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Be Here Now: Top New Releases Reviewed 3-23-18 – 3-29-18

Jack White’s Boarding House Reach isn’t a terrible album, it might not even be a bad one, but it is an over the top, egotistical, filled with failed experiments (“Abulia And Akrasia” followed by “Hypermisophoniac” stops the album dead in its tracks), and second rate blues rockers (“Connected Love”) and Americana (“What’s done Is Done”). The trick with a Jack White is to imagine how you’d like it if you had never heard him before. I wouldn’t like it much. Grade: C+. You can’t imagine never having heard of Neil Young on the soundtrack to his girlfriend Daryl Hannah directed eco-sci-fi movie Paradox. It is mostly useless, though “Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground” -sung by Willie nelson. Grade: C.

Panic! At The Disco has two new singles, “Say Amen (It’s Saturday Night)” is a pleasantly ineffectual rave up (Grade: B-) and “(Fuck A) Silver Lining” sounds like Fall Out Boys (Grade: C+). The David Guetta and Sia “Flames” isn’t “Titanium,” but it is catchy and effective lo impact but ear candy. Grade: B. Two more, Shawn Mendes isn’t my scene, but the sex megajam and love “In My Blood” is a goodie (grade: B). “I Like It When We’re Together” is Joan Armatrading at her best, decades in and she is the same bruised wine singer who has that rare skill: she writes memorable songs and sings them straight up. Grade: B+. “‘Til It’s Over” proves the difficulties of a long career for even a real talent like Anderson. Paak, this is a pleasant r&b love track with sting where you don’t expect em and a sweet beat but a whole lotta cmon guy, it

Speaking of 70s icons, Don Mclean has lasted a lifetime on “American Pie” and “And I Love You So” (Presley covered the latter), but he has never really nailed it since then, Botanical Gardens is singer songwriter stuff which reaches its nadir early with “A Total Eclipse Of The Sun”. Grade: C-, Another singer songwriter, George Ezra, is as good as his voice on Staying At Tamara’s, memorable, pleasant, a little on the vanilla side. Grade: C+. Diplo isn’t as prolific as you think he is, he is all over the place but not much comes under his own name. So the EP California, strong EDM and stronger, frontline, rappers Lil Yachty, Desiigner, DRAM, and more, plus Santigold on one song and Mo on the other, makes for an excellent feature packed EP. Grade: B+. Finally, the buzz on Sunflower Bean’s Twentytwo In Blue has been loud and clear, modern psychedelia meets garage guitar rock and a step beyond their debut. I need a couple of more listens, but “I’m A fool” is a way forward for em. Grade: B

David Guetta And Sia – Flames – B

Diplo – California – B+

Don McLean – Botanical Gardens – C-

George Ezra – Staying At Tamara – C+

Jack White – Boarding House Reach – C+

Joan Armatrading – I Like It When We’re Together

Neil Young – Paradox – C

Panic! At The Disco – (Fuck A) Silver Lining – C+

Panic! At The Disco – Say Amen (It’s Saturday Night) – B-

Shawn Mendes – In My Blood – B-

Sunflower Bean – Twentytwo In Blue

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