The Early Bird: New Top Releases Reviewed 12-15-17 – 12-21-17

Written by | December 15, 2017 7:25 | No Comments

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To start at the top, I wrote a full review of Eminem’s Revival yesterday (here) and am already having second thoughts. Yes, it is 74 minutes of sprawl, yes, it is Eminem’s greatest hits by other means, with a guest appearance by Slim Shady, and yes it doesn’t bore at all… but where is the haymaker? Where is that one (or three) songs? Grade: B+

Now, that’s out of the way… SINGLES!!! U2’s Spotify singles cover of “What’s Going On,” is quite good and no, we don’t judge Bono because his hair is long: there are other, more pressing, reasons. Grade: B+. The new Decemberists’ single, “Ben Franklin” is folk rock, though let’s be honest: BEN FRANKLIN??? Grade: B. “Perfect Symphony” has Ed Sheeran & Andrea Bocelli operaing it up and Ed singing in Italian. Grade: C+. What’s with having little girls speak at the top of singles? Why? Dej Loaf doesn’t record bad songs and “Big Ole Boss” is great, “no limits to this life I live,” she claims on this tuneful soul song. Grade: A-

Two live albums.  I have never written a kind word about Linkin Park, but Chester’s suicide has had to change that. Linkin Park’s One More Light Live serves a reminder that not everybody hates melodic hard rock as much as I do, Jay Z once made an album with them, and the audience here roar and it doesn’t sound sweetened. Grade: C+. My great niece adores Panic! At The Disco, I thought they (and by they I mean Brendon Urie) were ok nothing great on an Arena scale,  All My Friends, We’re Glorious: Death Of A Bachelor Tour Live is the souvenir….. Grade: B-

Rap: Boosie Badazz’s BooPac is nothing great though the last track, “Trust Nobody,” nails it. Grade: C+. .Never a fan of Juicy J, still  Rubba Band Business is a pretty good pop rap move, but will it move. Grade: B- but up it to B if the album hits. Their back: N.E.R.D’s NO ONE EVER REALLY DIES has its eyes on the chart and uses an admiral roster of featured artists to get them there, including Gucci Mane on the fine “Viola”. Elsewhere, Rihanna, Ed Sheeran, Kendrick Lamar (twice -once with, gasp, M.I.A.) aren’t better than the sum of their parts. Grade: C+. G-Eazy’s The Beautiful & Damned is no better than the singles. Grade: C-

I am not ready to deal with the Charli XCX or the Bright soundtrack, so here is the best album you will hear this week, The Five Satin’s 50 Best Hits. If all you know is “In The Still Of The Night,” this glorious doo wop band will blow you away. It was released back in November but I missed it then and now I am going to be listening to it all day while I should be digging in deeper on new releases. Their “These Foolish Things” is one of the best I’ve ever heard.  Grade: A.

The rest of the reviews will be up at some point, if I can tear myself away from The Five Satins.

Boosie Badazz –  BooPac – C+

Dej Loaf – Big Ole Boss – A-

Ed Sheeran – Perfect Symphony (Ed Sheeran & Andrea Bocelli B-

Eminem – Revival – B+

G-Eazy – The Beautiful & Damned – C-

Juicy J – Rubba Band Business – B-

Linkin Park – One More Light Live – C+

N.E.R.D – NO ONE EVER REALLY DIES – C+

Panic! At The Disco – All My Friends, We’re Glorious: Death Of A Bachelor Tour Live – B-

The Decemberists – Ben Franklin – B

The Five Satins – 50 Best Hits – A

U2 – What’s Going On – B+

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