The Early Bird: Top New Releases 1-4-19 – 1-10-19
That six week break, from mid-December to early February, where no major label releases or any new music whatsoever should be put to sleep. There are miles of difference between distributing hard copy recordings to record stores during a time of the year when many people are on vacation, followed by a period when many other people have completely stopped shopping retail, and 2019 where all the labels are doing is putting new releases on platforms that are automatically billed every month. There is no good reason to just give up on new releases. But give up they have with no major album dropping though a few singles have hit the big time.
So off to singles it is, and let’s be clear here: Paul McCartney’s Egypt Station was not a good album and the reason it matters to have said that from the beginning is because this one is good. Paul’s first new release of 2019, “Get Enough” is his best work since “FourFiveSeconds”. Though mostly a McCartneying of Bon Iver’s trademark,electronic symphonia from the beginnings of his career (aka Forever Ago), here he is joined by Ryan Tedder, though the song, autotuned or otherwise, is classic McCartney not moldy Ryan, as it slows and builds like it has fused three songs (Grade: A-). Speaking of getting people wrong, D’Angelo’s last album, though lead by hosannas, was a dog with fleas, and his new single, which appears on the soundtrack of Rockstar video game Red Dead Redemption 2, a Ben Harperish drag “Unshaken” is yet more proof the man is a little lost, produced by Daniel Lanois, who can make anything drag (Grade: C-) . With the exception of the Juice WRLD collaboration (WRLD On Drugs -very good as well) Future had a quiet 2018 -even his tour with Nicki Minaj was cancelled, though his new single “Crushed Up” is almost a blueprint for the Atlanta trap guy, drug woozed and yet hard hitting verses and hook laden chrus (Grade: B+). Chaka Khan opens the 2019 door with “Hello Happiness,” a hip hop meets trap clap trap EDM meets r&b song that covers all exits in duct tape (Grade: B). Did you know I still get hate mail over my The Police are the worst band ever post? I know, I know… Anyway, I didn’t hate EVERYTHING he has ever done, “Brand New Day” wasn’t awful, though his new take “Brand New Day – 2019 Version)” isn’t a new version at all, it is a remix hitting the 808 to carry it (Grade: C).
Very few new albums I can find, maybe three, none of which I want to deal with till I’ve listened a little more. Let’s hope next week is better, on January 9th we’ve been promised a new Lana Del Rey single, the last two were great so let’s hope she drops the album very soon.
Hello Happiness – Chaka Khan – B
Unshaken – D’Angelo – C-
Crushed Up – Future – B+
Get Enough – Paul McCartney – A-
Brand New Day – Version 2019 – Sting – C