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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Seasonal retrospective: the best releases of winter 2024

Seasonal retrospective: the best releases of winter 2024

Even with the remnants of a powerful blizzard shining white and packed up to the knees outside, the calendar says 2024 has turned into spring, and the winter proper has passed once again. In the music industry, the first quarter of the year saw the end of five-year long hiatuses for cornerstone artists, the continuation of fruitful periods of creativity for others and some notable debuts for compelling new talents. As a parting gift to the season from The Mac Weekly, here are seven albums from winter 2024 that must be given their flowers before Beyonce and Taylor Swift take over the airwaves in April, presented in no particular order. 

Mannequin Pussy -“I Got Heaven” 

The word ‘rollicking’ means “exuberantly lively and amusing,” and Mannequin Pussy’s unkempt and unleashed record from the end of February could not capture that definition any better if it tried. Lead singer Marisa Dabrice taps into a dual state of fiery desire and chilling despair that sounds like a prime 90s alt-grunge cut from the very beginning. The female trio plus one (bassist Colins ‘Bear’ Regisford) dominates with thorough songwriting on tracks like “I Got Heaven,” “Loud Bark” and “Softly.” 

Faye Webster, “Underdressed at the Symphony”

Atlanta’s very own indie/country double threat delivers a follow-up to 2021’s “I Know I’m Funny haha” that’s just as idyllic and drowsy with enhanced instrumentation that she had employed prior to her “Car Therapy Sessions” in 2022. It’s not an over-the-top symphonic story as the title would suggest, but more akin to a backstage breakdown, as she sings her heart out to feelings of romantic confusion and her usual niche interests like on “Lego Ring” and “eBay Purchase History.” The recognizable southern sweetness of her music is present as always and will be perfect for any spring rotation; a perfect soundtrack to activities such as lazily blowing dandelions and picking petals from flowers.

ScHoolboy Q – “Blue Lips”

The five years the Top Dawg Entertainment label’s wild card made fans wait was more than worth the patience, and would have been worth some extra. Q returns with an album that is easily the most inspired mainstream rap release in recent history and breathes new life into a genre that had been losing steam ever since its older generation started to step back from the limelight. He doesn’t miss any aspect of his craft — needling together veteran wisdom, creative flows, songs that bump out the window like “THank god 4 me” and songs that feel good laying back like “oHio.” The Los Angeles-based rapper proves again why people return time and time again for his legendary label’s guarantee of quality with a personal statement that is as raw as they come.

MGMT – “Loss of Life”

It’s been well known ever since the sterling success of “Oracular Spectacular” and more recent “Little Dark Age” that this duo is not to be ignored; after six years they emerge with a relevant reflection on the state of things in 2024 that prove why they are of a Hall & Oates and Tears for Fears-tier lineage. They speak on everything from the continued environmental crisis on “Mother Nature” to rising misanthropy on “Bubblegum Dog” to a borderline cry for help on “Nothing Changes.” The songwriting avoids overstylization in trade for reliable structures and recognizable synths — and it pays off. It’s regretful, full of sorrow and quite lovely overall. If you’re looking for something that captures a wintry vibe into a softer spring, look no further.

Kali Uchis – “Orquídeas”

Completing her promise to fans for another duology of one English language album and one Spanish language album, she pairs 2023’s “Red Moon In Venus” with “Orquídeas,” and proves once again why the Colombian-American bilingual specialist is the most interesting project curator in the world right now. Since the title means ‘orchids,’ a flower that blooms in early spring, there has never been a better time to indulge in its flowery aesthetic. As has come to be expected of Uchis, she celebrates genres across the Spanish language musical tradition, reaching reggaeton heights on “Muñekita” and producing vintage merengue on “Dame Beso // Muévete.” She additionally delivers, as per her usual course, another international pop hit with “Igual Que Un Ángel,” that attaches a standout Peso Pluma feature with some addictive vocal work. Uchis is brilliant and empowering without reservation and casually supplies another essential project as if nothing could be easier for her.

Bruiser Wolf – “My Story Got Stories”

In an era of rap where the former locational specialties of individual American cities have mostly dissipated into a homogeneous staleness, Detroit continues to retain a roaring personality and no one exemplifies this better than Bruiser Wolf. With raunchy, outrageous punchlines and the signature segmented flows of the Motor City, the genuinely funny MC shines on new tracks like “G’z & Hustlaz,” “Let the Young Boys Eat” and “Looney Tunes,” bringing forward a sound that can be classified as anything but boring. “My Story Got Stories” is a modern underground rap grand slam that combines free-spirited beats with memorable bars, and the 42 year old rapper is as fresh as ever.

The Last Dinner Party – “Prelude to Ecstasy”

Although there have been plenty of quality albums to go around in the winter of 2024, nothing reached higher heights than this all-female indie rock quintet’s debut. “Prelude to Ecstasy” catapults them instantly into the conversation of the most exciting new bands of the decade with over-the-top romantic power ballads, unabashed glam rock influence, anthems of femininity and downright heart-wrenching explorations of fighting back for your dignity. The singles that previewed the project last year, “Sinner” and the wildly energetic “Nothing Matters” continue to be examples of well-formed cadences that deserve to be heard live to really represent their excellence. Adding to this is “Burn Alive,” a track reminiscent of prime Siouxsie and the Banshees, cinematic levels of tragedy in “Portrait of a Dead Girl” and frustration with the norms on “Beautiful Boy.” No song is a waste or a filler; the album truly is the winter’s most wonderful surprise and will no doubt be worth listening to again and again for the entire year.

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