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Going Steady: New Singles 5-12-23 – 5-18-23 Reviewed

Pegasus (ft. Phoebe Bridgers) – Arlo Parks – Parks is a modern day Tracy Chapman who is only as good as any given song, and this is a beautiful song on which Paul Epworth adds an unnecessary claptrack – B+

We Love You – Avenged Sevenfold – the hardcore band grows up, adding orchestration and soft landing – C+

hotline (edit) – Billie Eilish – nice to finally have Billie’s take on Aubrey’s “Hotline Bling”, very low key and lovely with piano and ukulele – B

Northwest – Brandy Clark – Brandy and Brandi look back on a straightforward Americana – B

The Planet – BTS -the final release by all BTS’s before two of go off for military service. It is, of course, more from the K-Pop factory. It is hypocritical (and maybe racist) to claim K-Pop is any more manufactured than, say, 1D were and yet the stench of product is all over them in this theme from an animated TV show – C

Ring Ring (feat. Travis Scott, Don Toliver, Quavo & Ty Dolla $ign) – CHASE B – Scott’s DJ on tour is joined by some big names with a nice hook but not much more – C

World On Fire – Dolly Parton – Dolly socks it to climate change on a hard rocking scowl that falls on its face – C

A Better Life – Graham Nash – Nash always had a gift for melody and he uses it on a nothing much single – C+

Lipstick Lover – Janelle Monáe – a term for femme lesbians and with a sample from Stevie Wonder’s “For Your Love” on the bridge. The video is hotter than July but the song is a bland disappointment -she better have more better somewhere – B-

Tough Crowd – Jason Aldean – typical Aldean shit kicker – C+

Save Me (with Lainey Wilson) – Jelly Roll- he looks like a cross between Post Malone and Luke Combs and sounds like one as well as he is on the cusp of superstardom after the ACM performance. This is so overwrought you’ll throw up in your mouth – C-

Toretto – J Balvin – from the upcoming FAST X, the great Latin American superstar with a speedy and thrilling ride against hot trap beats and a release of speed and youth – A-

Giddy Up – Jenny Lewis – another goodie, this time a lo-fi soul song with a hushed and beautiful glow and a slow brood that works – B+

The Eyes Of Portland – John Mellencamp – John in an ode to the homeless on a pretty good Americana with a terrific instrumental break – B+

MOTHERLESS – Single Version – Killer Mike, Eryn Allen Kane – Killer Mike is better solo than as a duo and every song we have heard from his upcoming has been excellent and this is even better, the ATL rep is spitting with power as he celebrates his late Mama – B+

Tattoo – Loreen – the Swedish singer won this years Eurovision Song contest for her country, pushing back on (frankly ridiculous) claims of plagiarism. The song ain’t much – C

Grits -Pat Boone, Dean Miller, Deborah Allen, Lorrie Morgan, Ray Stevens, The Gatlin Brothers – “PAT BOONE has had a life of love with grits. “Breakfast, lunch and dinner,” he says. Raised in Music City – Nashville, TN, now he’s written a true-blue country “novelty song” and recruited country music stars Ray Stevens, The Gatlin Brothers, Lorrie Morgan, Deborah Allen and country legend Roger Miller’s son, Dean Miller, to sing on his energy-charged “Grits,” tailor-made for the “line dancing crowd.”…” WOW, Roger Miller’s son! – C

Let the Sun Come In – Pretenders – Ms. Hynde can do no wrong, more or less, this is mainstream new wave slop – C-

Emotion Sickness – Queens of the Stone Age – six years after the horrid Villains, this finds Josh having learnt everything he knows: how to write a riff – C+

You’re the One – Rhiannon Giddens – her best work since 2017 is Giddens as a straight up Americana artist who knows how it is done, a lovely new love song and a more than welcome return to form (and just wait for the fiddle break!!) – A-

The Ballad of Sweeney Todd (Opening) [2023 Broadway Cast Recording] – Josh Groban, Gaten Matarazzo, Jamie Jackson, John Rapson, Jordan Fisher, Maria Bilbao, Nicholas Christopher, Ruthie Ann Miles, Stephen Sondheim, Sweeney Todd 2023 Broadway Company – I’ve written about this production twice so far and am planning to go a third time with True Groove performance artist Marla Mase at some point, while Josh has a beautiful voice, I preferred both the very recent standby Nicholas Christopher (who is here as part of the company and the best Sweeney Len Cariou and yet… Groban sings it more beautiful, his deepness is tinged not in anger but in sorrow and his sorrow leads him to his tragedy. This is one of the great openers in musical theatre, a razor slitting your throat as it insists upon being attended to – SINGLE OF THE WEEK – A

Scrap The Monarchy – The Krown Jewelz, The Kunts – an excellent bit of agitprop, a singalong to not spending money on, well, nothing really – B+

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