Milky Chance, Halsey, Ozzy Osbourne, Megan Thee Stallion

Milky Chance
Mind the Moon
(Universal Music Australia)

A quick Google search for Milky Chance shows that they are described as a folk group from Germany. I wouldn’t describe this album as folk, though. It’s much more alternative rock and electronica. Its heavy reggae influences are unusual for a group that uses many electronic elements, but the results sound excellent. The guitar melodies really set the tone. The singing style on some tracks reminds me of the Everlast song “What It’s Like.” Or if Kid Cudi dabbled in reggae music, this would be it. One of my favorites from the album, “Daydreaming,” features the non-binary Australian musician and vocalist Tash Sultana. They mesh almost too well. Other good songs are “Long Run,” “Right From Here,” and “Scarlet Paintings.” Milky Chance will tour in the United States this year, but sadly the closest show to Kansas City will be in Denver (April 28). The trip would be well worth it. 

 

Halsey
Manic

(Capitol Records)

Halsey is a musician second and a poet first. Her amazing voice helps her gain attention as a musician, but it’s her words that keep listeners’ attention. Or at least that’s true for me. She makes poems come to life as pop songs, and that is an incredible feat. She is a rare mineral among other interesting rocks, providing the depth that is sometimes lacking in pop. If you’re looking for a good pop beat with a little more of everything, Halsey is the one right now. I’m hoping she helps foster a new generation of pop artists who have a deep passion for words. My favorites are “3AM,” “Forever … (Is a Long Time)” and “You Should Be Sad.

 

Ozzy Osbourne 
“Ordinary Man” single, feat. Elton John
(Epic/Sony)

I never thought I would hear a collaboration between Elton John and Ozzy Osbourne. Their vocal stylings seem to be opposites, but somehow, beyond a doubt, they made this one work. It takes roughly a minute and a half to truly hear Elton John’s voice, but when it happens, you know exactly who it is. Elton John hits the deeper notes, and Ozzy Osbourne hits the highs in an incredible match-up. Whoever decided to combine these two powerhouse men is an absolute genius. The guitar work is stellar, as well, especially when it starts to break down near the end. It’s far more than what I expected. After this and Osbourne’s collaboration with Post Malone, I need more duets with surprising musicians. Do not ignore this one – it’s too good.

 

Megan Thee Stallion
“Diamonds” single, feat. Normani, and “B.I.T.C.H.” single
(Atlantic/Warner Bros./300 Entertainment)

Rapper and musician Megan Thee Stallion, age 24, is an exciting artist from Texas to look out for. She released her first mixtape in 2016 and her first major one in 2019. Her performance at SXSW Festival in 2018 helped her gain a good following, and that’s when I first heard her name. I have not kept up with her, but I recently heard my 22-year-old niece, Evy, talking about her. My niece is much cooler than me, and she has impeccable taste. I listen to the musicians she brings up. When I looked up Stallion, I found that she had recently released two singles. They are very different songs, but I loved both of them. I particularly became fond of “B.I.T.C.H.” for this line: “I’d rather be a B.I.T.C.H. cuz that’s what you gon’ call me when I’m tripping anyway.” Together with the melody, it was more than enough to sell me on one of the fastest-rising artists of the last two years. I’m glad I stopped ignoring Megan Thee Stallion.