These Days: Friday, June 30th, 2017
New Music: Just what the world needs in 2017, a contrite Jay-Z apologizing for Becky with the straight hair on this dreary bummer of an album. I wasn’t crazy about Magna Carta Holy Grail, but it blew you away from time to time. There is no “Som Ford” or “Somewhereinamerica” or even “Holy Grail” come to think of it. From the opening, bizarre, Kanye West slap down leading to a depressing mea culpa on “Kill Jay Z” to the Gospel wtf “4:44” something isn’t clicking. Hova sounds so not bored, subdued, out in his place, the latter opens with “I apologize…”. “The Story Of O.J.” may be the best moment, Frank Ocean on “Caught Their Eye” is always good on a song about infidelity. At a scant ten song dash and 36 minutes, it makes its point without outstaying its welcome, but it is so self-centered without being actually fun, it feels longer. We expect Jay-Z to be selfish but we expect him to have fun with it. If he had released 4:44 instead of Volume 2 he’d have no career. Let’s see how it lasts, certainly if it breaks pop, and since only Tidal and Sprint subscribers (and not new Tidal subscribers either) have access to it, I really can’t even guess how it will sound next week Grade: B-
More New Music: I’ve spent so much time on on 4:44, that I haven’t really begun to dive into the new releases of the week. Though one I don’t have to hear to love is The Beach Boys 1967 – Sunshine Tomorrow, a nearly three hours of Brian in the summer of love – Grade” A
Old Music: I’ve been listening to good ol’ Pitbull quite a bit, getting ready for his gig tonight at MSG. I haven’t done my homework on Enrique Iglesias, and perhaps should add a track here and there. James Taylor is coming up next week… I haven’t even looked at his current setlist.
POTUS: I don’t get Trimp at all, the only thing that makes any sense is that he is incapable of thinking clearly. I wonder who would imagine his tweet about Mika Brzezinski (“(she came to) to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!” Why would he do that?
Sports: Yanks lost, Mets won. Joe Torres said it but it is worth repeating years later, first you win the series and the Yanks aren’t winning the series.
The Subways: “The delays are maddening New Yorkers. They are infuriated by a lack of communication, unreliability and now accidents. Just three days ago, we literally had a train come off the tracks. It’s the perfect metaphor for the dysfunction of the entire system.” That’s Governor Cuomo who has announced a state of emergency for the subway system. I was watching Richard Ravitch on NY1, the man who saved the subway system from a bigger mess in the early 90s, and he noted something no one wants to hear: it took a tax increase and it took the business community, to fix the subways.
Theatre: I caught Brendon Urie as Charlie Price in “Kinky Boots” last night on Broadway. He sang the hell outta “Soul Of A Man” but as an actor perhaps he should be in “Chicago” who specialize in stunt casting. Still, Cyndi Lauper’s music still shines through.