The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media


This month in music: Vol. 3 (November edition)

As November nears its end, four albums among the best from this month offer something to love for everyone.
Brett Brose
The top albums of November include the likes of Joji and Nas.


Former internet personality turned musician George Miller—better known as Joji—delivers his highly anticipated third album, SMITHEREENS, as a short but sweet expansion upon his ever-developing sound. Joji divides his efforts into two halves on the record: side A details Joji’s ambitious artistic evolution towards indie-pop stardom, implementing live instrumentation and featuring hit tracks “Glimpse of Us” and “Die For You,” whereas side B reintroduces the trademark lo-fi production, with hushed vocals and fleeting track lengths, reminiscent of his early work.

The delicate keys of “Glimpse of Us” introduce Side A, lonesome against a calm stillness. Joji’s singing is a pained whisper, slow and melodic through the enormous piano. He agonizes over the loss of a past lover, fruitlessly attempting to bury his pain within the embrace of another, yet he is never able to move on. As the piano hastens and Joji’s vocals multiply into a cacophony of layers, the chorus swells in volume and emotion, Joji begging for a release of the constant reminders—glimpses into the past relationship that continues to torment him.

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Track three, “Die For You,” is an alien soundscape, dreamy keys and glistening hi-hats from outer space, oozing synths and drowned-out drums. The aqueous vocals of Joji introduce themself from within the gleam, singing hymns of past love and acceptance, the hazy effects encasing his voice morphing with the instrumental. An outro of beautifully burning electric guitar accentuates the established instruments before collapsing into a single, stinging synth, trailing off into nothingness.

Joji’s rapid rise to stardom has been a topic of long-time and new fans alike. Two established listeners and seniors of Antioch Community High School, Eric Linares and Ashton Swanson, were among some of the first to spin the new record.

Linares rated SMITHEREENS 8.3/10.

“Every song is short, simple and sweet,” Linares said. “There is not a single bad song on the album. I really respect the instrumentals on this [record].

Swanson rated SMITHEREENS 8.1/10.

“The instrumentals completely blew all of [his past work] out of the water with its level of production,” Swanson said. “[SMITHEREENS] is 25 minutes of enjoyment.”

The brief tracklist and fleeting run time can scarcely satisfy the anticipation garnered by “Glimpse of Us,” however, SMITHEREENS stands as another consistent album in Joji’s discography—an ever-growing catalog that continues to push the boundaries of what was once thought impossible from the former internet icon.

Rating: 7.8/10

Best Song: Glimpse of Us

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Kings Disease III – Nas

Legendary hip-hop veteran, Nas, completes a trilogy of Hit-Boy-produced records with the release of Kings Disease III. The trademark duo continues a legacy of unmatched quality and chemistry, coming off the back of a two-year and four-album run, consisting of the first two installments of the Kings Disease series and Nas’ 15th studio album, Magic. After a nearly 30-year career, Nas has lost little steam, sounding as hungry as ever over Hit-Boy’s sample chops and drums.

An unsettling string sample and brutal drum kit pave the way for Nas on track three, “Thun.” Memories of street life and past struggles riddle Nas’ experienced flow as he weaves between cadences. The track plays out as a tribute to Nas’ birthplace, New York, as he spits “Manhattan keeps on makin’ it, Brooklyn keeps on takin’ it, Bronx keeps creatin’ it, and Queens keeps on cakin’ it.”

Immediately after, “Michael & Quincy” pays tribute to the producer-musician duo of Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones as well as facilitates the same comparison to Nas and Hit-Boy. The beat is complete with vintage record scratches and booming drums, halting halfway through in favor of trap bass hits and a twinkling sample, Nas progressively more aggressive with his delivery.

28 years after his legendary debut Illmatic, Nas continues his campaign to go down in history as the best MC of all time. Despite his most recent work losing hints of Nas’ grit from his youth, the rapper can lean onto the implementation of expert wordplay and profound flow to curate records that continue to outshine the rest of the competition.

Rating: 8.2/10

Best Song: Thun

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And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow – Weyes Blood

Natalie Laura Mering, better known as Weyes Blood, is a classically trained vocalist and indie singer-songwriter. Her fifth studio album, And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow, acts as a conceptual sequel to the last, utilizing a rich orchestra of strings and percussion as Weyes Blood’s beautifully soft voice drifts overhead. The record is described as a vehicle for understanding the “natural cycles of life and death, all over again,” all the while incorporating poetic and existential lyrics.

Track four, “God Turned Me Into a Flower,” finds Weyes Blood retelling the myth of Narcissus, a swimming six-and-a-half minute track radiating with resonant keys and angelic hums. The song is a cinematic march through Weyes Blood’s retelling of the myth, alive with the singing of wildlife and chirping insects. Ultimately, the track acts as a social commentary towards what Weyes Blood believes to be “an age of narcissism” around the world.

The crashing of waves introduces track five, “Hearts Aglow,” a track of romance amongst uncertainty. A rich band of drums, guitar and keys honey Weyes Blood’s powerful vocals, symphonies of additional strings peeking through the cracks in the instrumental. A late, burning guitar solo ushers in a passionately belted bridge, crashing with the fear of uncertainty and the need to be loved.

Weyes Blood’s critical acclaim has quickly grabbed the attention of many listeners, ACHS senior Kelsie MacMillan being among many to dive into the rich atmosphere of the album.

MacMillan rated And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow 8.5/10.

“The first thing I noticed, especially just in the lyrics she uses, I thought it was very relaxed,” MacMillan said. “The actual instrumentals would have to be my favorite part.”

Despite the record losing some steam nearing the midpoint of the tracklist, Weyes Blood ties the ribbon on And In Darkness, Hearts Aglow with a satisfying cohesion. The poems embedded within her songs come to life amongst the instrumentals as the songwriter continues to entice listeners with neatly constructed themes and masterfully performed concepts. 

Rating: 8.9/10

Best Song: Hearts Aglow

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I Didn’t Mean To Haunt You – Quadeca 

22-year-old internet personality and musician, Quadeca, possesses one of the most mystifying artistical evolutions of his generation with the release of his third studio album, I Didn’t Mean To Haunt You. The record is a carefully crafted and expertly told macabre tale of death and the afterlife, Quadeca singing from the perspective of a ghost throughout the album’s entire 58 minutes; each track is dedicated to an intimate moment in time, each building upon the next.

An otherworldly and gentle guitar introduces the lead single “born yesterday,” riddled with static and glitched-out effects that show Quadeca peeking through the spirit realm—his voice subdued and buried beneath a layer of haze. The narrative woven between the opening tracks establishes that the protagonist’s death is the result of suicide, and “born yesterday” is the ghostly observation of grief and trauma left behind in the wake. Through the lyrics, Quadeca watches on from the afterlife as his loved ones battle with the reality of the situation, lingering regretfully before accepting the results of his decision.

Track nine, “fantasyworld,” opens with a desolate, menacingly deep piano, Quadeca’s voice stripped of any effects, soft and subtle. The seven-minute song serves as a flashback to Qaudeca’s life—before the death of his album’s persona. Pained whispers detail feelings of inadequacy and the desire to escape from the oppressive facets of life, eventually describing the efforts carried out to do so. For the vivid representations of Quadecas internal battle, “fantasyworld” plays out as the album’s most important track, a raw look into mental health struggles and the tragedies that threaten to transpire as a result.

I Didn’t Mean To Haunt You saw Qaudeca taking an immense risk, venturing far outside the style that he has garnered his fanbase from; however, the result of this artistic leap shows his most sonically expansive and conceptually ambitious project yet.

Rating: 9.4/10

Best Song: fantasyworld

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About the Contributor
Brett Brose
Brett Brose, Tom Tom Staff
Brett Brose is a senior that has been on staff for three years. He enjoys reading, listening to and playing music in his free time. He spends most of his money on records, books and coffee. Brose especially loves to write about music, as well as work on creative writing projects of his own.
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