A “DAMN.”, “Quartet” and “Sound from the Bench” review

The Pulitzer Prize for Music was awarded to Kendrick Lamar, with Michael Gilbertson and Ted Hearne as finalists. Here’s a review of their music

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The cover of DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar

“DAMN.” – The album was released by rapper Kendrick Lamar in 2017 and earned him a Pulitzer in 2018, making him the first rapper to win a Pulitzer Prize for Music. “DAMN.” is full of powerful storytelling, amazing lyrics, stellar production. While “To Pimp a Butterfly” was jazzy, sophisticated, and dense; “DAMN.” is lean and straightforward. “DNA” is one of the best tracks on the album, with aggressive delivery, amazing beat and so much more. An engaging listen, “DAMN.” fully deserves its Pulitzer.

“Quartet” – Iowan Michael Gilbertson composed this in 2017 in response to the 2016 presidential election, and it’s amazing. The first movement starts with swelling chords that sound almost electric, and that leads into comforting, soft music. There are a variety of different emotions in the movements, from comforting to delicate.

 

“Sound from the Bench” – While most songs on this five-movement cantata aren’t songs you would sing in the shower, they’re still amazing songs. They’re filled with emotion and anguish, and use real recordings from various real life situations (One recording came from the Steubenville High School rape court case) along with electric guitar. The songs are eclectic and the textures are beautiful.

 

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