1st Listen Reviews (4/12): Rico Nasty, Rina Sawayama, Snoop Dogg & Helsinki Lambda Club

Welcome to a new segment on the blog that I’m definitely not gonna give up on! These articles will be a compilation of mini 1st-listen album reviews (regardless if they’re old or new) that I do on Twitter, just so my readers here won’t miss out on the content that do over there.

I’m keeping it short for the first edition, so read on for my quick thoughts on these 4 albums.


Rico Nasty – Nightmare Vacation

I don’t really want to typecast Rico Nasty as this loud, angry female rapper but Nightmare Vacation really makes it hard for me to not do so.

First off, the singles were a horrendous buildup to this album and I’m glad half of them aren’t on here. I went in with expectations of getting an equal mix of her Sugar Trap and Nasty styles, which left me pretty worried since I wasn’t a huge fan of her mainstream/singing-heavy sound.

However, most of the album is filled with the aggressive energy I’ve come to love, which unfortunately makes the pop-leaning tracks sound that much weaker. They’re just not as engaging as mad Rico can be.

Still, the album largely feels like a continuation of what she’s done on Nasty and Anger Management. More of the same, but I’m not complaining since I was still genuinely surprised by how good this was.

It’s a cool debut album that showcases Rico’s depth, even if ends being a mixed bag in terms of quality.


Rina Sawayama – SAWAYAMA (Deluxe)

Deluxe editions don’t usually blow expectations out of the water, and the SAWAYAMA deluxe is no exception.

Half of the songs we’ve heard before if you’ve been keeping up with her output. The other half is a cool look into the B-sides of what could have been.

But that’s just what they are B-sides. “We Out Here” and “Bees & Honey” pale in comparison to the original album, and if anything, shows how great SAWAYAMA is.

The acoustic covers are great for fans but don’t really hold much depth either.

All in all it’s just a usual deluxe edition affair.


Snoop Dogg – R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece

I honestly thought of giving this album a listen cause of his hilarious commentary job during the Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr fight. I’m glad to say that I was pleasantly surprised by how good this album was.

Doggystyle and Bush were the only Snoop album I’ve heard before this, which coincidentally, is what R&G sounds like a fusion off. A mix of G-funk and soul elements gives R&G severe whiplash, but when an individual song hits, it hits.

I just wish the album wasn’t so long since it loses steam way before the album reaches the final song. Cut the record down to about 12 songs though, Snoop could have had a classic on his hands.

Still it’s the 3rd best Snoop album I’ve heard but I guess that’s not saying much lol.


Helsinki Lambda Club – Eleven plus two/Twelve plus one

Ok so my first introduction to Helsinki Lambda Club was through 2018’s Tourist, which I thought was one of the best indie rock albums I’ve heard that year.

Eleven Plus Two/Twelve Plus One doesn’t quite reach those heights, even if it does maintain the same upbeat rock elements that I adored previously. Pleasantly surprised by the addition of some math rock inspired tracks too though.

I guess the main drawback I have with the record is the weak choruses and hooks. The explosiveness that I expected isn’t really here. Instead it’s replaced by laidback, though often, endearingly sweet performances.

It’ll probably take me a couple more listens to warm up to this album, but I’m lukewarm with it so far.


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