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Going Steady: New Single Releases 8-13-21 – 8-20-21

GSD – Aitch – he is one of the UK’s top rappers who isn’t drill bound, this is mainstream, beats mastered, bar skipping self-portrait – B

Gangsta’s Paradise – Beenie Man, Vybz Kartel – no, not that one but some brilliant toasting by Beenie and pure dancehall from Vybz – B+

Little Things – Big Thief – a loud (relatively), folk jangler with a strange guitar sound and a weathered bed vocal – B+

Sparrow – Big Thief – a weirdo sounding folk pop and as annoying as humanly possibly when Lenker hits the rhymes – C-

All Things $ Can Do (with Travis Barker & Tove Styrke) – Cheat Codes – EDM track with the overextended Travis Barker and while Tove can sing it, she can’t save it – C+

Nothing Else Matters – Chris Stapleton – a credible blues take on the Metallica song – B

seasonal depression pt. 2 – Chynna – the late rapper with a sing-spoke broodiness – B+

Sent From Above – Dolly Parton –  her best song since, wow, 2011’s “In The Meantime,” the also faith based romance “Sent From Above”is a return to all her strengths. I’ve had my problems with Dolly partially because I find living icons always a little iffy, partially because while I enjoyed her 2016 gig at Forest Hills Stadium (here) I wasn’t that impressed, and partially because I disliked her last two albums, but here is lovely country pop – B+

Bad Habits (feat. Tion Wayne & Central Cee) [Fumez The Engineer Remix] – Ed Sheeran – As UK Drill becomes bigger and bigger, the ultra violent OG grime offshoot has jumped on a “Bad Habits” remix featuring Central Cee and Tion Wayne, all of whom drop their glocks to whine about their nightlives – B-

Cold Heart – PNAU Remix – Elton John, Dua Lipa – the 2012 remixes of Elton tracks is substantially better than this take on the 1989 “Sacrifice” with Dua interloping “Rocket Man” – C

I’m Leavin’ – Take 1 – Elvis Presley – this is from the five days he spent in Nashville in 1970, the original showed up on Now, and this take is better, a tear in the throat Roy Orbison vocal and just about perfect – A

Aquamarine – Hand Habits – I am not happy to announce that Robb Nanse, Saddle Creek boss, has lost his touch, no more Bright Eyes, or Cursive, or Azure Ray, but lots of dour indie Americana like current favorite Meg Duffy – C+

Que Locura – J Balvin – Balvin and Bad Bunny rule modern reggaeton, and this taster from his upcoming new album is urban trap, maybe a little generic but that’s the worst you can say – B

OUT OUT (feat. Charli XCX & Saweetie) – Joel Corry, Jax Jones -with a sample from a Eurotrash 80s hit, the song is hyper-pop by other means that should burn down the dancefloor if they rid themselves of the rap from Saweetie (Charli knows enough to play along) it will keep you moving – B+

All Of the Time – Jungle – from the UK, electronic neo soul – B-

Under My Skin – Katy B – her second single in five years is a disappointing r&b take when we want disco – B-

Pursuit of Happiness – Rap Version – Kool & The Gang – RIP MC Dennis Thomas, and while I can’t find it streaming, youtube have a version without the rap and it is better – B+

Love Me Now (feat. Zoe Wees) – Kygo – Avicii redux, again – C+

Think About You – Ladyhawke – not unpleasant tale of infatuation with an EDM twistiness – B

Rumors (feat. Cardi B) – Lizzo – if you don’t love Lizzo, surely you love Cardi B, and if the two together are missing something, please tell me what. The verses are ace and the horns are as in your face as the great women – A-

Songs You Never Heard – Luke Bryan – an ode to a dead friend and really the strong nostalgia and wistful melancholia are quite effective – B

papercuts – Machine Gun Kelly – Colson with a pretty good power pop rocker – B

You Signed Up For This – Maisie Peters – the Ed Sheeran signing is going to get big, bigger than this very strong, melodic pop song – B+

The Secret He Had Missed – Manic Street Preachers, Julia Cumming – typical, big sounding MSP – C+

Try – Live – Marshall Crenshaw – “Whether you’ve been a Crenshaw fan for 40 years or know little beyond “Someday, Someway,” this 2 CD set is a revelation. Disc one, recorded in 1982 and 1983, is filled with performances from radio shows in New York, Boston and New Jersey, and focuses largely on songs from his self-titled debut album and the follow-up, Field Day. Disc two, which Marshall curated himself, is a sampler of his work from the last 25 years, featuring live versions of songs that appeared on many different albums and EPs. On six tracks Crenshaw is ably backed by The Bottle Rockets, featuring the off-the-chain guitar” and this is the first single and it is maybe my third favorite off Field Day. Indeed, it sounds even better in 2021 where the kicker (he is gonna try till he dies, a lot closer for me now than then) is enjoined as the guitars ring, Steve’s production disappears and the “cmon” towards the end pushes the girl towards him – SINGLE OF THE WEEK – A

Long Tailed Winter Bird – Idris Elba Remix – Paul McCartney – not on the sad McCartney III Imagined, it beats Damon Albarn’s bleary eyed bummer mix and would stand as the album’s best moment if it was actually on the album…. oh and why isn’t Idris the new 007? Double oh, I just checked and it is also better than the original – B+

Nothing Else Matters – Phoebe Bridgers – a dreary and bad take on Metallica, kudos for taking a difficult root but she emerges with a bad song – D+

Can’t Let Go – Robert Plant, Alison Krauss – you may know Lucinda Williams version of the Randy Weeks song, Robert and Alison equal it with a rockabilly beauty of a take – A-

Pond House – Saint Etienne – Their PR company sent me an advanced copy of the upcoming album and I already love it, this is not the strongest song because its ambient mode overwhelms her mood, but having said that, of course I love Sarah Cracknell – B

Only Fanz (feat. Ty Dolla $ign) – Sean Paul – dancehall meets r&b – B-

Hey Nineteen – Live At The Met Philadelphia – Steely Dan – ho to the hum, from 2019 (though the album will also include The Nightfly, a show I saw in 2018 here), if they wrote it today they’d be cancelled – C+

Paradise – Sturgill Simpson – The John Prine song is better than I thought it was yesterday – B

Ball Is Life (feat. Jack Harlow) – Swae Lee – off Madden 22, I preferred Swae with Rae Sremmurd but it is catchy modern hip hop and Jack is sure on his way – B

Swinging At Shadows – The Cribs -these are the guys Johnny Marr joined for awhile, and the song is pretty good English clang rock – B

Motorheart – The Darkness – glam metal with a UK vibe that saves it from hair metal – B-

Redneck Be Like – Thomas Rhett -a tribute to country and the men raised in the Souths, and proud of it. Sure but buddy, just make sure you get your vaccine – B-

Gazillion Ear – Thom Yorke Man on Fire Remix – Thom Yorke, MF DOOM – the rap is the best of the week but the bleep and bloops don’t do it – C

Don’t Be Shy – Tiësto, KAROL G – more EDM meets Latin Urbano… I think this is the tenth I’ve heard this year – B-

Essence (feat. Justin Bieber & Tems) – Wizkid – The Afrobeats star hooks up with Bieber, who can sing anything at this point of his career and make it his own – B

Stubborn Pride (feat. Marcus King) – Zac Brown Band – a real shocker, this could be worse – C+

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