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Be Here Early: Choice New Albums Reviewed 10-21-16 – 10-27-16



Joanne – Lady Gaga – Pop stars default used to be rock, now it is Americana. But will it sell? The excellent first single “Perfect Illusion” didn’t and if that didn’t, how will the album it came from manage to? Better than Born This Way and Artpop, it has the remnants of the little monsters superhero, tied to improved songwriting and improved singing, but a loosening grasp on the world of pop – B+

You Want It Darker – Leonard Cohen – If Cohen, a great poet poet, had won the nobel prize for literature, you’d have heard no complaints from me. He is also, along with Zimmy himself, the exception that proves the rule as to finite songwriting gifts. His last FOUR albums (yes, the live one as well), including this wintery work of dark beauty, have been masterful. Leonard has claimed to be ready for death, but for all his quiet I’ve turned my back on the devil Gospel endings here, he sounds a far way off – A-

Nobody But Me – Michael Buble – Buble continues to mix and match his own proto-American songbook songs, variants on the same old same old, and heartfelt change ups on classic rock. Like the worst version of “God Only Knows” ever  and the title track, which makes “It Hasn’t Happened Yet” sound like “Blue Indigo”- C-

saintmoteltelevision – Saint Motel – Saint Motel have been terrific at everything they’ve ever tried, and have brought glam rock to classic rock to EDM, where Holy Ghost! meets T-Rex. It’s a good place to be, and while sales haven’t caught up with them yet, this is the sort of terrific dance album that’s a product placement away from doing it for them. They break the pop charts they’ve always stood as their goal, right here – B+

Before The Flood – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Soundtrack to a global warming documentary. I’ve admired this duo’s electronic dreamscape soundtracks ever since “The Social Network”, they are one of the few people who perform incidental music I want to hear. With the help of Mogwai, here, it’s  a nervy, nightmare drone album that continues their unblemished legacy – B+

Lazarus – Various Artists – Remember Michael C. Hall? His mpressive performance as “Hedwig” on Broadway, had a lot of Bowie in it. Yeah, he is the real deal as the lead in David’s musical. These arranged for musical theatre  rock multi voices Bowie songs, refitted to a sequel to “The Man Who Fell To Earth” storyline, promises a great deal when the production finally reaches the Great White Way. The entire cast album was recorded the day after Bowie’s death… except for the three new songs, recorded at the same sessions that brought us Blackstar. The new “No Plan” is a standout of the new songs, and the other two final recorded performances resonate even further than musical, which resonates far enough – A-





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