Be Here Now: Top New Recordings Reviewed 8-17-18 – 8-23-18
Sweetener is Ariana Grande’s 1989, huge pop move heading for crossoverville from where she has spent her career as a pint-sized diva, the songs with Pharrell are intense bemused pop strokes and the rest is chart headed grooviness, like her boyfriend Pete Davidson it is informed by the shock of outsized political malfeasance, which despite every effort side moves away. Not Ariana’s best songs, but certainly her most interesting collection, the Missy Elliott featured “Borderline” is tops (Grade; B). “Made For Now” is Janet Jackson’s first single in three years, and it is a pure dance hit featuring reggae ton superstar Daddy Yankee, purely utilitarian (Grade: B). Mitski’s electronic singer songwriter songs has many admirers, though it has always been neither fish nor fowl in my books, and it’s lack of sweetening makes it difficult to penetrate even as the sound is unique and different, I don’t dislike Be The Cowboy without being really fond of her story song self-portraits (Grade; B-).
The UKs Steflon Don’s second mixtape, Secure, travels from grime to trap to dancehall… and it is at its best on dancehall, try “Pretty Girl” (Grade: B-). The Lana Del Rey featured bummer blues downer “Woman” does the job, the two women meld their voices very well well on the spare sinker (Grade: B). Jess Glynne never broke Stateside the way she should have (neither did her buddies Rudimental), “All I Am” is EDM pop worthy of Calvin Harris, the verse is hooky (those oooos) and the so is the bridge (Grade: B+). Cool and kind, written small and tuneful, Camilla Cabelo’s Swae Lee’s feature “Real Friends” (Grade: B+).
Sweetener – Ariana Grande – B
Real Friends – Camilla Cabelo – B+
Woman – Cat Power – B
Made For Now – Janet Jackson -B
All I Am – Jess Glynne – B+
Be The Cowboy – Mitski – B-
Secure – Stefflon Don