The Early Bird: Top New Releases 12-8-17 – 12-14-17

Written by | December 8, 2017 7:45 am | No Comments


As the hours and days tick by to the holiday season the new releases begin to dry up until something like January 19th, when the new Tune-Yards album drops. So this is not a silent week, but still a little docile.

Let’s start with singles. and while I appreciate Eminem’s freestyle Trump sass a month ago, I disliked the Beyonce duet completely. “Untouchable” is an excellent, mix and match Kid Rock meets Eminem with a facedown to the powers that is otherwise known as wide privilege (Grade: A). Sufjan Stevens’ “Tonya Harding (In D major)” could work as an adjunct to eminem, here poor white folks are shown sympathy. I can’t believe Margot decided to not to use it for the movie (Grade: A).  This is the second time I am writing about Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah in two days, “Freedom Is A Word” (feat. Vic Mensa ) uses jazz moods, flutes, tambourines for a world of protest (Grade” B+). “ABC 123” is Tune-Yards second single and it is better than the first, a sweet, straight up white soul -quite remarkable. (Grade: A-)

On to the EPs… Good Charlotte’s A G.C. Christmas, Pt. 1, is a three string holiday music, not bad not great, and “Let The World Be Still” is a keeper (Grade: B), Belle & Sebastian’s How To Solve Our Human Problems (Part 1) is 26 minutes of meh, following a handful of singles not actually on this album. “Sweet Dew Lee” has a jazzy undertow that makes it a nice change-up. These guys aren’t bad, they are like the folk Pet Shop Boys, but isn’t it time to learn a new trick? (Grade: C+). Jimmy Eat World go lo-fi on Integrity Blues Acoustic. The title track is a wonder. (Grade: C+)

Kendrick Lamar’s Damn. Collectors Edition, the same exact album released with the last song first through to the first song last, is kinda dumb (Grade: B). Big Sean and the ubiquitous Metro Boomin Double Or Nothing, adds trap beats to Big Sean’s more resolutely mainstream effort. Songs like “Big Bidness” and “Reason” (featuring Swea Lee) are strong enough to suggest a hit is on their hands. K. Michelle less so, she can’t dodge her reputation despite KIMBERLY: The People I Used To Know being the album we never knew she was capable: a  clear eyed look at a black woman in Trump’s America (Grade: A-)

Two more and you can wait till my weekly round-up for the rest: Jim James Tribute 2 is all about George Harrison and “Behind That Locked Door” alone is worth the price of admission (Grade: B). I went to the  concert documented on Barbra Streisand – The Music…The Mem’ries…The Magic! The voice was magnificent, the performance… I dunno, from the MSG gig in 2000 to this one, it has become steadily less fun (Grade: B-)

Barbra Streisand – KIMBERLY: The People I Used To Know  – B-

Belle And Sebastian – How To Solve Our Human Problems (Part 1)

Big Sean and Metro Boomin – Double Or Nothing – B+

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah – Freedom Is A Word –

Eminem – Untouchable – A-

Good Charlotte – A G.C. Christmas, Pt. 1 – B

Jim James – Tribute 2 – B

Jimmy Eat World – Integrity Blues Acoustic – C+

Kendrick Lamar – Damn. Collectors Edition – B

K. Michelle – KIMBERLY: The People I Used To Know – A-

Sufjan Stevens – Tonya Harding (In D major) – A

Tune-Yard – ABC 123 – A-



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