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Going Steady: New Singles 3-31-23 – 4-6-23 Reviewed

This is a strange week, some folks who haven’t been getting it right since the turn of the century get it right. Names? King Princess, Florence + The Machine, Jason Isbell and Natalie Merchant for the first time this decade (and Natalie? The first time ever)

Rock and A Hard Place – Bailey Zimmerman- it’s been a pretty good time for mainstream country boys, Luke and Morgan have both dropped strong new albums, this dates from nearly year ago but is coming back up – B-

That’s Not How This Works (feat. Dan + Shay) – Charlie Puth – if anybody is gonna keep EDM pop on the radar it’s Puth who has been a fixture on the charts since “See You Again”, here he adds some country with Dan + Shay where their country brogue and Charlie’s high pitched singing tunefully mesh not awfully – B-

Players- Coi Leray – a big hit in the UK, it is hip hop EDM with an excellent rhythm that power drives it because girls is playas too… – B

Gotta Get To Peekskill (feat. Violent Femmes) – Dropkick Murphys – an inspired though typical DM on Woody Guthrie, not sure what exactly the Violent Femmes are adding – B+

Spalarkle (Alys) – felicita, Caroline Polachek – experimental sounds via the Chairlift woman who co-wrote – C+

Morning Elvis – Live At Denver Ball Arena – Florence + The Machine, Ethel Cain – a live take of the closer from her last album is the best moment on the album and this is just as good – A-

06 Gucci (feat. DaBaby & 21 Savage) – Gucci Mane – Gucci is so great he can out rap two top rappers and you spend the voice waiting to hear his voice, a good return – B+

IFloat (feat. Seun Kuti & Egypt 80) – Janelle Monáe – it’s been too long! Janelle gloms onto Afrobeats on a thrilling beat manifesto – B+

Middle of the Morning – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – I haven’t said much nice about Jason in years but this has a gorgeous lick and Jason is channelling Gregg Allman and it works – B+

Psychos – Jenny Lewis – a lovely, shimmering track of pop molasses – B+

Softest Touch – Khalid – it is six years since American Teen and this is generic pop disco but he still can’t live up to expectations – B-

The Bend – King Princess – Cheap Queen was one of the great albums of 2019, but the following album was a dog with fleas as her live concerts went from magical to meh. But what Aaron Dessner couldn’t do for Taylor Swift, based upon the first two songs off the upcoming album, he could do for Mikaela. A terrific song and a true return to power – SINGLE OF THE WEEK – A-

Say Say Say (feat. Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson) – Kygo – Kygo was behind the excellent Whitney Houston remix “Higher Love” and here he turns one of both artists weakest moments and lets it bubble over in pleasure – B

Special (feat. SZA) – Lizzo – a great song, even Max Martin can’t change Lizzo, and the SZA verse is a beauty – A-

Lost The Breakup – Maisie Peters – there is a cottage industry of cheeky birds and Maisie also has Ed Sheeran’s interest and it is easy to say why: she writes hugely catchy pop rock with clever lyrics and if it isn’t as good as it might be the upcoming album should hang it all up together – B

Tower of Babel -Natalie Merchant -neither with 10,000 Maniacs nor solo, has Merchant been anything more than a Lilith stage third on the performance. Having made that claim, the horn break solo is gorgeous and the song is an energizer beauty hold and a sweet surprise – A-

Lady Draco – Twelve’len, Denzel Curry – Miami based rao, Twelve’len over uses the vocoder and Denzel includes the temperamental on the break up song – B-

Willows – Will Butler + Sister Squares – Will doesn’t channel Arcade Fire exactly but he is certainly better than anything on the last AF album, it is an indie rocker that merges into an anthem and the moment it changes key it kicks in pretty darn well though the hook is so Win it is a little shameful – B


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