The Early Bird: Top New Releases 8-31-18 – 9-6-18
Three big albums at the top of this end of summer Friday.
Imagine if Jay Z had followed 4:44 with The Blueprint 4 and you’ll have a good idea as to what Eminem has pulled off on his surprise new album, Kamikaze. Not woke at all, Em is furious over the frankly naff Revival stiffing and has resurrected Slim Shady to take down names. Donald Trump is a gimme (Shady calls him an evil serpent), but Lil Pump, Lil Xan and Lil Yachty? All in the FIRST song. And my personal fave, r&b singer Jessie Reyez. is on two (great) tracks. If this isn’t a hit it sure ain’t Eminem’s fault, it means he has lost his fanbase and can’t add to it. After his terrible performance at Governors Ball, I counted him out. Well, he is back in (Grade: A-) .
I’ve been gagging to hear King of the Road: Tribute to Roger Miller since the Brad Paisley cover dropped, a week later Loretta Lynn’s cover made it onto my top singles of the year. And sure, it is one of country music’s greatest songwriters so we expect it to be great, so it is great to announce that it is great. Whether discovered Roger, Willie, and Merle, on “Old Friends,” or being happily surprised by Eric Church, Dwight Yoakam, and Lyle Lovett’s excellent, excellent, excellent “England Swings”, it is a a real treat. (Grade: A)
The third of the biggies is the poster boy for 20Gayteen, Troye Sivan. I admit to being a little late to the dance here (this years “My My My!” turned me around), and listening to his debut album, Bloom, I got him wrong again, he is a singer songwriter confessional, aesthetically not a million miles away from Hayley Kiyoko if Hayley was Sufjan Stevens. It is a fabulous album, you know, one of those FIRST ALBUMS first albums, except it’s his second. This is pop music at its very best , if you’re wondering where to start, start with “The Good Side” (Grade: A-).
On to singles, “BEBE” isn’t “FEFE” and I know 6ix9ine is a poster boy for really, really bad behavior, and i also know “BEBE,” featuring Latin Trap star Anuel AA, is a perfect hybrid Latin pop sound and it deserves to be huge (Grade: A). David Guetta is prepping us for his new album and I haven’t bought in till “Don’t Ever Leave Me,” sung by the UK’s speed dial whenever you want to improve a dance track by a killer vocal Anne-Marie. Her current album is good not great, unlike this terrific single hooklined song where the bridge is as catchy as the chorus (Grade: A- ). Kanye West passes the test on “XTCY,” the drug test where he gets 100% on this funny and playful single about jerking off to your sister-in-laws’ pictures (Grade: A-). Last time we heard from Young Dolph he was on his back in front of the Lowes, shot but not gone. That was last September and apparently it hasn’t hurt his skills on “Major” -a trap beat nightmarescape song featuring Key Glock (Grade: B+).
Till we round up everybody next week, two really good rock albums. Aaron Lee Tasjan’s Karma For Cheap. You may remember Aaron from Semi-Precious Weapons (the songwriter and Lady Gaga buddy Justin Trantner’s first band), well, this isn’t glam, it is hard hitting classic rock, try the George Harrisonish “If Not Now When” (Grade: B+). I realize we are all well over Big Red Machine and we have barely heard from em. It is all too Monsters Of Folks, a National plus the head of Bon Iver… nah. IThe self named debut isn’t bad, a bit of a snooze but not offensively so, and the sound while not close to Bon Iver’s brilliant last one, is experimental and interesting. They don’t sustain the first two songs true, though it pulls you through in the end (Grade: B)
BEBE – 6ix9ine, Anuel AA – A
Karma For Cheap – Aaron Lee Tasjan
Big Red Machine – Big Red Machine – B
Don’t Ever Leave Me – David Guetta, Anne-Marie – A-
Kamikaze – Eminem – A-
XTCY – Kanye West – A-
Bloom – Troy Sivan – A-
King of the Road: Tribute to Roger Miller – Various Artists – A
Major – Young Dolph, Key Glock – B+