The Early Bird: Top New Releases 11-29-19 – 12-5-19
There has been a whole lotta bitching about how his estate has been handling the vaults worth of music Prince left behind, but the 1999 Super Deluxe Edition, nearly six hours of remasters, outtakes, seven inchers, live recordings, and obscurities, unknown, and more, available on streaming services complete, is the gold standard. It is better than the deluxe The Beatles White Album, and you’d have to go back to Bob Dylan’s The Cutting Edge (everything he recorded from Highway 61 to Blonde On Blonde) to find its superior. Prince’s best?
Sign O’ The Times
So, yeah (Grade: A+) .
At the top of the week are two excellent rap album by semi-legendary rappers. Both Fabolous and The Game emerged as fully formed rappers in the footsteps of Dre, Snoop, Biggie and Jigga: this is when rappers were from the streets more than the gangs, and both rappers had much love and respect. Both were great live, especially Fabolous, both have made career moves late in the decade, chock to overflowing with rap star features. Fabolous’s Summertime Shootout 3: Coldest Summer Ever, featuring everyone from Meek Mill to PNB Rock, to Gucci Mane, is a straightforward rap pop achievement that comes by its hour plus length the old fashioned way, with a ton of unique tracks and very little filler. Compton’s finest (after Dre and NWA, and maybe Kendrick), The Game makes a pop move on Born 2 Rap at 90 minutes in length and with Ed Sheeran opening and closing the album, and the likes of ANderson .Paak, singing, and the Late Saint Nipsey Hussle, rapping. Chris Brown is along as well, and if anything, Born 2 Rap is using the Chris Brown world of overkill… with much , much better songs and rapping (Grade: B+).
A couple of strong compilations, Doris Day With Love reminds you that, in fact, Doris wasn’t the oldest virgin, love songs whispered in your ear (Grade: A). The George Jones odds and sods are all antecedents to country rock or George in rockabilly mode, on Rock It!, the title track sounds like Presley and “White Lightnin'” is Jones drinking to a surf guitar break. Most of this you know, sure, but they make so much sense as just a high octane mother of an album, you’ll enjoy em just as much, some of em more, in this format (Grade: A).
The Weekend and Regina Spektor return. Both with two songs. The Weeknd’s as the world turns Selena broke me but Bella made me whole “Heartless” is generic mood Abel (Grade: C+), but “Blinding Lights” while less immediately catchy, has a better dynamic and built like 80s synth pop, it is still tailor made for him (Grade: B+). Both of the new Regina songs come from soundtracks, the Amazon Series “Modern Love” for “Walking Way” sounds like Regina copying herself, and not well at all, but from “Bombshell” (it really takes a leap of imagination to see Fox News getting sued for sexual harassment as a female centric story of empowerment) “One Little Soldier” is a smart, blues rocker and a stretch for Regina (Grade: B+).
More singles, Janelle Monae finally releases “That’s Enough”. It didn’t make it onto the “Lady And The Tramp” soundtrack, but here it is two weeks later, a sweet swing with a great vocal (Grade: B+). With a Christmas vibe, Little Mix return on “One I’ve Been Missing,” a very addictive verse though the bridge is a touch whatever they recover in time for the pure doo wop chorus (Grade: B). Neck Deep were better than Lil Wayne and Blink 182 at Barclays this year, and on record they should be better, “Worth It” is no nonsense pop-punk, and no more (Grade: B-)
Doris Day With Love – Doris Day – A
Summertime Shootout 3: Coldest Summer Ever – Fabolous – B+
Rock It!! – George Jones – A
That’s Enough – Janelle Monae – B+
One I’ve Been Missing Little Mix – B
Worth It – Neck Deep – B-
1999 Super Deluxe Edition – Prince – A+
One Little Soldier (From “Bombshell” the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – Regina Spektor – B
Walking Away (Music from the Original Amazon Series “Modern Love”) – Regina Spektor – C+
Born 2 Rap – The Game – B+
Blinding Lights – The Weeknd – B+
Heartless – The Weeknd – B+