The Early Bird: Top New Recordings Reviewed 11-3-17 – 11-10-17
Without wishing to state the obvious, there is nothing this week to compete with the Bootleg Tape # 13, Trouble No More, 1979-1981, from Bob Dylan, a deep rush into his Born Again years. Like most people, I liked Slow Train Coming, and essentially passed on Saved and Shot Of Love as post-punk took over my world. But sometime near the end of the 1980s I went back and listened again and was overwhelmed. Any complaints of uninspired back-up bands and/or production and/or songs, appeared stupid and misguided (well, except for “Man Gave Names To All The Animals”) . Certainly, Shot Of Love, emerged and as a full bloodied masterpiece. This wasn’t Christian Contemporary, not even Gospel, the fire here was righteous indignation take no prisoners, Christ or nothingness. I have been listening to the Trouble No More sampler for a coupla days days with breath held are and purchased the 102 song, deluxe version off Itunes (I also bought it on CD though I haven’t received it yet). It’s eight hours plus so I can’t even think of being definitive, but based upon what I’ve heard, it is maybe the third best Bootleg. Grade: A+
Four songs into Taylor Swift’s new album, dropping on November 10th, “Call It What You Want,” is the latest and she didn’t even make Spotify’s New Music Fridays. Spotify have been pissed at her since 2014 when she pulled her entire catalog for no real reason, an unforced error in which she tethered herself to Apple Music for no gain whatsoever. “Call It What You Want” is a fine I like to fuck when I’m in love for an album that should be called “I like to fuck when I’m in love, and fuck you over when I’m not”. A solid A- on what looks to be a great but not GREAT release. Nicki Minaj has been on fire for the past week, this is her third verse on her third song by other people, Lil Uzi Vert’s “The Way Life Goes”. A good song with a great rap: B+. “Most People Are Good” by Luke Bryan and “Scarecrow In The Garden” by Chris Stapleton are both awful in their own unique ways. Luke: “I believe kids ought to stay kids as long as they can, slam the screen door, climb a tree get dirt on their hands,” if you can call that a belief system (Grade: D+) Stapleton remains the most boring, self-important guy on the planet with an atrocious slice of country Americana (Grade: B+)
Kid Rock’s Sweet Southern Rock isn’t bad because he is asshole, he is an asshole and it is bad; his plod through “Sweetie Pie Honeybunch” is a snooze and then some and it is miles ahead of everything else on his latest rip off of Southern boogie king Ronnie Van Zandt (Grade: D+). Sam Smith went to the well of Orbison-y singing and blue heartache once too often: he isn’t that interesting. Having said that “Baby, You Make Me Crazy” is a natural born soul swing hit and he should release it as a single right now (Grade: C-). I’ve never much cared for 21 Savage, but his new mixtape with Future and Metro Boomin is really good -Atlanta gangsta of the first order, start out at the top with “Ghostface Killer”: “automatic in the trunk, shoot the maggots with the pump.” All it took was a mass murder in Nashville for pump to hit the vernacular. Grade: B+. Chris Brown’s Heartbreak on a Full Moon shoots itself in the foot on as it goes on for 44 songs and nearly three hours, you never get back to the beginning. Still it is state of the art hip hop and the Dej Loaf and Future songs are worth searching out. Grade: B-
Full round up in a coupla days.