The Early Bird: Top New Releases 4-3-20 – 4-9-20 Reviewed
The return of both singles and hip hop superstars today. Drake dropped a snippet of his addictive dance -and I mean dance, it is a song with dance moves that happened on Tik Tok before its official release, “Toosie Slide” has low key, r&b, trap beat longings added to Drake’s discombobulated boast (a big boast, “I can dance like Michael Jackson”) and it is born for sharing from a great distance. The first Coronavirus dance craze made purely for the Coronavirus dance craze with “It go right foot up, left foot, slide, Left foot up, right foot, slide” is a doozy. By the way, some house Drake has there, a humongous hit on its way (Grade: B+)
Still on rap superstar new singles, Da Baby is no Drake, the zeitgeist found Da Baby but Drake is the zeitgeist, and DaBaby on his latest single “Find My Baby” sings on the chorus -a big change, and he also seems to be dealing out with heartbreak and how all the praise in the world can’t make you into a star if the one you want ain’t there: new territory, indeed (Grade: B+). The third of the big drops is Future’s “Tycoon” state of Future, his first not featured single this year, and it sounds exactly like Atlanta: a woozy, trap backed track with a very strong chorus though I’d really rather not hear the “‘Til they throw the sheets on me, I’m goin’ crazy” line as he counts his millions (Grade: B).
Over at albums, Phish drops a surprise with Sigma Oasis to help us through isolation and while, sure, an Americana rock album ain’t gonna compare to their live jams, it is relatively good with the excellent song of the moment the twelve minute “Everything’s Right” ascending to capture a sense of hope (Grade: B). EDM DJ and producer (and scion of Benihana owner) Steve Aoki gets so many featured stars on his new album it is gilding the lily -I mean Icona Pop, Monsta X, even Maluma makes sense but Sting and Zooey Deschanel? It is state of the art if the art is 2017 (Grade: C). Chuck D’s attempt to deny his firing Flava Flav backfired bad, despite Flava appearing on one track on Enemy Radio’s excellent debut album, Loud Is Not Enough. It is a set of increasingly angry and well spit pure rap and beats with dancehall rasta vibes throughout, Chuck is at the height of his skills, and, to be clear, Chuck sounds better with Flava on the track that features Flav (Grade: B+).
Back at singles, Loretta Lynn had a memoir of her friendship with Patsy Cline published earlier this week and dropped a cover of Patsy’s huge “I Fall To Pieces,” performed with impeccable phrasing and delivery: two legends for the price of one. If you have heard Loretta’s 1977 cover (on her Sings Patsy Cline record), this one is, remarkably, even better (Grade: A). Nick Lowe has another of his 60s-50s quiet rocking Americana glory with “Lay It On Me Baby” with Hank Marvin-y guitar solo (Grade: B+). The 1975 have been teasing their upcoming album for months with each song completely different then the one before it and then they got caught in the turmoil known as 2020. I doubt I’ll be taking my great-niece to see em in late May and what is unfortunate is their latest single, “Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America” is the best so far, another left turn with a Wilco circa Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Americana track sound (Grade: B+). Troye Sivan, the Gayteen of the previous decade, has grown up with a bang on the catchy neo-r&b pop “Take Yourself Home” (Grade: B).
Sam Hunt is a country singer populist whose “Body Like A Back Road” – already three years old and featured here, put him at the top of the food chain, the girl in the song comes from the title place of his sophomore album six years after his debut, SOUTHSIDE. Overwrought for what it is, there is the occasional gem, try “Hard To Forget” ( Grade: B-). M Ward is consistently downbeat and Migration Stories, dealing with his thanatological and transmogrified thoughts, is low key and a little boring with melodies bursting through here and there (Grade: B-)
Find My Way – DaBaby – B+
Toosie Slide – Drake – B+
Loud Is Not Enough – Enemy Radio – B+
Tycoon – Future – B
I Fall To PIeces – Loretta Lynn – A
Migration Stories – M. Ward – B-
Lay It On Me Baby – Nick Lowe – B+
Sigma Oasis – Phish – B
SOUTHSIDE – Sam Hunt – B-
Neon Future IV – Steve Aoki – C+
Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America – The 1975 – B+
Take Yourself Home – Troye Sivan – B