I Mentioned 92 Brands in These Album Reviews in Hopes That Some Will Send Me Free Stuff

Being a music writer is a financially unfulfilling career path, but there are perks. Occasionally brands will send you free things when you offhandedly mention their products in a hip publication, for example. So how about we stop beating around the bush? I am outright saying that I would like free stuff. In an attempt to obtain free swag, I mentioned a few brands in these album reviews, 92 of them to be exact. But I maintain that not only will this fully disclosed branding not affect the quality of my critical analysis, but that you’ll hardly even notice it. It’ll be as seamless as, well, using Seamless, a fine service.

Kanye West — The Life of Pablo

Is this album an item on the McDonald’s menu? Because I’m lovin’ it™. Kanye West’s name is synonymous with excellence in rap, much like Porsche and Bugatti are for automobiles. West cruises through The Life of Pablo like he’s in a 2016 Land Rover Sport Off-Road SUV. Right off the bat, he delivers the hottest rhymes… but it’s not delivery, it’s Digiorno. Having released the album exclusively on TIDAL, the sound quality is remarkably clear. It’s got the clarity of an LG Ultra 4K TV or a Panasonic VIERA smart HDTV. Both quality products. Kanye is the greatest rapper of our generation, period. He’s got more game than the NFL, NBA, and MLB combined. Some tracks on Pablo go down smooth like a nice refreshing Shasta, while others have serious bite like Barq’s Root Beer, and some are so full of energy you’d think they downed an wing-giving can of Red Bull. The album clocks in at an hour according to the impeccable time-keeping of Swatch watches, so Pablo gives you your money’s worth much like the daily savings at Target. At 18 tracks, it seems as endless as a can of Pringles and has guest verses from Rihanna and Kendrick Lamar, who add texture to the album’s thickness like Hamburger Helper.

Gwen Stefani — This Is What the Truth Feels Like

With a ten-year gap between albums, Gwen Stefani captured the same anticipation most people feel when waiting for a new blockbuster movie to start in a Regal Entertainment theater. But does she deliver? Um, does DirectTV offer the most premium channels including HBO, Starz, Showtime, and Cinemax, not to mention on demand features, making your favorite shows available anytime you want? YES. Clearly, Stefani has broken free of her No Doubt days, walking away from her ska past so comfortably you’ll swear she was using Dr. Scholl’s Custom Fit orthotic inserts. Twenty-plus years into her career and Stefani is still as hot and fresh as some Nestle Toll House cookies straight out of the oven. Mmmm mmmm.

The Thermals — We Disappear

The Thermals are back on We Disappear with a sound that fans will find as familiar as their favorite pair of vintage Levi’s 511 jeans (size 33 x 32). Frontman Hutch Harris’ songwriting is sharp as ever, as sharp as the fresh shave you get from a Gillette Mach3 Turbo razor or the resolution on a Canon EOS digital SLR camera or. Masters of power pop, the Portland trio will pep you up like a caramel mocha latte from Starbucks. Now on their seventh album, The Thermals are as reliable as a JetBlue flight and as addictive as an all-night game of Guitar Hero Live on your Microsoft Xbox 360 or Sony PS4 gaming consoles. Once you put this record on your turntable, you’ll never want to take it off, as if it were a pair of Crocs or a cotton blend longsleeve t-shirt (size Men’s Large) from Uniqlo. More fun than a day at Six Flags Great Adventure.

Sia — This Is Acting

Sia is HOT right now, hotter than whatever that company is that makes those cool hoverboards. And it’s as easy as ordering from Amazon.com to see out why. First, she’s as stylish as a pair of Diesel Jeans, faded and distressed to perfection by hand in Italy. There are so many cracks and squeals coming out of Sia’s voice that were they coming out of your car, you’d head straight to AutoZone where their helpful employees could help diagnose the problem. She has been all over the pop charts with This Is Acting, just like you should be all over a sale at Kohl’s and their already everyday low prices on clothes and home goods. Her slow bangers compliment her danceable pop hits like the fries compliment a double-stacked burger at Five Guys. Her voice will wash away your bad vibes much like Selsun Blue rinses away unsightly dandruff and flakes. The beats are warmer than an Adidas pullover hoodie (size XL, unless they run big, in which case Large is fine) and her voice is as classic as a pair of Converse (size 11). Whatever mood you’re in, the album will conform to you as if it was a fitted New Era hat (size: 7 3/8.) It goes down as smooth as a liter of Dasani water.

Modern Baseball — Holy Ghost

Modern Baseball are emo-pop wunderkinds from Philadelphia (the city, not the delicious cream cheese!) and Holy Ghost is their third album. There are some truly touching moment on this record, so grab a Kleenex. Holy Ghost is the perfect album to listen to on your Bose headphones while walking through the city streets in your favorite pair of Nike Frees, especially on those cold winter nights when you’re wrapped up in your warm, yet breathable North Face coat and Columbia knit hat. Though Holy Ghost is catchy, it is also deceptively complex, much like assembling one of the fine furniture items from IKEA. It takes longer to unpack everything in these songs than it does to unpack all the groceries most people come home with from a trip to Costco. (You go in there for Cottonelle toilet paper, and the next thing you know you’ve got a cart full of Werther’s Originals, Trojan Condoms, Mucinex, Mentos, Firestone tires, and plenty of fine Kirkland products!) But once you peel through all of the layers of Holy Ghost like a delicious Polly-O string cheese, you’ll find at its core, it’s an album that is as comfortable as an old pair of Vans sneakers. Definitely don’t sleep on this album like it was a Sealy Posturepedic Mattress!

Panic! at the Disco — Death of a Bachelor

Talk about a throwback. Listening to Panic! at the Disco in 2016 is like looking through the lens of a Polaroid camera. But no simple nostalgia-grab is this album. No, the band gives you a lot to chew on like Skoal. It’s complex, yet simple. The band makes it look so easy it should be illegal. (We’ll have to help with the helpful professionals over at LegalZoom on that one.) Brendan Urie’s vocals give the pop-infused rock sounds the kick it needs like a dab of CoffeeMate.

Ty Segall — Emotional Mugger

Ty Segall is back and his new album Emotional Mugger is STACKED. It’s like this album’s been getting pumped on Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard protein powder. Seriously, has this album been taking a scoop of NO-Xplode pre-workout energizing supplement and hitting the weights at New York Sports Club in its Under Armour heatgear compression shorts? An impressive showing from Segall here on an album that’s more beefed than someone on their third month of a diet of Universal Hi-Protein bars and vanilla creme Muscle Milk.

The 1975 — I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It

Woah, that’s a long album title, huh? It’s longer than the lines at the Apple store when they’re having another fantastic deal on their reliable products like the Verizon Wireless-compatible iPhone 6s Plus, now with 5.5″ Retina HD display with 3D Touch. The 1975 let their blend of Dove-clean pop-rock come to a slow simmer like a pot of Uncle Ben’s rice. Put on your timelessly classic Ray-Bans because The 1975 is an incredibly bright spot in today’s music industry, refreshing, like a sip of Gatorade Fierce® Melon. There is so much good stuff to discover on this album you’d think you were flipping through Netflix on your Roku. There is a lot to digest on I Like It. Imagine dining on a burrito bowl at Chipotle or all-you-can-eat Shrimpfest at Red Lobster and following it up with a customizable fro-yo at 16 Handles where you splurged on Reese’s Pieces toppings. That’s how filling it is. Get the Tum’s ready.

Kendrick Lamar — untitled unmastered

Kendrick dropped this album overnight recently and it was a bigger surprise than when Coca-Cola announced their low-calorie but thirst-quenching Coke Zero. Hopefully iTunes Music will give me a subscription so I can listen to it.

BRANDS: Please get in touch at dan@danozzi.com so that I may facilitate the process of you mailing me as much free stuff as possible.

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