The Early Bird: Top New Releases 8-23-19 – 8-29-19 Reviewed
On Monday, Missy Elliott will be honored with the VMA Vanguard award, today she releases her first new recordings (more or less -plenty of featured performances, earlier this year with Lizzo, Missy killed) in fourteen years, the five song EP ICONOLOGY, four straight up bangers and an acapella take on the best one, “Throw Back,” is good, “Why I Still Love You” is a great song (Grade: A-). Wow, talk about being too loud, Taylor Swift has been banging the gong for her 63 minute, seventh album Lover, 18 song (and it doesn’t even include the Clean Bandit remix), monster. Like so many overlong albums by major artists, some of it is great (both “I Forgot That You Existed” and “Lover” are first tier Tay Tay) and some that should have been sold with the Target Deluxes (Grade: B+).
Staying with long players (if you’ll excuse the anachronism), Brockhampton’s Ginger is even longer than Swift, 22 songs and 73 minute latest release, but Brockhampton have a lot more players and it doesn’t flag as the most unusual boy band/hip hop band, it could have used more bangers from the ten piece band (Grade: B+). With just about every show Bruce has ever performed working its way onto his website (I bought about a dozen before I ran out of money), the concept, pull off killer live tracks from 40 plus years of tapes under some lame interlocking concept, it should be worthwhile your while and it is, the 1979 at MSG performance of “Rosalita” on The Live Series: Songs of Love is a six years in the making template, the actual show had the E Streeters performing the entire Wild Innocent album (when I saw em pull off the same trick at the same venue in 2009 here it was among the best shows I’ve ever seen) (Grade: B). The Drifters have another greatest hits out, Hits And Rarities, 30 songs, all fabulous (all: even stuff I didn’t know, like “Aretha”) and if they had just included a handful of tracks from their early 70s disco years I would be completely thrilled (Grade: B). Following the Elvis Presley live in Vegas in ’69 eleven concerts box set, here is American Sound 1969‘s 90 songs of rarities and unreleased from his legendary time at American Studio, the “Gentle On My Mind,” to name just one, is superb on a song already imprinted by Dean Martin and Glen Campbell (made me think of that terrific album of demos where Glen performed vocal tracking for Elvis), the soul stuff is ace, the “Hey Jude” an honor, and if you are not in the market for eleven takes of “In The Ghetto,” fuck you (Grade: A).
Over at singles, both of the Lana Del Rey songs, “Fuck It I Love You” and “The Greatest” are the definitions of deep album tracks that should have stayed there (Grade: B). da Baby’s remix of Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” is good enough to maybe push her to # 1 on the singles charts now Lil Nas X is out of the way (Grade: A-). I was never a huge Sonic Youth fan, they sucked at hooks entirely (well, not entirely), but kudos to Kim Gordon on both “Murdered Out” and “Sketch Artist”-the phasey latter is strong and tempo twisted and the former almost populist (Grade: B). One more: Sturgill Simpson, who has had the voice but whose material was spotty, absolutely kills it in the organ grinding, guitar buzzed, chorus do as it says best in class “Sing Along”. As far as country rock Americana goes, there hasn’t been a better example since Jason Isbell’s “24 Frames” (Grade: A)
GINGER – BROCKHAMPTON – B+
The Live Series: Songs of Love – Bruce Springsteen – B
American Sound 1969 – Elvis Presley – A
Murdered Out – Kim Gordon – B
Sketch Artist – Kim Gordon – B
Fuck It I Love You – Lana Del Rey – B
The Greatest – Lana Del Rey – B
Truth Hurts (DaBaby Remix) – Lizzo, DaBaby
ICONOLOGY – Missy Elliott – A-
Sing Along – Sturgill Simpson – A
Lover – Taylor Swift – B+
Hits And Rarities – The Drifters – B