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Be Here Early: Choice New Albums Reviewed 11-4-16 – 11-10-16

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Here – Alicia Keys – The first two songs, “Gospel” and “Pawn It All” are as strong as Alicia will ever get -a strong Gospel-R&B hybrid. Everything else is dreadful. The spoken word interludes, the blues, the piano parts, the hectoring, all of it puts the fear of an unforgiving god right atcha just like those bloody awful pictures of Keys without her makeup on  – C-

This House Is Not For Sale – Bon Jovi – Jon comes up with a hard rockin’ album after years of trying to replicate the crossover appeal of “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” (from 2005!) and failing miserably. Odd that he should come out with his hardest rocker in years “Living With The Ghost” without Richie Sambora, not odd that nothing else much sticks, not even the “Rockin’ In The Free World” knockoff “Knockout”  – C-

The Heavy Entertainment Show – Robbie Williams – There is one on every Robbie album, here it is “Motherfucker” -an ode to his son that rhymes “nutter” with the title and makes it stick. Nothing else comes close unless you’re English and have a Williams fetish… Put on “Mixed Signals” and tell me whether it is better or worse than the new Bon Jovi – C+

Collages EP – The Chainsmokers – A sign of the time, the EDM duo who have spent the last ELEVEN weeks at the top of the Billboard charts with “Closer”, put the nail in the coffin of album artists everywhere as they still haven’t released one. Instead, we get this five song EP, two of which have already scaled the charts. But maybe they are onto something, five songs is just enough to have these EDM pop tracks spinning into infinity forever. All of it is well crafted and effortlessly clever pop moments, the other three songs, one of which is already released as a single, should do very well – B

Now That’s What I Call Country # 1s – Various Artist – Conservative, tired, fake, and flimsy, everything that made country dead is here. They are like sincere shysters, using the country songwriting mill to add hip hop production scales drum  pop moves with a twang and feigned stories of apple pie and heartache. From Carrie Underwood to Jason Aldean, Brad Paisley to Hunter Hayes, this is dreck. An exception? Miranda Lambert’s track is real good – D

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