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Going Steady: New Singles 1-17-20 – 1-23-20 Reviewed


Dead Man Walking (feat. Future) – 2 Chainz, Future – It’s not naturally easy to use Future in songs, he isn’t like a Snoop whose mere presence changes a trajectory, and hard on the heels of his track with Drake last week, this is a 2 Chainz snooze that never lets loose – C

Demons – Alec Benjamin – Alec went from handing out CDs in parking lots to modern soft rock dream songs like this – B-

Season Of The Flood – Alexisonfire – melodic metal with an industrial EDM undertow – B-

Not So Bad – Anna Burch – a soft pop sweet nothing, as medium cool as its title but better sung and more positive reinforcement – B+

Amenawon – Antibelas -over eight minutes and the afrobeats are sure in short supply – C+

The Disease – Anti-Flag – These guys dropped the great “Christian Nationalist”  last year, and here is the fourth song off the anti-Trump 20/20 Vision,  and it’s not very hot punk as written – C+

Memories Of An Old Emotion – Azusa – metalcore supergroup veers between shoegaze and screamo, I kid you not – B

Cloud 9 – Beach Bunny – excellent pop punk melody track with a slamming backbeat – B+

Uneventful Days – St. Vincent Remix – Beck, St. Vincent -Beck has three great albums to his name, St. Vincent has much less, and together they are quirk beats anonymous – C-

Everything Has Changed – Best Coast – Not the knockout “For The First Time” was, you have to hang around for the chorus for the jingle jangle to announce itself – C+

me & ur ghost – blackbear – five years on, he is the progenitor of all things soft indie pop, adds a rap in the middle here – B

I Fall in Love Every Night – Born Ruffians – very dramatic indie rockers nail it down, more or less – B-

Black Swan – BTS – The thing about K-Pop is that, while no more a con than any other mainstream pop music, it feels desperately manufactured with too many singers and the hands of Sony Korea incubating pre-teens in herds and sending them out to sell fair to middling r&b. This is no exception and it feels manufactured – B-

Wine Low – Bunji Garlin, Fay-Ann Lyons – so far, the 2020s have been a big decade for Caribbean music, a terrific compilation two weeks ago, Skip Marley, Buju Banton and now the soca killa guy Bunji with a goodie – B+

Sandcastles – Cable Ties – punky agitprop about rebellion and its limitations – B-

Phantom Friend – Chris Farren – dreamy indie pop – B

Underneath – Code Orange – Once caught these punks at Warped, they were just about this good then as well – C+

Prism – Cold Beat – synth pop 80s style – C+

Become A Mountain – Dan Deacon – electronic prog pop – B-

I Can’t Read ’97 – David Bowie – I preferred the Tin Machine take, and I loath Tin Machine. Apparently, there is an album of unreleased songs on the way from rehearsals for his (terrible) 1996 50th birthday gig, and another – an EP of six songs being released one at a time – C

BUSSIT – Dreamville, Ari Lennox – SZA, Noname, H.E.R. -them we know, but Ari has been an also ran, except this release is an excellence slice of hip hop r&b which ups Ari into the major leagues – B+

Still Up – Dreamville, EARTHGANG, REASON – J. Cole’s label, iffy rap and pop track – C+

Thoughts And Prayers – Drive-By-Trucker – It has been eleven years since I was a big fan, this second song off their upcoming state of the union album, positions the cliche of concern from politicians because they don’t like guns, neither do I and this song won’t do much but preach to the converted – C

A Muse – dvsn – OVO artists as sleepy r&b as ever – C

New Me – Ella Eyre – EDM singer on half the songs pushed by the likes of Rudimental and Clean Bandit, catchy and poppin’ – B

Hardhead – End It – fast, loud, thrashing rocker – B

Enough for Now (feat. Phoebe Bridgers) – Ethan Gruska, Phoebe Bridgers – Bridgers is a vastly overrated singer songwriter, Ethan is her producer, the song sucks but Ethan looks adorable on the sleeve – C

Richer Than Ever – Fivio Foreign, Rich The Kid – modern drill hook fest – B-

Faith – Galantis, Dolly Parton, Mr. Probz – nothing much to do but check your watch while you wait for Parton to hit her verse half way through on this turkey of an overblown tech ballad – C-

The Sea Is My Gave – Godthryman – New black metal band but definitely not screamo, more of a sludgy down like someone mixed up your valium with fentanyl… but in a good way – B-

Oh Yeah! – Green Day – strong bass lick but that’s all – C+

What’s In The Eye – Grey Daze – According to Loudwire (here):  “Late Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington’s old vocals have been repurposed in his pre-fame outfit Grey Daze’s new song, “What’s in the Eye.” The nostalgic alt-rock number is from the Phoenix-based group’s upcoming album of tunes they originally wrote with Bennington back in the mid-’90s.” Surreally awful – MUST TO AVOID – D+

Angel Eyes – Habibi – Also known as Lee Van Cleef, sweet and subdued bore – B-

She – Hayley Kiyoko – catchy pop track, though no “Girls Like Girls” – B-

Like a Woman Should – Hayley Mary – The Jezabels former lead singer, with a terrific vocal, she has an impressive range, on a first rate pop rocker – A-

Slide (Remix) (feat. Pop Smoke, A Boogie Wit da Hoodie & Chris Brown) – H.E.R., A Boogie Wit da Hood – Boogie takes the lead on this chockablock remix, and when H.E.R. arrives with the second verse it’s as lovely as you could hope for – SINGLE OF THE WEEK – A-

Shock Cellar – Humanist – Dave Gahan adds a strong lead vocal to the Humanist’s (aka Rob Marshall) brightly ringing guitars – C+

Fly Away – Jah Wobble, The Invaders Of The Heart – This ain’t Wobble in full blown Laswell dub mode, it is Wobble as pop dream guy, terrific bass hook – B

Years – John Anderson – A huge disappointment from the eagerly anticipated return of the country great. Who let that terrible guitar solo through the door? I blame producer, the dreaded Black Keys  Dan Auerbach, who never met a song he couldn’t make worse – D+

Sakhi – John McLaughlin, Shankar Mahadevan, Zakir Hussain – I saw the great fusion guitarist at Blue Note a coupla years ago and he spent a portion of the evening begging us to buy his DVDs as his royalties ahd dried up… this excellent tabla plus song should help a little – B+

What A Man Gotta Do – Jonas Brothers – Better than anything on the reunion album, this is a catchy as fuck dance track with an hysterical video channelling everything from “Grease” to “Risky Business” to “Say Anything” – B+

Break My Baby – Kaleo- intense little rocker – C

I Want More – Kaleo – The rock band from Iceland usually are way too overwrought because the lead singer is one of those guys, but this is unassuming Americana with overwroung singing – C+

c-Side – Khrumabin, Leon Bridges – The instrumental oblique meets the soul singer – C

(Don’t Let The Dragon) Draag On – King Krule – He is a white early Tricky, sounds like Bristol trip hop with better drugs – B-

Greenlights – Krewella – The Pakistani-American female duel tick every box except the one labelled great song – C

What Moves – LA Priest – Definition of percolating beats from a UK DJ – C+

sometimes it’s scary but it’s still just you and me – Leaving Laurel – I was dying to hear the lyric to this… but it is an electronic instrumental – C

Light Years Out – Lee Renaldo, Raul Refree – spoken word bore. – C

Names Of North End Women – Lee Renaldo, Raul Refree – nothing much art rock – C+

Walls – Louis Tomlinson – Blah EDM pop ballad – C

Save A Little For Yourself – Mandy Moore – the former Mrs. Ryan Adams, Mandy Moore, has two great albums to her name, the Jeffrey Epstein approved debut So Real, and the only problem being it’s about Zach Brach Wild Hope (I saw her on stage around 2007 and she was very good), her first release in a decade “Save A Little For Yourself” is just a terrible slice of pop rock, Ryan would have saved it – C-

Stone Me – Margo Price – Her first song in two years is a complete nonentity, sweetly unassuming country – B-

Blink – Meghan Trainor – she may never get back to “Dear Future Husband” but at least she is trying to meld her presumed pop goddess to her former effortless wit and melodic chops – C+

Ego – Moaning – synth pop rockers, not a bad concept but the song ain’t there – C+

Power Is Taken – Moby – EDM banger – B-

Ella – Myrkur – Darkness visible folk via Denmark – B-

Get The Devil Out – Nadia Reid – lo fi indie folkie waiting to hook up with Julien Baker – B-

Wasted – NNAMDI – modern hip hop full of clicks, cliques, and sounds, and a soft touch – B

God’s Own Children – Obongjayar –  Excellent world music beats behind an excited to be here rap – B+

Psych Ward – Okay Kaya – Brilliant little singer songwriter bummer about real and true mental illness – B+

On The Brink – Peter Bjorn and John – At least they aren’t whistling – B-

Steady – Polica – Not unpleasant lo-fi pop stuff that’s a touch too restrained – B-

Christopher Walking – Pop Smoke – street rap hustle – B-

Sweet – Porridge Radio – from sadcore to four piece band, Dana Margolin can absolutely write a song, on this sodden nightmare track with a rockcore vibe, and “you will like me when you meet me, you might even fall in love” is a great hook – A-

In Your Eyes (feat. Alida) – Robin Schulz, Alida – Old school, as in it sounds like EDM back when Avicii was with us, but indifferent house pop as heard today – C

Were You Ever Wanted (Lost Tapes) – Röyksopp, Lykke Li – Robyn pal meets pop singer – C+

Paper Cup – Real Estate – return of the wall of drear , ambient dream band featuring Sylvan Esso’s Amelia Meth harmonizing – B

Comme Des Garçons (Like The Boys) – Rina Sawayama – With songs like this magical dance track, Rina should break big this year – B+

Me Gusta – Shakira, Anuel AA – Just in time for the superbowl, Shakira goes trap – B-

Slow Down – Acoustic – Skip Marley, H.E.R. – gorgeous track from Bob Marley’s grandson, and H.E.R. just makes the dreamy lover’s rock even better – A-

circle the drain – Soccer Mummy – mental illness is the new break up song, here as well, on the best song she’s dropped since her Clean album took off – B

Maldad – Steve Aoki, Maluma – Steve has been working on reggaeton and beats for awhile, Maluma is terrific on lead vocals – B

MERA (with Dalex & Álvaro Díaz) – Tainy, Dalex, Alvaro Diaz – The children of Latin trap nail one – B

Red Light – Tee Grizzley – Detroit street rap – B

Me & You Together Song – The 1975 – The 1975’s release date for Notes on a Conditional Form (album #3 if you don’t include the live one) has been pushed back till April and the first three singles haven’t been bad, though not great, so it is good news that “Me & You Together Song” is such a lovely jingle jangle of a recording – B+

Trouble No More – Demo – The Allman Brothers Band – Muddy Waters cover from 50 years ago – B+

Notre Dame – The Bombpops – pop punk SoCal guys, the metaphor doesn’t  work but the song is catchy enough – B

Trash Glam Baby – The Boomtown Rats – reforming after forty years (there’s a European tour on the books -let’s hope they don’t play Terminal 5 here). the strings wouldn’t have made it on the song way back when but it is a really good glam pop rock about a girl Geldof spied at a retail outlet in Chelsea, so 21st century, right? – B+

Home Thru Hell – The Flaming Lips, Deap Lips, Deap Vally – In the running for worst band of all time award… he’d like to thank the little people – D+

Clench To Stay Awake – The Garden – quiet, slow, loud, fast rocker – B-

Bury Us – The Naked And Famous – pleasant pop rock plus beats – B-

Black Qualls – Single Version – Thundercat, Steve Lacy, Steve Arrington – Blues, jazz, art, electronic mash up – B

Fried For The Night – TOKIMONSTA, EARTHGANG – Strong arrangement around Earthgangs addiction to trap beats – B-

The Dark Rift – Tombs – Best intro to a song all year, then it goes screamo on you – B

Dressing America – TORRES – “I tend to sleep with my boots on should I need to gallop over dark waters to you on short notice,” a nice sentiment and the video is mind boggling. I’ve found Torres a little too arty for my tastes in the past but this is a very strong outing indeed – B+

Bikini Porn – Tove Lo – man, this woman is so great, a terrific EDM pop track that is just easily artistic and cool and as for the video! Tove Lo dashing around in a bikini… by the way that’s Billie Eilish brother Finneas driving the car at the end… – A-

Passion and Pain Taste the Same When I’m Weak – Tove Lo – dramatic bummer – C+

Cawfee – Twin Peaks – country twang added to their rock pop – B

St. Vulgar St. – Twin Peaks – The thing about these guys is that they are never great, the other thing about these guys is that they are always, always good (and terrific on stage), this is business as usual and business is good – B

Tin King – Ultraista – producer Nigel Godrich, singer Laura Bettinson and R.E.M./Atoms for Peace drummer Joey Waronker with drone-y, electronic, rock dreams – B-

Overtime – U.S. Girls – we haven’t heard from Meghan Remy in a coupla years, this is an electronic, quasi-electronic, pop move; the album reads a touch more difficult and is that her daughter with her on the sleeve – B-

Blue Comanche – Westerman – sad song about climate change – C+

Feeling Fancy – Wilsen – Dream pop produced by the redoubtable Andrew Sarlo – B

Oooouuu – YBN


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