Every month, ‘The Critic’s Chair’ writers will be making their picks on what you should keep your eyes out for. Here are our selections for October…
Critic: Dan Starkey
Pick: Brockhampton – Iridescence
All-American boyband/hip-hop collective/marketing team/production house/force of nature Brockhampton follow up the success of last year’s Saturation trilogy with their major label debut. Iridescence is far sparser and more industrial in its production than the group’s previous projects. The collective’s members (Kevin Abstract, Joba, Matt Champion, Bearface, Dom McLennon, Merlyn Wood et al.) flow aggressively enough to satisfy even the most hardcore of hip-hop heads on tracks like ‘J’ouvert’, ‘Vivid’ and ‘Where the Cash at’. Simultaneously, the group’s more melodic side also shines on cuts such as ‘Thug Life’. But the project’s highest heights are reached in the moments in which there exists a perfect balance between these moods, with ‘Weight’ and ‘Tonya’ being essential listening for any of those who want to quickly dip their toes in the water. In doing so, you will see that Brockhampton could well be the next big thing in music – let alone hip-hop.
Critic: Matt Evans
Pick: Flintoff, Savage and the Ping Pong Guy
The third season of Flintoff, Savage and the Ping Pong Guy arrived on Monday 24th September. For any sports fan, this podcast is a must listen. It asks fascinating questions covering all ‘the meaty topics’ from the world of sport, with brutally honest, forthright insight, which navigates between the hilarious and the heart-breaking. As you listen and become more familiar with the comradery of this triumvirate, their simplistic public personas are shattered. Freddie provides the humour and charisma (David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd’s heir apparent), the insight of a world-class performer, yet constantly challenges himself and those around him. Matthew Syed, far more than just ‘the Ping Pong Guy’, illustrates the intellect, which made his books Bounce and Black Box Thinking best-sellers, while his accomplished journalistic skills masterfully shape the discussion. And a podcast, which makes Robbie Savage likeable. Who thought that was possible? It must be a bit special. Once you’ve listened to one, you’ll be trawling through the back-catalogue.
Critic: Tom Roberts
Pick: Lil Wayne – Tha Carter V
There was no competition for this month’s pick. As soon as Lil Wayne released his album, ‘Tha Carter V’, it was over for everyone else. The quality of the album was not essential, although it does help the album is excellent. For any Wayne fan, the fact that the album even exists is a victory, the fact it is worthy of the hype arguably makes the wait worth it. The album is filled with pain and celebration, which sums the album up perfectly, it has been a 5-year wait, as Wayne battled his former mentor Birdman in a vigorous court case, and finally, Weezy and ‘Tha Carter V’ were freed. ‘Uproar’ is the perfect party tune to celebrate the release, while Wayne and Kendrick Lamar go HAM on ‘Mona Lisa’. ‘Tha Carter V’ is not just a victory for Lil Wayne and his fans, it is a victory for all of music.
Critic: Chris Heley
Pick: Joe Cokanasiga
The 20-year-old Bath winger has burst onto the scene this season, particularly in an outstanding performance against Quins in September, scoring two tries demonstrating a couple of remarkable bits of skill. Cokanasiga has been in a couple of England training squads in recent times and Eddie Jones clearly has an eye on the young man of Fijian heritage. This month his Bath side will play Toulouse and Wasps in the Champions Cup, a couple of good performances and its likely that Cokanasiga will at least get his first cap in the autumn against Japan. He is raw but incredibly talented and physically gifted, so with just a year to go to the RWC Cokanasiga could be England’s wildcard.
Critic: Max McGrath
Pick: Are You The One?
My pick this month is the TV spectacle that is MTV’s Are You The One? It’s a reality television style game show that creates drama and viewing that would never be achievable in more safe strategy based shows like Love Island. Imagine Ex on the Beach but more Americanised and more game playing than attention seeking. While the programme may have already started, it’s not too late to get involved for those who are counting down the days till Love Island starts and serves as a once a week stopgap perfectly.