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Brief Encounters: New Album Releases 8-27-21 – 9-2-21 Reviewed

Ye On Fire

One In A Million – Aaliyah – finally on streaming services, Aaliyah’s second and last album is a move forward from R.Kelly’s obsessiveness and into a satisfying harbinger of neo-R&B that was still twenty years away – A

Only Honest On The Weekend – Becky Hill – The former UK “The Voice” singer was born to sing on EDM tracks by the likes of Rudimental. On her first album she is all over it with at least three potential smashes as well as appearances by Tiesto, David Guetta and Ella Eyre. It’ll be huge in the UK – B

See You Next Wednesday – Belly – modern r&b and rap talent Belly with a modern hip hop album, is the Palestinian via Canada rapper’s feature crammed move onto the chart – A

How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last? – Big Red Machine – imagine if Gorillaz sang Damon Albarn solo material and had only one lead singer added, you might then have this snoozer – C+

Gotta Have the Rumble – Brian Setzer – The Stray Cat never changes, never grows older, but decade after decade defines rockabilly – B+

Screen Violence – CHVRCHES – Lauren Mayberry is such a whiny wretch I wouldn’t like the synth pop even if I liked them… which I don’t – D+

Diane Warren: The Cave Sessions, Vol. 1 – she has written for everyone from Aerosmith to Beyonce but they are all among the worst songs they’ve ever covered and the middle of the road songwriter never gets better – C-

Meanwhile EP – Gorillaz – the most overrated band in the world have a goodie rhythm joint with the title track – B-

If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power – Halsey – wanna break into a cold sweat? Imagine if Jack Antonoff and not half of Nine Inch Nails had produced it – A

Any Shape You Take – Indigo De Souza – from singer songwriter confessional “17” to hard rock shoe-gazey “Bad Dream,” Indigo has width but depth? Not so much – B-

CTV3: Day Tripper’s Edition – Jaden – a reworking of last year’s release, Jaden is sensitive and can sell it very well but he can also get a little boring – B

Saturday Night, Sunday Morning – Jake Bugg – I was expecting much worse from the boy who would be king but never made it and now is a man, these are clever pop rock tracks, test drive “All I Need” – B-

Donda – Kanye West – West’s best album since Yeezus, but so what does that mean? Public opinion and knee jerk music journalism be damned, Kanye has never released a bad album and Donda, named for his late mother, is far from it. A three pronged story of his late marriage, his late Mom, and his beloved Jesus (also a little late), moves back and forwards from doubt to deliverance. The last four songs send it into the stratospheres with “Jail Pt 2” and closer “Jesus Lord Pt 2” strong, strange and beautiful – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

The Greatest Hits (Part 1) – KURUPT FM – UK badass crossover garage rock meets rave and rap, it needs to be heard live on stage – B

We Love You Tecca 2 – Lil Tecca – emorap? Soundcloud? The last new rap sound? The eighteen year old rapper with a quite good, but not quite good enough, sophomore effort – B

History Of A Feeling – Madi Diaz – The Nashville singer songwriter with deep feel confessionals and emotional turbulence if that’s your thing – B-

You Signed Up For This – Maisie Peters – the Ed Sheeran find is a very good songwriter with witty and painful lyrics of boys and their gaslighting – A-

The Wild Exciting Sounds of Marshall Crenshaw: Live in the 20th and 21st Century – Marshall Crenshaw includes the best take on “Monday Morning Rock” I’ve ever heard and while I could have used more of those mid-10s EP tracks, at least we get “I Don’t See You Laughing Now” and his Elvis Presley take kinda makes up for it – A

The Complete Atlantic / Elektra Albums 1962-1983 – Moses Allison – the jazz guy pianist at the heart of his career – A

Muddy Waters: The Montreux Years (Live) – Muddy Waters – Waters at the festival three times in the 70s, with only sixteen tracks we deserve much more – A-

Infinity – Nicky Jam – another fine slice of reggaeton from the the Puerto Rican star, with the accent on rap and trap beats – B

Heartland – Nelly – the “Hot In Here” one and a half hit wonder gloms onto country crossover with the likes of Kane Brown and Florida Georgia Line, though at his best on the straightforward plus beats “5 Drinks Ago” – B

GEEZYWORLD – Ohgeesy – The Mexican-American member of Shoreline Mafia with features from daBaby to A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, on a collection of trap rap – B-

Human (Deluxe) – OneRepublic – Ryan Tedder at his Ryan Tederish. Look at it this way: the only featured artist is Kygo – MUST TO AVOID – D

Woman on the Internet – Orla Gartland – sure, I love “You’re Not Special, Babe”, and while nothing here quite matches it from the Irish singer songwriter it all has the same DNA – B+

Live At Electric Lady – Patti Smith – part of the Spotify series, and not bad at all. The “Birdland” is proforma and the Bob Dylan lovely and the rest is passable (except for the dreaded “Ghost Dance”) – B

All or Nothing – Rotimi – the actor recorded his debut during quarantine and releases an R&B album defined by melody and hip hop – B

NOEASY – Stray Kids – South Korean boy band, but like TXT the move away for the entire genre from middlebrow r&b to hard noise and pop affiliations is quite effective – B

Other You – Steve Gunn – another of those Neil Young wannabes, like Kurt Vile, with a low key collection but he might wanna go a bit crazy next time – B-

Superstate (feat. Graham Coxon) – Superstate – “The high-concept world of Superstate encompasses the pairing of an original album soundtrack of 15 new songs from Graham Coxon, with a graphic novel of 15 stories featuring the work of 15 artists”. Clearly, the Blur guitarist is a gifted man but his problem has always been song and the songs here are stupefying so who cares about the graphic novels? – C

“Feel Flows” The Sunflower & Surf’s Up Sessions 1969-1971 (Super Deluxe) – Alright, neither album is my favorite either though if you don’t wanna hear an early take on “Disney Girls” and “Cotton Fields” you’re a better man than I am – A-

Let It Be (2021 Mix) – The Beatles – a taster from the upcoming box set, the title track is a better version than the one we have, and the other two aren’t though they are still great – A

Bronx VI – The Bronx – the LA hard rockers, metaling their way through a full impact 36 minutes and with “Watering The Well” at the top of the list – B+

The Chaos Chapter: FIGHT OR ESCAPE – Tomorrow X Together – another K-Pop boy band with proggy concepts but not musically where they perform pop rock – B

Posh Pop – Toyah – you might remember her from “Jubilee” or from the mid-80s where she went from punk goddess to, well, Mrs. Robert Fripp. This is less posh and more artpop – B-

GLOW ON – TURNSTILE – breakthrough hardcore, metal crossover from the ready for their closeup rockers – B

Flag Day (Original Soundtrack) – Various Artists – Americana for the Sean Penn directed movie, kudos to Eddie Vedder’s kid Olivia for a terrific vocal on “My Father’s Daughter” – C+

Hitler Wears Hermes 8: Sincerely Adolf – Westside Griselda – I’ve remained resolutely unsure about Griselda Records and the boom bat revival of the 90s, it sounds alright but it isn’t memorable. There is too much of it. This isn’t bad, but it isn’t much – B-

Made In Lagos: Deluxe Edition – Wizkid – adds three songs to the already brilliant 2020 drop – A

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