The Early Bird: Top New Releases 2-9-18 – 2-15-18

Written by | February 9, 2018 7:12 am | No Comments

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My antipathy towards Kendrick Lamar was never about his rapping, it was about his skills in composing songs that worked as songs, on Black Panther The Album Music From And Inspired By, curated by  Kendrick Lamar, the songs are black Africa informed but the quality is huge, all four of Kendrick’s songs are terrific, especially the litany of African royalty title track. But really…. everything else is great as well, shout out to Khalid and Swae Lee for and Ab-Soul and Anderson Paak, the album is vastly superior to the similarly conceived “Bright”. Grade: A-

Singles wise it is a little on the anemic side. the Alex Sensation-Bad Bunny “Fantasia,” is dramatic Baby Trap (Grade: B), Barns Courtney’s “Sinner” is a good little rocker and another revelation from an artist I am a complete agnostic about (Grade: B+), “Summer’s End” is John Prine’s first new music in over a decade and it is a gentle beauty (Grade: B+), the Fratelli’s “Starcrossed Loser” is a bass running super clever rocker (Grade: B+) and their best song since “Chelsea Dagger”. Let’s end with three slices of very good r&b, Toni Braxton’s classic “Long As I Live “(Grade: B), Ne-Yo’s obtuse “Good Man” (Grade: B), and Youngboy Never Broke’s hip hop-y autotuned  “Love Is Poison” (Grade: B+).

Back to albums, Toto exists so Eagles fans can say “no they Eagles weren’t Warren Zevon but they weren’t Toto either,” Toto – Greatest Hits: 40 Trips Around The Sun is the most soulless blather beneath the sun – Grade: D. I have been listening to the Dashboard Confessional’s Crooked Shadows  pre release singles with something between a shrug and a smile, over an album it sounds like a step above emo, a classicist rock album, Grade:  B. One more? I’ve been waiting patiently for Joan As Police Woman’s Damned Devotion since the single “Tell Me,” and it is no fluke, a superb album with one potential hit after another, Grade: A-

Alex Sensation – Bad Bunny (B+)

Courtney Barns – Sinner – B+

Dashboard Confessional – Crooked Shadows – B

Joan As Police Woman – Damned Devotion – A-

Kendrick Lamar –  Black Panther The Album Music From And Inspired By – A-

John Prine – Summer’s End – B+

Ne Yo – Good Man – B

Starcrossed Losers – The Fratellis – B+

Toni Braxton – Long As I Live – B

Toto – Toto – Greatest Hits: 40 Trips Around The Sun – D

Youngboy Never Broke – Love Is Poison – B+

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