March Madness, More Like New Music Madness

Caption: A plethora of star-studded artists have started 2024 off with a bang with their highly anticipated new albums.

Have you been keeping up with the music scene these past couple months? If not, don’t sweat it. The first couple months of 2024 have started off pretty slow in terms of new releases, until March flew in like a tornado and just like that, we already have some strong contenders for Album of the Year on our hands.

There has been an influx of new albums in the past month from major music hotshots we all know and (most of us) love. But the real question is: Are they bops or are they flops? Let’s dive into some of these hot new releases together and see what your fellow peers had to say about them.

  1. Cowboy Carter by Beyoncé

Caption: Album cover for Beyoncé’s “Cowboy Carter”.

Starting off strong, we have the already history-making Cowboy Carter by R&B superstar turned country music icon Beyoncé. Released on March 29th, this is the artist’s eighth full-length studio album, serving as the second act to a three-act project that started with Renaissance: the dance/house album that took the world by storm (and its money as well, those tour prices were something insane.)

So far, Cowboy Carter has scored Beyoncé her eighth No. 1 debut on the Billboard Hot 200 albums chart. Even more impressive, it has also debuted No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums, making Beyoncé the first black woman in history to ever touch the top of this chart, which was established as far back as 1964. Like I said, barely a week yet and history’s already been made.

Beyoncé has proclaimed this album as a response to “an experience that I had years ago where I did not feel welcomed… and it was very clear that I wasn’t,” according to the caption of a March 19th post on her Instagram account. She seems to be referring to an incident at the 2016 Country Music Association Awards where Beyoncé’s performance of “Daddy Lessons” off her Lemonade album was met with racism both from the crowd as well as online. Beyonce then went on to describe how this experience led her to deeply study the history of country music and the impact of black artists in this genre.

Despite this, Beyoncé also proclaimed in the same IG post that this album is NOT a country album. It’s a Beyoncé album. But how does this statement hold up? Are listeners who aren’t fans of country music still able to enjoy this album?

“I feel like people who don’t really listen to country would really love this album because Beyoncé can turn something you hate into something you love,” says high school senior and Beyoncé superfan Natane Dorma. “It’s a thing that she alone can do and I haven’t seen another artist even try. She knows her listener base isn’t too familiar with country so she put in aspects of pop, R&B, soul and rap, so it could be something new and fresh with a hint of familiarity.”

So there you have it, folks. It isn’t exactly a country album, but a blend of plenty of different genres that bring something everyone can enjoy in a way that only Beyoncé Knowles-Carter can achieve.

Adding to the unique blend of sounds on this album are the different artists Beyoncé has curated as features on this album. Cowboy Carter boasts collaborations from greats like Jon Batiste, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Stevie Wonder, Miley Cyrus, and more.

“I feel like the features on the album were very thought out,” says Natane. “I felt like their voices and their tones matched so perfectly and they made the message Beyonce tells even more powerful.”

So all in all, Beyoncé has done it again, creating yet another refreshing and successful album filled with hits and proving all the haters who said she didn’t belong in country loud and wrong. Let’s just hope the Academy doesn’t snub her once again next year (IYKYK).

Anyways, go stream Cowboy Carter! Yeehaw!

  1. TYLA by Tyla

Caption: Album cover for Tyla’s TYLA.

Bursting onto the scene with her sultry South African flair and hypnotizing dance moves, Tyla has truly come into the music industry like a tornado. After capturing the hearts of many with her smash hit “Water”, the artist has left many waiting to see whether she will be a one-hit-wonder or if she’s truly here to stay. Well, here’s our answer: the March 22 release of her self-titled debut album TYLA.

The sound of this album is a new and refreshing blend of amapiano and contemporary R&B. The fast-paced, dance-worthy African beats and Tyla’s smooth, buttery voice come together to elevate both genres, creating something the mainstream music scene hasn’t yet seen or truly appreciated. It’s a true match made in music heaven.

The album boasts collaborations from a wide variety of artists in different genres like afrobeats queen Tems, dancehall artist Skillibeng, Latin pop singer Becky G, and more. There were a lot of very experimental collaborations on this album that I know myself and others weren’t expecting to enjoy as much as we did.

“She did a song with Becky G and I was like… what? Like, I didn’t expect it,” says TAEHS senior and president/founder of BSU Angica Allonce. “But I’m not gonna lie, the song was really tough. Gunna and Skillibeng is something that I didn’t think that they would personally slide on, but they did eat!”

Despite all the love for Tyla and this new album, critics did have some things to say about the repetitiveness of some of its songs. While Tyla’s sound is definitely something fun and fresh many haven’t heard before, it loses a lot of that freshness when it becomes the same focal point over and over in nearly every song.

“Half of the songs, I feel like she starts the songs the same and you just hear the same beat that was also in Water,” says Angica. “So it’s like, why would I listen to this song over Water, you get what I’m saying?”

So what’s the verdict? How does this album cement Tyla’s first impressions as a new artist in the industry? What does this mean for her career going forward?

“I feel like Tyla is really giving island gyal, baddie gyal, hashtag “you ain’t never seen a girl from Jo’burg” but she gave it to us!” Angica says. “She really is putting her hood on the map. Like, I don’t think people understand- Johannesburg, South Africa is really that city and she’s really putting it on the map right now. I’m just really happy that Tyla wasn’t a one hit wonder, especially after she dropped out of college.”

Big up, Johannesburg! Thanks for giving us this bad new bombshell Tyla and I’m sure I speak for most of us when I say I’m very excited to see how her sound evolves in the future and over the course of her career.

  1. We Don’t Trust You by Future and Metro Boomin

Caption: Album cover for Future and Metro Boomin’s “We Don’t Trust You.”

To close things out, we have “We Don’t Trust You”, the newest full-length release from hip-hop icons Future and Metro Boomin. This album, released on March 22nd, is the first half of a set of two collaborative albums from the artists. The upcoming second part “We Still Don’t Trust You” is set to be released this Friday, April 12th. 

The hype around hip-hop collabs in the past years has been nothing short of electric, and Future and Metro Boomin are no strangers to it. They’ve each had their respective fair share of such collaborations: Future’s “What A Time To Be Alive” mixtape with Drake, and Metro Boomin’s “Savage Mode II” with 21 Savage. The latter, especially, has a lot of momentum to live up to with this release. After his 2022 solo release “Heroes & Villains” and his electrifying 2023 soundtrack for “Spiderman: Across the Spider-Verse,” it’s safe to say that many expect this newest release of his to be just as much of a firecracker as the last have.

That is why, despite being a nice album showcasing a great dynamic between these two hip-hop greats, We Don’t Trust You just seems to fall short of that exciting red-hot energy many fans expected from such a collaboration. Numerous critics have pointed out that the quality seems to be very inconsistent throughout the album, as well as the fact that many of the album’s songs feel rather repetitive.

“Obviously, there’s some songs that sound the same as others,” says TAEHS senior Adrianna Singh. “I feel like with artists like that, a lot of their songs start to sound repetitive, y’know? But there are some songs that I liked, and I feel like it was put together well.”

Despite the inconsistencies, the majority of the hip-hop community does still seem to be regarding this as a pretty decent project and many fans have proclaimed their love for various songs on the album.

“I actually liked ‘Slimed In’ because it sounds like Young Thug, and I like Young Thug a lot,” says Adrianna. “And ‘Type S***’, I feel like it goes with the trends because a lot of people who listen to Playboi Carti and stuff would like that.”

Another song that the Internet has especially seemed to love is “Like That.” This song is arguably the most popular off of the album, thanks to a highly captivating and highly controversial feature from none other than rap legend Kendrick Lamar. The ruthless shots fired at Drake and J. Cole (but mostly Drake) in this verse have created massive buzz for an album that otherwise likely would not have garnered so much attention. (You heard the man- it’s just big him!) 

All in all, “We Don’t Trust You” definitely has some gems on it and is for sure worth a listen. By the time you’re reading this, the second installment of this collaboration, “We Still Don’t Trust You,” will already have been released on all platforms. Here’s to hoping they blessed us with bangers after bangers in this new release! Until then, thanks for tuning in to my deep dive of the hottest new albums dropped in March 2024!

Leah Jarvis

Hey guys! My name is LJ and I am a current senior in the web & app development track here at TAEHS. I write for the opinions section on the Edison Light. Besides journalism, I am also a fan of fashion, graphic design, art, and poetry. I like to say I’m a pretty analytical person, but I am forever a creative and a daydreamer at my core. I’m so excited to share my articles with all of you throughout this year. You can count on me to keep it real!