The Early Bird: Top New Releases 10-4-19 – 10-10-19 Reviewed
It’s been three years between albums from one of the great rappers, Danny Brown, but it feels like longer because he hasn’t made featured appearances and hasn’t been seen locally at all. 2016’s Atrocity Exhibition was a masterpiece and a follow up to a previous masterpiece Old (2013), the current uknowhatimsayin¿ isn’t a masterpiece, it is missing bangers and it missing a coupla sure fire hits, but it is Brown and he has one of the great voices, a scratchy whine, and he can be funny but it never loosens up his intensity. Towards the end of the album, he follows the title track with “Negro Spiritual” featuring JPEGMAFIA, about, what else, sex, and backdoors, and reaches where other rappers don’t (Grade: B+). The other biggie is the new Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, Ghosteen, a moribund bummer as you’d expect from Nick in the wake of his son’s death, which seems to inform it. The problem is, Skeleton Key had one strong song after another, there were some, what’s that word?, melodies. There is nothing here to compare with “Skeleton Key” itself. But there is an intensity that pushes you into the face of ultimate humanity… I still prefer “Dig Lazarus Dig”. Poor Nick (Grade: B-).
Over at singles, Travis Scott is back with “Highest n The Room,” closer to r&b than rap (Grade: B+), Jessie Reyez is performing two nights at Brooklyn Steel later this year, and I would go if it was T5, she is simply the best r&b singer out there who crosses over into singer songwriter when she isn’t looking, “Far Away” is everything Jessie does and better, as good as any song so far in her young career, it should hit the Hot 100 -a gorgeous little soul track (Grade: A-). Gucci Mane doesn’t miss a thing and “Big Booty” is trap as pop (and exactly what you think it is) with Megan Thee Stallion on the hook (Grade: B). Dan + Shay were terrific opening for Carrie Underwood in 2018, nice guys, great songs and harmonies,and a ton of country hits. What could be better? For “10,000 Hours” they have Justin Bieber, probably the best featured vocalist anywhere, joining them and the only question is when does Bieber go country? (Grade: B+). Sleater-Kinney’s “ANIMAL” is an angry little diss song not on the album (Grade: B). The second killer song off The Who’s upcoming album (Who), “All This Music Must Fade” is Pete Townshend at his self-revealing best and with age and anger capturing him as he studies his mortality, even as a live forever rock star (or not!), another great Roger vocal (Grade: A-). King Princess’s upcoming debut album might be an overreach, but at least three songs have been very good and “Hit The Back” is another troubled love song to another woman with commitment problems (Grade: B+).
Back at albums, Angel Olsen can certainly write a song, listen to “New Love Cassette” on her new All Mirrors, but she is a bore and her only gear is brooding anger (Grade: B-). Robert Glasper is the face of modern jazz, and the pianist’s Fuck Yo Feelings is far closer than hip hop than jazz ever has been, even from borderline crossover from one to the other, Flying Locust. It sounds greats, lots of featured performers, everyone from Yasiin Bey to YBN Cordae, so it is like a rap album with live jazz backing tracks (Grade: B)
All Mirrors – Angel Olsen – B-
10,000 Hours – Dan + Shay – B+
uknowhatimsayin¿ – Danny Brown – B+
Big Booty – Gucci Mane with Megan Thee Stallion – B
Hit The Back – King Princess – B+
Ghosteen – Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – B-
Far Away – Jessie Reyez – A-
Fuck Yo Feelings – Robert Glasper – B
ANIMAL – SLEATER-KINNEY – B
All This Music Must Fade – The Who – A-
Highest In The Room – Travis Scott – B+