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Going Steady: New Singles 11-5-21 – 11-11-21 Reviewed

Get Better – alt-J – a change of pace folkie ballad from the experimental children of Radiohead – B-

Prada – Arca – a weird piece of well beaten hype with a hook you’ve never heard before and a rap – B+

Rakata – Arca – more hyper-pop than “Prada,” the hook is pulled to the front and the effects are very 100 Gecs, Rakata is a planet in the Star Wars Universe and the song… is that Spanish? – B+

Flowers (Say My Name) – ArrDee – English “cheeky chappy” rapper signed to Universal, I mention this in case you were wondering how he could afford the Beyonce sample – C+

Tarantula – Azealia Banks – Banks could be up there, as a rapper I’ll take her over Megan and Cardi B, but she won’t rap and this electronic experiment doesn’t function – C

We Can Reach The Stars – Blake Shelton – terrible country ballad – D

Drive – Recorded at Electric Lady Studio – Bleachers – well re-arranged cover of The Cars classic, pointless and pleasant – B

Splash – Bobby Shmurda – gang member Shmurda has spent the last six years in prison and was released in February. He was greeted like a visiting hero at the Meek Mills gig last month and his first single back is drill 101 – B+

Love Goes Undercover – Brando’s Lair – a jingle jangle, classic rockist of singer songwriter from Chicago’s Renaldo Migaldi song, Barry rings the changes with the band and the singing alone turns it into a major anthem. Brando’s Lair has a had a great year, a single a month and all great – A-

New Shapes (feat. Christine and the Queens and Caroline Polachek) – Charli XCX – a hyper-pop summit from what should be a huge album for Charli and with two big neo-pop stars on board, she has arranged for herself a strong single… I’ll like it a lot more if it charts – B

Scared – from the “Bruised” Soundtrack – City Girls – when not in jail for credit card fraud, the Miami duo are a hard rap sex and money pussy band and this isn’t the two at their best, not crazy about the backing track at all and though they really know how to share a song, this ain’t that song – B-

Californication (Feels Like I’m Falling In Love) – Col3trane – the English soul guy with neo-r&b and not unpleasant but awful bland – B-

In Love in Various Rooms – Dan Campbell – I haven’t much cared for Souply since Greatest Generation, but solo he seems to be turning the corner and this classic rock beauty is a huge return for him – A-

Wake Me Up – Foals – surprisingly enough, a straight up disco working out with a shuddering guitar part – B

Billy Goodbye – Franz Ferdinand – when not starting WWI, the Scottish rockers are an easy going dance rock band from Scotland, and three years after their last album the Brit heatmakers won’t make a big splash with a glam rock also ran – C+

Holy Toledo! (from the Original Motion Picture “Mark, Mary & Some Other People”) – Green Day – pure pop punk by a past master – B+

Car Crash – IDLES – a noisy, vicious, somewhat scary song where Joe Talbot remembers an IRL accident and anybody who has been in one will recognize the speeding up and slowing time of and the violent impact …. if you haven’t read Alyson’s live review here, feel free to do so – B

Puppy And A Truck – Jenny Lewis – I go hot and cold with Jenny, when I met her at Gov Ball a coupla years ago I was ice cold till a terrific show turned me round, she wasn’t great opening for Beck at Forest Hill but last month she was awe inspiring opening for Harry Styles and her latest song is a gorgeous and tuneful little country track and a winner… produced by alt country superstar Dave Cobb – A

In My Feelings – Joell Ortiz – the Slaughter crew member with a diary entry rap detailing his early days as a rapper for Eminem, “no hook, just talk” that lives on sharp rhyming, and not the Drake track – B+

All You Need Is Love – Katy Perry – recorded for the Gap commercial, kudos for the French National anthem intro, and congrats for letting us hear a Lennon masterpiece one more time. The song is a mark of John’s genius, world pacifism on a three minute package. Katy’s vocal performance is wonderful – A-

Entre toi pi moi pi la corde de bois – Lisa LeBlanc – sung in a French dialect, with a heavy strings break, the song is folk twistee – B

Birthday – M. Ward – Ward is given to covers, remember She And Him?, and The Sugarcubes, Bjork’s band before, were an electronic pop experimental crew. “Birthday” is made by Bjork’s vocals, and while Ward doesn’t undo the song by quieting the electronics, his vocals limits the songs thrills – B-

Heading West – Neil Young, Crazy Horse – a country rocker and the return of electricity – B+

Jumpin (feat. Polo G) – NLE Choppa – the “Shotta Flow” rapper is now nineteen and helped by the best in class Polo G, the rap track is smooth and cool – B+

Bad Life (feat. Kali Uchis) – Omar Apollo – low key, hip hop, jazz smoothness – B

Señor Juez – Ozuna, Anthony Santos – Santos is a major Bachata star (note the last name) and Ozuna is a reggaeton star smoothing things out – B

HIGH – PnB Rock, DJ Luke Nasty – the Philly r&b meets rap guy honors his hometown with songs that echo towards a future rap of deep melody -though this isn’t one of his best – B

One Right Now (with The Weeknd) – Post Malone – Last week Abel poured his pixie dust on Swedish House Mafia and turned a rote EDM r&b track into a soulful outburst, Post needs less help and the song is a triumph for the reborn Malone – B+

Be with You – Sam Huber -right now you can’t add qualifiers to Huber’s sound, he isn’t neo anything, he is a soul man with a gorgeous baritone and songs, composed with Tomas Doncker, that are new standard tracks and instant classics. The next album is gamechanger, and while “Be With You” isn’t on it, it could be – SINGLE OF THE WEEK – A

Smokin Out The Window – Silk Sonic – it’s not that Bruno and Paak aren’t good together, it is that two of the biggest stars of r&b aren’t great together however much you might wish they were – B

The Chapeltown Rag – Slipknot – nu-metal with a vengeance on a riff headbanger – B

Always Together With You – Spiritualized – Jason Pierce’s first release since 2018 is exactly what Spiritualized do best, a deeply arranged, electronic plus guitar, psychedelic workout tethered to an indelible melody – A-

I Dig Your Act – The Drifters – The great vocal band channel the O’Jays as credibly as you can imagine, maybe more credibly than you can believe. A terrific version – A-

Slow Down Summer – Thomas Rhett – when Rhett is bad he is average, when he is great, say “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time” he is great and when he is in the middle he is “Slow Down Summer” – B+

The Motto – Tiësto, Ava Max – I had Ava pegged as the next Dua Lipa but it hasn’t happened yet, and Tiesto won’t make it happen, but this is talented EDM – B

ESCAPE PLAN – Travis Scott – released the same day as the Astroworld tragedy, Travis is not up to much but I still love it – B+

MAFIA – Travis Scott – better, a brooding beauty, multi-layered rap song co-written by J. Cole – A-

Your Song Saved My Life – From Sing 2 – U2 – U2 will last till they die, they can release lousy albums with albums song but as long as they get on stage with that amazing run from 1981 – 2000 they’ll fill out stadiums. But since then? They just can’t do it, and this song is just a facsimile of a ballad, it sinks like a stone. That “about a quarter past four” is bad writing – MUST TO AVOID – D

Yuri – Your Old Droog – YOD is a masterclass in art rap New York style, not loved and yet respected a whole lot, and here he adds howling electric guitars on a cleverly arranged punch out from the Jewish-Ukrainian rapper. The guy is too prolific, he has already released three albums this year, but this is a specifically great song that deserves the highlight of a single – B+

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