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Going Steady: New Singles 2-28-20 – 3-5-19 Reviewed

NO TV – 2 Chainz – One of 2 Chainz best hooks boiled down to a rhythmic beat – B

ringtone (Remix) [feat. Charli XCX, Rico Nasty, Kero Kero Bonito] – 100 gecs, Charli XCX, Rico Nasty – as a person given to outsider status in everything, I admire queer pop even as it moves into the forefront of modern pop music, from Troye Sivan to Banoffee to Kim Petras to two of the names here for sure, I have to even eat my distrust of Charli XCX and admit this is a brilliantly arranged remix by one of last years breakthroughs, the 100 gecs queer duo had  a great album last year (I underestimated them a little) and this bizarre and wonderful remix is state of the pop – SINGLE OF THE WEEK – A

Shimmy – Aminé- clever ODB sample fuels it – B

Limitless – Bon Jovi – Once every 20 years or so Jon nails a goodie, the last time being 2005’s “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,”  and this isn’t one of them – MUST TO AVOID – D

Odogwu – Burna Boy – The Afrobeat great via Nigeria follows up the instant classic African Giant with a fine dancehall but laid back beat – B+

Can’t Cool Me Down – Car Seat Headrest -the usually impeccable band get too indie arty for their own good – C+

Wolf – Darkstar – tech pop snooze – C+

Overlord – Dirty Projectors – Dave introduces us to his touring band, who are now his recording band, with new singer  Maia Friedman taking the lead on a sweet enough singer songwriter track – B-

Ecstasy – Disclosure – It’s been six years since Settle and the DJ duo have been unable to follow it up, so here they stop trying and provide a forthright as its name piece of house magic – B+

Tondo – Disclosure, Eko Roosevelt – adding Afro-pop to high octane house – B+

Expressing What Matters – Disclosure – nice use of a Boz Scaggs sample (“Lowdown”) – B+

Etran – Disclosure, Etran Finatawa – All four songs are the best stuff they’ve done since Sam Smith wasn’t doing em a favor appearing on a track, here they use Middle Eastern flavored chants to stunning effect – A-

Gentle – Disq – Saddle Creek band sound like indie rock 101 with the kitchen sink thrown in – C+

Casual Indifference – FACS – three piece art post-punk featuring the gifted drummer Alianna Kalaba, who has a distinct and hard centered but quiet style (she has played with Cat Power) as a strong calling card- B

Blue Skies – Filmore – From the Thomas Rhett school of mix and match, electronic sounds behind standard country rock fare – B-

Life Is Good (feat. Drake, DaBaby & Lil Baby) – Remix – Future, DaBaby, Drake, Lil Baby – As my friend Aletia noted, where is Drake? Be that as it may daBaby is  excellent – A-

Désolé (feat. Fatoumata Diawara) – Gorillaz, Fatoumata Diawara -the songs another bore from the tedious Albarn, but Malian singer Fatoumata is a real find – C+

Peaches (Text Voter XX to 40649) – grandson, K.Flay – ho hum sadcore with a call to vote – C+

Revival – R3HAB Remix – Gregory Porter, R3HAB – the popular Moroccan DJ brings Porter into the 2020s for no discernable reason – B-

Spiral Era – Jaga Jazzist – jazz collective via Norway add DJ beats and electronic zooms to the sound – C+

God Bless The Child – James Taylor – If you throw your mind back to “How Sweet It Is,” it has been clear that Taylor can smooth a sound without smoothing over the sentiment, here he performs a quiet, lovely jazz take on Billie’s heart transplant classic – B+

As Easy As Rolling Off A Log – James Taylor – Hardly an American Standard: “James discovered “As Easy As Rolling Off A Log” as a kid when it was featured in the Merrie Melodies cartoon, “Katnip Kollege” from 1938. James’s version is the first time it’s ever been covered.” Just great – B+

Teach Me Tonight – James Taylor – No, he isn’t Dinah Washington but he puts a gorgeous spin to it, mellow without being soppy and it works better than whole albums full of covers, I’d claim his best since “Walking My Baby Back Home” nearly quarter of a century again – A

Rojo – J Balvin – adds beats to his reggaeton mix – B-

Engañémoslo – Jenni Rivera, Mariachi Los Reyes – two family members bring the late Jenni back to us with a fine, horn driven production – B+

Engañémoslo – Versión Banda – Jenni Rivera – called Banda but really corridos, it is right in Jenni’s pleasure zone and a fabulous danceable Mexican pop – A-

Spotlight – Jessie Ware – AOR pop from the hugely popular UK singer whom Baeble Music dubbed a high key Goddess (here) and who has always been a well meaning bore, including on this one – B-

Happiness Over Everything (H.O.E.) (feat. Future & Miguel) – Jhené Aiko, Future, Miguel – I haven’t been high on Jhene since I saw her perform indifferently with Drake at Barclays Center, this is very addictive chill R&B stolen by, who else, Future – B

Mistakes – Jonas Blue, Paloma Faith – UK top DJ with hugely successful singer in a superstar summitt that fails to fully ignite on the hook but comes close – B

In The Basement – Juiceboxxx – sadcore but liveelier, a great song where indie rock meets indie pop – B+

God Whispered Your Name – Keith Urban – continues his endless transition to pop stardom with a song that falls apart on the chorus – C

Melt! – Kelly Lee Owens – electronic phut phut bass throb – B-

Here And Now – Kenny Chesney – should do the job as the opening song on his summer arena tour (MetLife in August), I’d go if it was MSG – B-

Gypsy Davey – Kikagaku Moyo – you may know Sandy Denny’s version, this Japanese psyche band do a great job of adding folk to MDMA – B

Stupid Love – Lady Gaga – maybe Gaga doesn’t do such slices of pure and brilliant disco because it comes too easy to her, even as it is vastly superior to her Americana and Americana standards – A-

Bittersweet – Lianne La Havas – Lo fi acoustic soul via London, lovely ballad – B

locket – Lila Drew – jazz soul by a woman whose Spotify bio  reads in its entirety: “trying my best”. We can’t ask for anything more – B

Nights Like This – Loud Luxury, CID – swooping house with a song that could stand up to a straight reading if it chose – B

You Can’t Rule Me – Lucinda Williams – that razor gargling vocal at working on a country blues rocker – C+

Airplane – Magdalena Bay – neo pop duo with melodic skills – B-

Stay With Me – Margaret Glaspy – Brooklyn singer songwriter with that slightest of rasps and distinctive lyrical skills – B+

Crusade – Marshmello, SVDDEN DEATH – typical ‘mello only not as good – C+

Drown (feat. Clinton Kane) – Martin Garrix, Clinton Kane – Martin sounds more like Avicii than ever – C+

Last Verse for the Buried – Nerve Saw – hard slamming screamo, the drums are standout-  B-

Turned To String – No Age -roiling post punk rocker – B

100 Shots – NLE Choppa – 17 year old gangsta has a chopped up and well spit flow, dashing through nasty little verses and sliding on the bars – B

Come On Outside – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Noel dubbed it the last Oasis single, I can hear why and if it was more tuneful (and if Liam was singing lead) he might well be right – B-

SPLIT DECISION – PARTYNEXTDOOR – definitely more clearly memorable than the usual stuff he does, which seems to disappear in your ear if Drake isn’t on it – B

Describe – Perfume Genius -thrumming mood music like Ian Curtis put through a meat grinder – B+

Garden Song – Phoebe Bridgers –  More folk-Americana-pop than anything human  where I had to tear up my pan after hearing her perform “Garden Song” at the Tibet House benefit last Wednesday, softly whispered heartbreaker nostalgic tug with a hint of synth and on stage it is both gentle and humorous and the hook I couldn’t hear on record, I guess I mean the melody, comes through – A-

Green Eggs & Ham – Princess Nokia -multi media star is interesting on this hand clapped sing rap but it is a weaker effort – C+

Practice – Princess Nokia – much better, Nokia rapping between a piano, single finger performed, hook – B+

The Main Thing – Real Estate – jingle jangle guitars and mood sweetness, better than the earlier song from the just dropped album – B

René – Residente – you know him from Calle 13, though here he self-reflects with tight, sad voiced self portrait – B

Damsel In Distress – Rufus Wainwright – Rufus has  been off his tuck since 2010’s death album , he seems incapable of anything as straightforward as “Martha” or as pop glorious as the much earlier “Poses,” “Damsel In Distress” isn’t a return entirely but as a pop move might go it is certainly better than 2012’s last attempt at pure pop for now people – B

Fast Learner – Shabazz Palaces, Purple Tape Nate – Digital Planet guy’s other band, haunting art rap – B

bloodstream – Soccer Mommy – not bad but a little boring as well, strumming low key – B-

Shadowbanned – Stephen Malkmus – He takes on social media but for no reason more than to view himself from the other side on this folk track – B-

Devil Put the Coal in the Ground – Steve Earle – here is a lot of backstory here, the first song off the upcoming album Ghosts of West Virginia and the musical theatre experience where he has written the music about the 2010 Upper Big Branch disaster in West Virginia, which killed 29 men. A country blues rocker with plenty of that good fiddle – B

Someone Said – Swae Lee – Did you know that Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode” has nearly a billion streams on Spotify alone? No wonder Swae Lee took his moment on the track and invented a new song around it – B

The Other Side (from Trolls World Tour) – SZA, Justin Timberlake – crafty real pop move with Timberlake getting the balance very well in ways he missed completely on worst song ever “Can’t Stop The Feeling” (over a billion streams on Spotify!) – B-

The Regulator – The Dream Syndicate – 20 minute jazz meets psychedelic rock workout – C+

The Regulator – Single Edit – The Dream Syndicate – it works perfectly well in under four minutes, by the way – B

Cover You (feat. Travis Barker) – The Hunna, Travis Barker – UK rockers, I bet the Stones are terrified – C-

The Day the Politicians Died – The Magnetic Fields – a long, long time since 69 Songs, and wow, they’ve become Belle And Sebastian – C

New Girl – The Suicide Machines – excellent ska-punks who have it down to an art here, fast, spiky, with two tone rhythm buried deep – B+

Dark Blue – Throwing Muses – grungy rocker from Kristin Hersh – B

Ganas de Ti – Wisin & Yandel, Sech – The reggaeton duo recording again with Sech, just off the new Bad Bunny album, adding his voice – B


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