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Brief Encounters: New Albums 11-3-23 – 11-9-23 Reviewed

Open Arms – The Symphonic Songbook – Alfie Boe – “Proud Mary”, “Wicked Game”, “Livin’ On A Prayer”? The lowbrow of highbrow middle of the road blandout – D-

Catch A Fire (50th Anniversary) – Bob Marley And The Wailers – if you are in the market for a song called “Stir It Up – Jamaican Extra Organ Version” have I got an album for you – A

Famous Last Words – CASISDEAD – adds synth pop to dark and stormy rap tracks going clickety clack like a high hat on a trap board. The rapping is great as well – B+

Believe (25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) – Cher – the hit album plus 12 remixes – B-

Hold Your Love Still – Christian Kjellvander – if Scott Walker was a deeply depressed Swede mining Americana moodiness he might’ve sounded like this – B+

Who We Used To Be (Deluxe) – James Blunt – opening for Ed Sheeran at Barclay Center, James was charm defined. On record he is a moist toilette – C-

Highway Desperado – Jason Aldean – sure, he is a redneck dickhead and absolutely “Try That In A Small Town” is brutal, but “Tough Crowd” isn’t terrible -everything else? Pretty terrible – D+

Equal Strain On All Parts – Jimmy Buffett – Jimmy has had maybe six great songs in his entire career and while this doesn’t add to the great segment it certainly is good enough to do the job as a last word. As final albums go, Jimmy delivered – B

Spirit Power: The Best of Johnny Marr – Johnny Marr – the recipient of the NME “Godlike Genius” award, he can play a mean Rickenbacker with some of the chimes of power pop and some of the indie rock and none of which would mean a thing if it wasn’t for the Smiths – C

GOLDEN – Jung Kook – a BTS solo album, they are propping up, and it is electronic dance pop but not much more – C+

Los Angeles – Lol Tolhurst, Bobby Gillespie, Budgie, Jacknife Lee – a who’s who of post punk merge together on an album so good it is shockingly good, the singles leading up were all ace and here the boys of new Wave come together on a terrific sound with remarkable orchestration (try “This Is What It Means To Be Free”) meshing of the Cure, the Banshees and Primal Scream – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

NO BLUES – Los Campesinos – put the English guys along with Steve Earle, somebody you give up on and they’ve yet to reach the absolute genius of “You’ll Need Those Fingers For Crossing” again and this album is a nothing special indie rock – C

In Utero (30th Anniversary Super Deluxe) – Nirvana – one of the greatest albums ever, remastered, two live concerts, and no demos, etc… go figure – B+

The Masterplan (Remastered) – Oasis – one of their best albums and a compilations of B Sides and EP tracks. But this isn’t deluxe and it adds nothing to the proceedings. Still, a great album worth another listen – A

Bauhaus Staircase – Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – for one hit wonders (“Enola Gay”) the duo have been at it for forty years and while this isn’t a great album it is melodic, energetic, beautiful electronic dream album – B

Rock Me – Sister Rosetta Tharpe – “She would sing until you cried and then she would sing until you danced for joy. She helped to keep the church alive and the saints rejoicing.” 28 songs – A+

Accentuate The Positive – Van Morrison – Van takes on 50s rock and roll and wins, which is only natural because if anybody got Chuck Berry (represented by “Bye Bye Johnny”) it is this guy. Just one of a slew of classic rockers by a great – A

Priscilla (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – Various Artists – I didn’t think much of the movie, proximity to greatness does not imbue greatness, and it is beyond self-serving as it ignores Priscilla Presley’s own infidelities to better draw a villainous Elvis. The soundtracks has moments, who doesn’t want to hear “Sweet Nothings” again, but zero point zero Elvis – C+


  1. Jicks on November 8, 2023 at 12:50 am

    On what planet are OMD a “one-hit wonder”? They’ve sold 40 million records and are one of the most influential electronic bands of their time.

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