originals from the covers, and really contrast the two types of songs. And whereas on their first record was nearly all covers, BBNG2 shows off their trio’s ability to craft beautiful pieces that mix electronica, jazz, and even some trip-hop into a great album.
Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised with this record. I figured it would just be another cover band, but what I got was something way better. Seriously, you need to check these guys out. You’d be starving yourself of great music if you didn’t, and they offer it all for free download at Bandcamp, so now you have no excuse not to check them out. Honestly, the award for best non-metal album of the year goes to BADBADNOTGOOD for BBNG2. A rather uncreative album name, but who cares? The music is fantastic. You can stream and download the entire album (and the entirety of the band’s catalog) at their official bandcamp, or through the widget below.