Each month ‘Refrain’ delivers its verdict on some of the best albums out now.

Troye Sivan: Something To Give Each Other


Troye Sivan keeps maturing with the release of his third album, Something To Give Each Other. Following the love-struck and romantic bliss of his 2018 record Bloom, Sivan tells the story of what happens when romance ends in his new record. The delicate synths and transparent pop lyrics of Bloom give way to erotic sampling and lavish descriptions of the break-up period within Something To Give Each Other. This natural evolution of time positions Sivan as a master of expressing the dynamic experience of singleness. Opening with the lead track, Rush is a declaration of the sexual confidence Sivan feels in this time of his life. This personal experimentation is perfectly demonstrated throughout the production of the album. Highlighted in the vocoder chorus of One Of Your Girls and the use of falsetto in Silly, Sivan crafts a new path for himself. One which has confronted the harshness of single life and come out of it more glamorous and awakened than ever     


Bad Bunny: Nadie Sabe Lo Que Va a Pasar Mañana (Nobody Knows What Will Happen Tomorrow) 


Bad Bunny (Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio) rides the wave of his success on his fifth studio album, Nadie Sabe Lo Que Va a Pasar Mañana (Nobody Knows What Will Happen Tomorrow). By embracing his earlier musical roots, Benito delivers a collection of songs thematically focused and undeniably hilarious in their delivery. Like the pull back of a curtain, the album opens with the cinematic NADIE SABE where Benito addresses feelings of loneliness and complexities with fame. As the record progresses, these feelings are replaced by ones of boastfulness and sexual innuendo. The braggadocious persona Benito puts on serves as a comedic arch throughout the album but relinquishes his ability to critically analyse his fame. It’s almost like he dismisses his reflective side to usher in a goofy and cavalier way of living in the moment. One which is intoxicated with the presence of success but undervalues the burden it creates. Nadie Sabe Lo Que Va a Pasar Mañana, is a look into the youth of fame. It’s opportunities and the glistening beautiful world it supports. But what happens tomorrow? What will happen when youth fades? Benito bookmarks this with the final song UN PREVIEW. A dedication to his fans, he is aware of the fleeting moment in which he is currently involved  


Taylor Swift: 1989 (Taylor’s Version) 


Taylor Swift invites us to revisit her pop bible and first true strike at reinvention with the re-release of 1989 (Taylor’s Version). However, the record is both a hit and a miss. In some tracks Swift is able to capture the encompassing bliss of nostalgia that takes you back to 2014, but some feel like an AI generated cover on TikTok. There are nonetheless highlights of the record which hark back to the importance these re-records have in breathing fresh air into Swift’s discography. Whether it’s through the heightened production quality of Clean, the addition of extra drum patterns on Wonderland or the explosive roar of the lyric “and we run” on I Know Places, Swift flexes her Midas touch of crafting pop perfection. However, the biggest hits off the record fail to compare to the magnificence of the original. Songs like Blank Space and Style especially feel hollow and almost Kidz Bop in nature. The stand outs amongst the vault tracks are those which employ ’80s pop influences such as Now That We Don’t Talk, Suburban Legends and Is It Over Now? The vault tracks themselves do however feel like an extension of her work on her 10th studio album Midnights (2022). This highlights the tricky balance Swift needs to consider when releasing the rest of her re-records. To not spoil the magic of the original sounds of her albums with the production style she is currently influenced by would be Swift’s greatest challenge moving forward   

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