The Early Bird: Top New Releases 10-16-20 – 10-22-20 Reviewed
I came a little late to beabadoobee, catching on when the Canadian Powfu rapper sampled her for one of the best songs of the year, “death bed (coffee for your head)”. There wasn’t much to catch up, the twenty year old Filipina via London had a clutch of singles, a coupla EPs, and an album, and they were the best bedroom indie to date, a strummed guitar and just beabadoobee’s lovely singing on the sad girl heart ache tracks. Her sophomore album is a full band sounding leap forward in sound though not in song craft, but if that is a complaint it isn’t really because the woman can compose great songs, and here she can also arrange them as fine indie pop gems (Grade: A-).
Over at singles, Stevie Wonder with his first (two) singles since 2016 and first released on his own label and not Motown, we reviewed earlier (here), “Can’t Put It In The Hands Of Fate” (Grade: A) is great and “Where Is Our Love Song” is very good. King Princess returns with “Only Time Makes It Human,” it nicks the lick from Cat Stevens “How Can i Tell You” before morphing into a disco track with the ineluctable hook “lalalallaa” (Grade: B+). Steve Earle’s “Times Like These,” written in 2016, had no idea how terrible life can be, because, yes, Steve, it would get much, much worse, but was bad enough and Earle realizes that whatever hope is it, it is here somewhere in this full band arrangement and a very good song (Grade: A-) . It is not that Pearl Jam is overrated, they are rated correctly as a major and one of the last of a breed of rock bands, it is that once you get past Vitalogy their albums are kinda sucky, and their fourth single of the year “Get It Back” returns em to Ten land plus killer guitar outro but still nothing much (Grade: B-). I was under the impression Lana Del Rey was readying a spoken word album with Jack Antonoff playing background music, this isn’t part of that, it is the follow up to Lana’s intense Norman Fucking Rockwell and while it isn’t “Mariners Apartment Complex,” “Let Me Love You Like A Woman” is a haunting piano ballad about love and leaving LA (Grade: B+).
Over at albums, a gorgeous slice of Americana from The National’s lead singer with that Scott Walker would get it baritone, Matt Berninger is at the top of his game on these songs which wouldn’t be out of place with The National on Serpentine Prison (Grade: B+). Live From The Forum MMXVIII is another live Eagles album, I caught the show at MSG and wasn’t overwhelmed (the Hotel California tour was actually better) so the calling card here is Vince Gill singing Glenn Frey’s parts and that’s a pretty good calling card, you can just weed em out and put them on a different playlist (Grade: B-). Still live, The Final Note (Live at Painters Mill Music Fair – 10-17-71) was Duane’s last before his tragic, early death (Grade: B+) and his ghost doesn’t linger here, the dreadful clearly hadn’t happened. Another hits album from Ian Dury? Hit Me! The Best Of has 50 songs from all parts of his career and ends with a terrific demo of “England’s Glory” (Grade: A). Finally, Gucci Mane trap god’s So Icy crew arrive on So Icy Gang, Vol. 1 and the songs all the complete essence of trap on his New 107 label, quite good and a lot more from So Icy Girls the way they ruled the summer release would have helped (Grade: B+)
The Final Note (Live at Painters Mill Music Fair – 10-17-71) – Allman Brothers Band – B+
Fake It Flowers – beabadoobee – A-
Live From The Forum MMXVIII – Eagles – B-
So Icy Gang, Vol. 1 – Gucci Mane – B+
Hit Me! The Best Of – Ian Dury – A
Only Time Makes It Human – King Princess – B+
Let Me Love You Like A Woman – Lana Del Rey – B+
Serpentine Prison – Matt Berninger – B+
Get It Back – Pearl Jam – B-
Times Like These – Steve Earle – A-
Can’t Put It In The Hands Of Fate (feat. Rapsody, Cordae, Chika & Busta Rhymes) – Stevie Wonder – A
Where Is Our Love Song (feat. Gary Clark Jr.) – Stevie Wonder, Gary Clark Jr. – B+