The Early Bird: Top New Releases Reviewed 7-27-18 – 8-2-18
An oddly iffy week, a couple of outstanding albums (well, Willie Nile at least) and a fistful of singles worth your time, but otherwise… Is there no coordination here? Why is there nothing really big here? The new Paul McCartney album is released on September 7th and guess what else? So is the new Paul Simon… how about some collusion here guys, if Trump and Putin can collude then why not record labels?
The singles is where it is happening. Brad Paisley has an excellent cover of Roger Miller’s “Dang Me” -an obvious meeting of minds and more than welcome (Grade: B+). 6ix9ine may not be the real king of New York, and may be in deep trouble due to sleeping with a fourteen year old girl when he was eighteen years old (yes folks, sex on a clockwatch) but his new song “FEFE” with Nicki Minaj is terrific, stolen by Nicki and a terrific slick click track (by Murda Beatz), but 6ix9ine’s name is on top so it is his (Grade: B+). I am no fan of Blood Orange so “Charcoal Black” is a welcome surprise summer time jam better than Childish Gambino’s recent attempt (Grade: B+), the other release “Jewelry” is business as usual (Grade: C). I dislike Sam Beam more in theory than practise, Iron And Wine’s “What Hurts Worse” gets a knee jerk boring Americana, but the middle is pretty good (B-). Always cool to hear from N.O.R.E. and “In The Beginning” explains his modus operandi and while it might be about money but it’s more about rap (Grade: B+). Two white(ish) rappers, Logic, who always sucks, sucks again on “One Day,” and it is mostly Ryan Tedder’s fault because the bars are OK (Grade: C+), Mac Miller has already released a bad song off his upcoming album, the new single “What’s The Use?” is saved by an excellent sample (Grade: B).
A quiet week on the album front except… I know and you know that Willie Nile will have a hard time reaching the heights of 2014’s If I Was A River again, but then again, who knew he had that masterpiece anyway? Children Of The Revolution has power pop meets folk in its DNA, very Byrdsy in the chiming guitars as well, let’s call it New Wave (Grade: B+). The Coup’s soulful, very soulful, soundtrack to Boots Riley’s Sorry To Bother You includes one of the best songs of the year, the Janelle Monae featured “Whathegirlmuthafuckinwannadoo” (yeah, of course Prince is the influence), the early 90s rap collective find themselves right in the thick of it 20 years later (Grade: B+). Finally, no Santigold’s I Don’t Want: The Gold Fire Sessions isn’t the unrestrained genius of 99 Cents, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a really strong alt-r&b meets neo-soul album, “Coo Coo Coo” is the lead off song of the week (Grade: B+)
FEFE – 6ixNine, Nicki Minaj, Murda Beatz
Charcoal Brown – Blood Orange – B+
Jewelry – Blood Orange – C
Dang Me – Brad Paisley – B+
What Hurts Worse – Iron & Wine – B-
What’s The Use – Mac Miller – B
In The Beginning – N.O.R.E. – B+
I Don’t Want: The Gold Fire Sessions – Santigold – B+
Sorry To Bother You – The Coup – B+
Children Of The Revolution – Willie Nile – B+