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Be Here Now: New Album Releases 11-26-18 – 12-6-18

DUMMY BOY – 6ix9ine – The reviews have been terrible, but an album that opens with “STOOPID” and follows it with “FEFE” can’t be that bad,. Rather, with 69 now seen as a  poser who got into rap as an afterthought, and is currently in jail and likely to be in prison, for decades, why not kick a kid when he’s down. Nobody claims Dummy Boy is a masterpiece, but to deny its pop stroke and youthful cynicism is a mistake – B

The Pains Of Growing – Alessia Cara – a giant leap forward for the woman who won best newcomer at the 2017 Grammys. Sure, perhaps a 22 year old should be a little past growing pains, but the single “Not Today” was no fluke and this entire album moves from there to one singer songwriter pop r&b after another – B+

Sex, Dope & Cheap Thrills – Big Brother & The Holding Company, Janis Joplin – At the time, Cheap Thrills  was Janis Joplin getting ready to overshadow herself with an only OK blues jam band behind her. 50 years later and the entire album feels major and the different takes on “Summertime” and “I Need To A Man To Love” and “Piece Of My Heart” will completely blow you away – A

Feed the Fire – BillyBio – The lead singer of Biohazard goes solo on ta loud fast agitprop , sure it’s all a little obvious but Billy’s right, freedom isn’t free – B

Streams Of Thought Vol. 2 – Black Thought, Salaam Remi – The Roots rapper is so sincere it makes your teeth ache, but credit where due: anytime they nail it at under two minutes is a swift kick up the tush – B-

Look – Blake Mills – Ambient from an LA session guy – C+

The Live Series: Songs of the Road – Bruce Springsteen – Always a pleasure to hear “Out On The Street” even if it is no more a song for the road then, say “New York Serenade”. Oh, and “Open All Night” live performed as a honky tonkin rockabilly rave up… not much compared to the original, but the same can be said of most stuff here. The thing is, Bruce live is about accumulating vibes through a long night, it functions much less well out of context – B-

Bitter-Sweet – Bryan Ferry – Ferry worked with Netflix on the Weimar republic “Babylon Berlin” and here is the music, 20-30s era jazz arrangements of some songs from Ferry’s back pages – C+

What Is Love? (Deluxe) – Clean Bandit – nearly an hour of EDM from the popular UK producers, they’ve even broken pop here from time to time. Clean Bandit are never bad, this isn’t bad, all of it is pleasant enough… but they are never great either – B-

The Plan – DaniLeigh – The choreographer turned to hip hop has skills, but not enough to make these electronic soul songs worth your while – C+

Glastonbury 2000 (Live) – David Bowie – Bowie’s problem as a live act was always that he was over processed, he could be great but he could be too affected. Here he is a touch too affected – B

Dumplin’ Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Dolly Parton – six of the songs are re-recordings, six are new, and 12 are outtakes and remixes. Linda Perry is co-producing, and the one with Sia is the best – B-

Some Rap Songs – Earl; Sweatshirt – I’m addicted to “The Bends” -that’s the one one with sheep bleating, also addicted to the awesomely different idea to put Flying Lotus worthy backing tracks to short (less than two minutes) songs. Sure, he has gone from killing to confused, but the change has done him good – A-

’68 Comeback Special (50th Anniversary Edition) – Elvis Presley – this 105 song, 50th anniversary box set hits me as the greatest live album of all time with the possible exception of James Brown Live At The Apollo – A+

Ex-Re – Ex Re -Elena Tonra,  lead singer of Daughter’s songs here are about the end of a relationship and are majorly slow, sad, and upsetting, but unified, the songs are strong enough to fend for themselves, and though the result is majorly depressing, the aftertaste is deeply satisfying – B+

One Night Only (Live At The Royal Albert Hall/02 April 2018) – Gregory Porter -Of the first three songs, twi are best known by nat King Cole, and if that hasn’t proven bad enough to leave you heading for the next album, this lovely live take from  the warm voiced jazz singer will keep you the rest of the way. Given the oom pah bnartitone it is a wonder he does quiet so well… Oh, by the way, his last album was all NKC classics – B

Warm – Jeff Tweedy – I don’t much care for Tweedy, but this soft focus Americana is really lovely and pleasant – B+

DiCaprio 2 – JID – He sounds a lot like a junior varsity Lil Wayne, good flow, but the songs don’t click hard enough – C+

Kaskade Christmas 2018 – Kaskade – From that first sleigh bell, I wanna punch someone IN HE NOSE -. MUST TO AVOID . – D-

Street Gossip – Lil Baby -In a strong week for rap, Lil baby beats out Meek Mill on an excellent run through raps, that punch with a light jab on terrific stuff like the best song of the week “Pure Cocaine” and first runner up “Crush A Lot” -completely excellent. As good as his Gunna collab earlier this year, this is a straight fellow, heavy duty melodies aiming for the charts. First rate – A-

Global Citizen – EP 1 – Los Unidades – Lame world music, the one that samples Nelson Mandela makes me wanna puke – C

Championships – Meek Mill – Sure “Millidelphia” was a goodie, Meek always has his moments, about three a year, this one has the Cardi B song and after that I can’t find a damn thing – C

Punk Rawk Christmas – MxPx – Old school pop punk like Superchunk meet the Vandals – B

Songs for Judy – Neil Young – Acoustic set from 1976… the Judy is Judy garland, not that it matters – B-

Queen (Deluxe) – Nicki Minaj – Goes on and on, occasionally for good reason and way too often spinning its wheels, even the Lil Wayne song doesn’t cut it – C+

Rare Gifts – Purple Dialect – purple dialect makes sp404 beats and raps, very ambient and quiet

Loser – Sasha Sloan -a lovely, melancholic singer songwriter songs to get depressed by – B

STOKELEY – Ski Mask The Slump God – SoundCloud grows up, some of this is soulful, some of this is speedy raps,  the flow is immaculate, the featured stars (Lil Baby and Juice WRLD -two of my personal faves) is ace, and “Get Geeked” nothing if not a great song name – B+

A Beautiful November – SoMo – Youtube sensation offers some standard issue but not bad r&b, heavy on the autotune – B-

Nights Like – Stefan James – “The EP is about nights without self-control, loving the moment and then hating myself after. The songs were inspired by the internal struggle of leaving one addiction for another. Searching for the poison that makes the antidote.” SO a not bad slice of anhedonia cloaked in r&b – B-

Odyssey – Take That – The old school boy band that gave Robbie Williams his start remix some hits and add some others on a compilation – B

A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships – The 1975 – Of their three albums, the one before is the best, here they get mired in their own ambitions and become  sluggish at times – B

11 – Trey Songz –  Slow jamz with hip hop elements, Trey managed to ruin Teddy Riley on one – C

28 – Trey Songz – Many more featured artists, but the same bore – C

Nobody’s Everything – Tucker Beathard – Strong, country rock balladeering – B

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