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Be Here Now: New Albums 2-14-20 – 2-20-20 Reviewed


Artist 2.0 – A Boogie Wit da Hoodie – A Boogie is a master rap and r&b singer with 20 Hot 100 singles and a # 1 album, the man can write songs and the proof is he gets Lil Uzi Vert on two tracks, daBaby on another and Roddy Ricch (who has owned 2020)  on the fourth, and they aren’t even the best. The problem with state of the art hip hop is it trips over songs and Boogie never does, he writes the songs and this sequel is better than the first, which was very good as well. Though the elements are the same, autotune, manufactured beats, dank samples, and hooks, there is a natural skill at writing  subdued bangerz and the first six songs are as great an opening as I’ve heard all year – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A-

Hecho En México – Alejandro Fernandez – traditional Ranchera music, very much like mariachi but not just ranchera as it adds Mexican traditional genres to the songs formed around a single voice – B+

Step Away – Alan Fitzpatrick – booming beats from a UK DJ manufactured purely as uber tech house for the dancefloor – B

Legal at Last – Anvil – no not that legal, drinking age legal, on a strong and extremely old fashioned UK style heavy metal from the Canadian giants. Have they really learnt nothing in all these years? – B

Balance (Remixes, Pt. 3) – Armin van Buuren – from a man whose wheelhouse is all trance all the time, he is always better when he turns to hpouse. Here he remixes his dance tracks and if that’s your scene no one does it better but the problem with trance remains the same, shitty songs and great drums and bass explosions- C+

Teenage Wildlife: 25 Years of Ash – Ash – their second and third albums from 1996 and 1998 were both great rethinkings of Brit Pop as a Brit rock trio with tunes to die for, and the next coupla decades they’ve continued to push but it has been a musical cul de sac and the 54 song, nearly four hour box set fails to make the case for them, or at least completely make the case. What it proves is that the Irish trio who have played together since 1989 are more than “Girl From Mars” by a long shot – B

Diamonds in the Rough – Avenged Sevenfold – the metalcore boys took the pop world by surprise and their last album was a smash hit, and this one which finds them continuing towards a progcore basis should do well – C

Honeymoon – Beach Bunny – Lili Trifilio is bedroom pop and more because she knows how to capture illusive and shared romantic dealings with a straight aim to their jangly, clangy power pop embellishments – B+

Two Tails & The Dirty Truth of Love & Revolution – Blackwater Conspiracy – the classic rockers, sterling electric guitar rock sound remains very effective on their sophomore effort… they must be titanic on stage – B

The Live Series: Songs Under Cover – Bruce Springsteen – Steve Crawford on the Boss’s cover of “Stayin’ Alive”: “It’s like some insane combination of disco, free jazz, and Isaac Hayes during his blaxploitation period” – B+

Life Goes On – Carla Bley, Andy Sheppard, Steve Swallow – smooth jazz by the trio now in its 25th year and composed by Carla herself – B+

Carly Pearce – Carly Pearce – the other side of the Brandi Carlile-ing  of country is a mainstream pop artist like Carly average to less than average, modern produced but old fashioned songs of stamina and coolness on her second effort  – C+

What’s Tonight to Eternity – Cindy Lee – Patrick Flegel’s  band are a gothic bad vibe built around synths and guitars – B-

Is It Any Wonder? – David Bowie – “Baby Universal ’97” is superb, otherwise these outtakes from songs recorded in  November 1996 during rehearsals for his 50th birthday concert at Madison Square Garden) could have stayed on a new album release of hits instead of having a spotlight turned on em. Incidentally, I was out the MSG gig and it sucked big time  – B-

Lotus – Dubfire – dubstep bass and drums and Kate Elsworth’s breathy and ethereal singing – B

no future – EDEN – dramatic sadcore by a kid with a chip on his shoulder – C+

Trap & B – Fetty Wap – excellent trap pop EP, if it doesn’t break anew,  Fetty needs a Plan B – B+

Tormented – Gary Wilson – a great American original, he makes everything sound off hand and amateur and it isn’t, it’s an illusion of sing song weirdness and nursery rhyme dance grooves from the maladjusted master. At his best, like this one and Electric Endicott, he is the only one who can do it – A-

Power Through Terror – Great American Ghost do you really want metal with a screamo right in your face and pounding drums like a smack in the head. Well, do you punk? – B

Anywhere But Here – Habibi – girl band lo-fi songs that veer away from romantic blah words, though the album can’t maintain its quiet intensity. It needs something, maybe more clearly intense vibes  – B-

New Empire, Vol. 1 – Hollywood Undead – with Benji Madden and Kellin Quinn (of Sleeping with Sirens) featured, this rap rock album is a professional job on one of the worst genre’s of music ever – C

Weather – Huey Lewis & The News – Two albums, Sports and Fore, do not a career make… or does it? I don’t resent Huey managing a career out of it, but I don’t enjoy it either. Now that Lewis is going deaf he claims this is the end and it is about exactly as good as anything he has done since 1986 – C

Winter Nights – Jody Watley – she will always be the Shalamar singer for me, though this mixed genre beats and r&b and smooth jazz is pleasant – B-

Changes – Justin Bieber – “Intentions” and “Available” maybe strong enough to carry the album of uxorious tall tales that isn’t save by the likes of Travis Scott, Post Malone, Post Malone and Summer Walker – B-

Loom – Katie Gately – Bjork remixer has a sound thriller of her own – B

Cheap Queen (Deluxe) – King Princess – Four of the five additional  songs are the best of the album and “All Dressed In White” is the best of the best, up there with “Pussy Is God” – B+

Love Regenerator 2 – Love Regenerator, Calvin Harris – more of the same house music – B+

Brand New – Matthew West – Christian Contemporary dog with fleas – MUST TO AVOID – D

ALL ABOUT LUV (Extended Version) – Monsta X – South Korea boy band who aren’t BTS – C+

Dark Matter – Moses Boyd – UK jazz drummer takes three songs to wake up and then it isn’t worth the wait – C

And It’s Still Alright – Nathaniel Rateliff – It is hard to deny Nat his success as an Americana break through artist, so don’t deny it. Also, don’t listen to it – C-

New Hope Club – New Hope Club – UK boy band Zayn like guys in lipstick – C+

Paul Carrack Live: The Independent Years, Vol. 2 (2000 – 2020) – Paul Carrack – more live takes from his back catalog though if he can’t sell “Into The Mystic” maybe the moment has passed – C

Forward Motion Godyssey – Post Animal – hard rocking but it doesn’t rock hard enough for 2020 – C+

Secret Level – No Mana – not bad trance and house – B-

Silhouettes – Shadow Show -the trio dress like 60s sirens and sound like the Bangles fronting Ash – B

Sweetie – Steve Buscemi’s Dreamy Eyes – low key, lo fi, pop from Sweden with the best band name ever – B-

STOP STARING AT THE SHADOWS – $uicideBoy$ -sar rap by the duo, who perform twelve songs in 27 minutes and are disquieting and upset as fuck – B

The Slow Rush – Tame Impala – The Australian psyche rockers were always a little wearying with only “The Less I Know The Better”  breaking through, here Kevin is the same only worse and quieter – C+

Swimmer – Tennis – soft rock lives or is that Yacht rock? Pleasant though bland – B-

Mercy – The Men – Americana if Americana rocks hard – C+

Burst & Decay (Volume II) – The Wonder Years – a tedious, plodding rock bore – C-

Hopeless Romantic – Tink – The Timbaland find has an interesting, light yet with feeling voice though her songs are r&b by the numbers – C+

Baby Gravy 2 – Yung Gravy, bbno$ – Minnesota rapper who is nothing but fun and easy going, pleasant raps well versed and well flowed – B

Ecstatic Science – yMusic – you might remember the Chamber ensemble from their rerecording with Paul Simon of “Can’t Run But,” on a solo album they are a beautiful bore – B-

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist: Season 1, Episode 1 (Music From the Original TV Series) – Cast of Zoe – I’ve seen the first episode of the NBC romcom meets Dennis Potter, and “True Colors” goes from asinine to moving when you see Peter Gallagher perform it pon the show. So this stuff can’t be judged out of context though out of context the always excellent Skylar Astin (perfect in “Pitch Perfect”) is the best thing about the show with “I Think I Love You”. The premise, an accident during an MRI allows Jane Levy to read people’s deepest feelings through songs performed by the person that only Jane lives. I thought it was stupid as well but they may pull it off – C

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