There’s a lot happening in the music world, and we here at Heavy Blog try our very best to keep up with it! Like the vast majority of heavy music fans, our tastes are incredibly vast, with our 3X3s in each Playlist Update typically covering numerous genres and sometimes a different style in each square. While we have occasionally covered non-metal topics in past blog posts, we decided that a dedicated column was warranted in order to more completely recommend all of the music that we have been listening to. Unmetal Monday is a bi-weekly column which covers noteworthy tracks and albums from outside the metal universe, and we encourage you all to share your favorite non-metal picks from the week in the comments. As is tradition, we’ll be highlighting a few albums and tracks that struck our fancy over the past few weeks. Head past the jump to dial down the distortion:
Run the Jewels – RTJ4
My relationship with Run the Jewels’ music has taken on a trajectory similar to most long-term economic curves. Their first release was fine, their second release was fire, their third release was decent, and (you guessed it!) their fourth release RTJ4 is an absolute triumph. In fact, it’s their best record yet. El-P and Killer Mike have here constructed their most nuanced, hard-hitting, and lyrically incisive collection of tracks yet, and it could not have come at a more appropriate time.
As always, Run the Jewels’ music and production balance futurism and past-worship in a way that feels fresh and comfortingly familiar. The beats are absolutely titanic, the melodies almost exclusively add dynamic range and power to the music, and each track feels sequenced and timed to perfection. There’s not a lot of meandering on this record, as every track feels like it has a purposeful and definitive spot on the record. But it’s the lyrical content that formulates some of the record’s most powerful moments. Killer Mike in particular raps like a man on fire, torching the police state and racial relations in the United States with a fury that can only be matched by the band’s previous music and, perhaps, the inflammatory polemics of Rage Against the Machine/One Day As a Lion’s Zack de la Rocha. It’s a deft display of the controversial emcee’s insane talent as both a lyricist and rapper, with tracks like “Yankee and the Brave (Ep. 4)” and “Walking in the Snow” presenting some of his best and most impassioned work yet.
If you liked any of the group’s previous efforts, RTJ4 gives listeners more of what they love with an extra dose of passion. It’s their best work since RTJ2 and probably their best yet. In a world in desperate need of music that echoes its rage, trepidation, and hope for the future, Run the Jewels flat-out deliver an album that not only perfectly fits our time, but all-time. A stellar release.