Be Here Now: New Albums 12-20-19 – 12-26-19

Written by | December 24, 2019 6:19 am | No Comments

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Historias  de un Capricornio – Arcangel – The popular reggaeton star celebrates his 34th birthday with a hefty clout of Urban Latino stars, including Bad Bunny. A little arty, a little self-important, and a touch slow – B-

k bye for now (swt live) – Ariana Grande – surprise drop from Ariana, who just concluded her Sweetener Tour and was hugely disappointing on stage back in June at MSG on this tour (here). Nearing the end of a run of releases that consolidated her position after the terrorist attack in England, with a great album, followed by a run of breathtaking singles, and another great album and then stopped, more singles, and then stopped. Here she provides a boring, by the numbers, souvenir from the tour and while it isn’t bad, it doesn’t approach her groundbreaking work over the past year – B-

ASOT 945 – A State Of Trance Episode 945 (Top 50 Of 2019 Special) – Armin van Buuren  – The countdown of the top 50 trance tracks via Armins four hour radio show from Amsterdam – ps spoiler alert Maarlo’s “Lighter Than Air” wins. If you did a playlist of just the songs, cutting out the interviewers and introductions, it would be pretty good though (almost by definition) a little wimpy, as is, it ain’t bad – B-

A Nice Night for an Evening, Vol. 1 – Bowling For Soup – The pop-punk boys (to men… they got old), perform supper club, piano arrangement instrumentals, for some meta-joke on their fanbase -who deserve it – C-

Purple Haze 2 – Cam’ron – Ho hum, he never lived up to “Do It Again” and as sequels go, it is as old and moldy as you thought it was – C

Back at Burnie’s – Curren$y – If the 00s is on your mind, the New Orleans rapper who can rhyme circles round your average rapper has released another strong album. Not a chart move, and the sound is a precise emulation (except it is himself he is emulating) set of very well rapped and bar skipping second tier songs – B-

My Present – DaniLeigh – Prince protege, four song and better than you’d expect r&b hip hop crossover… “Usually” is the one – B

Enhanced Best Of 2019, mixed by Disco Fries – Disco Fries – hits that sweet spot between disco and house, Disco Fries are a coupla US DJs that work the line not trodden by, say The Chainsmokers, Disco Fries work the dancefloor and the sound is modern tech beats but the pace isn’t deep dub house but sweet duty disco  – B+

Streetz Need Me 2 – Doe Boy – Future, Young Thug, YG, Lil Durk, Gunna, Key Glock, NoCap and comedian Mike Epps are featured, and Future executive produced, a boring collection of also ran by the New Orleans rapper – C+

East Atlanta Santa 3 – Gucci Mane – hearing it right after bummers by Cam’ron and Doe Boy, it sounds better than it did last week. Not every song testifies, but every song has a reason for being and the back to back Jason Derulo – Asian Doll tracks pull it up further. Even past his prime, the Atlanta superstar is worth your time if only because he remains the handler of the best trap beats and the best flow  – B+

Vanquish – Popcaan – Dancehall Jamaican tip from the OVO signed star who adds beats to reggae tracks without the Rasta and without the heavy dub, meaning he puts the pop into Popcaan – B

15 Years Of Mixmash | Remix Album – Laidback Luke – Excellent remix album from the gifted DJ techno Dutch guy, both the Chocolate Puma and DJ superstar Steve Angello tracks are bass heavy exercises in house by other means – B+

Progressive And Melodic Trance – Steve Brian – I think this is a Spotify playlist from Steve, and it is a good one. A zoom-y, high intensity ride for molly dropping dancefloor crazies – B+

Rich Music Sessions (Acústico En Vivo) – Rich Music LTD, Sech, Dalex -slow as fuck bachata  – C

Strictly Only Brothers – SOB X RBE – the Cali rap teen collective channel NWA on the album cover, and the zig zag of voices adds a strong flip, some of the sample tracks are good enough but mostly not up to much – C+

MOOD // DOOM – Social Club Misfits – Self-confident rap duo planning their headline gigs at MSG or Barclays, and during an iffy week for rap, release the best one of the week. “Que Lo Que” is the best Latino rap song of the week by far, and even the freestyle kills it. As far as Christian rap goes, this compilation plus one newbie is very strong work – B+

The Eternal Remixes – U2 – Four remixes by Indian artists, all four are bright, sparkling, strong. Hot on the heels of the A.R. Rahman collab, ‘Ahimsa,’  U2 remain in India for four major, major remixes:  Karsh Kale 100 Voices Mix of ‘Pride (In The Name Of Love),’ the Lost Stories Remix of ‘Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way,’ the OX7GEN Remix of ‘You’re The Best Thing About Me’ and the Amaal Mallik Reprise of ‘Beautiful Day.’ It isn’t what you think, if there is a sitar here I missed it, but it has a mystical spirituality, especially on the epic “Pride” –  ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

Three Chords And The Truth (Expanded Edition) [Deluxe] – Van Morrison – It wasn’t a bad album, and with four alternative versions of mediocre songs, it’s still not a bad album… still, Van fans need to hear “Fame Will Eat The Soul” – B

Cats: Highlights From The Motion Picture Soundtrack – Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cast Of The Motion Picture – Andrew Lloyd Webber has changed my lifetime of antipathy with a good memoir and a Q&A back in ’18 (here), but  Cats On Broadway (now and forever -meh) was unforgivable. However, count me among the very few who adored the movie. I loved just about everything about it, including the songs, and especially James Corden and Taylor Swift. Sure, “Beautiful Ghosts” is a dog, but song for song, it is just plain fun – B

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – John Williams – Bad movie, irrelevant OSA – C-

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