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Going Steady: New Singles 8-21-20 – 8-27-20, Reviewed

Free Merey – 42 Dugg – a touching “Stay Free” ish song about 42 Dugg missing his homie in prison while his label tells Dugg not to be so streets – B

Envious – Aluna –  disco for the ’20s, the giveaway is the way they drop the beat over and over again – B

Warrior – Aluna, AlunaGeorge, SG Lewis – SG Lewis is having a best summer, first the terrific “Impact” featuring the return of Robyn, and now this song which is electronic pop wallpaper – B+

Thong Song – Amber Mark – gorgeous r&b chill song, a complete ear candy especially with that “La Viva Loco” hook – B+

Waving, Smiling – Angel Olsen – Angel at her lo fi, acoustic best with an indelible melody and a whispered vocal, a salting of country Americana coats her folkiness and her falsetto has never been sweeter – B+

Hurt – Arlo Parks – London’s 19 year old rapper adds live bass plunking to a time heals us all track – B

Shake Dat A$$ – BAHA BANK$, Chance the Rapper – out at the strip club and Chance as credible as Perry Como singing Fats Domino – MUST TO AVOID C-

Crazy – Bazzi – Has his moment passed? The electronic singer songwriter beloved by college girls everywhere sounds pretty good, impressive range on the r&b track but his time seems to have passed – B-

Mutha Magick (feat. bbymutha) – Black Noi$e – The Earl Sweatshirt DJ, hot off a real good album featuring Danny Brown, adds more of the same – B

rest up – bob pablo – file next to blackbear and Lauv as one man white soul singer songwriter confessional bedroom land – B-

Matter – Brittany Campbell – the actress-singer (last seen in the Chicago production of Hamilton) deals with #BLM and  a middle of the road, everyman smooth r&b beauty and a hook that goes “We want to breath again” – B+

Dynamite – BTS – BTS  is what will happen once somebody gets the A.I. algorithm right and can produce hit songs. Does that kill the art in pop? It depends on whether you believe an algorithm can be graceful or if you believe otherwise – B

UNITED GIRLS ROCK’N’ROLL CLUB – CHAI, Hinds – girl group k-pop meets Spanish girl pop-punk for a catchy enough anthem – B

Vasto – Cabaret Voltaire – I was freelancing for the Village Voice when The Voice Of America was released, and asked music editor Robert Christgau to assign me to review the 1980 album “Do you know where they got the name?” he asked. No, I didn’t. And that was the end of that. I found out DECADES LATER, after watching Tom Stoppard’s “Travesties” on Broadway. It is the birthplace of Dada. As for Cabaret Voltaire the band, they have gone from a trio to a one man band, and Richard Kirk has been caught up in modern times. He now sounds like one of thousands of electronic bands… I don’t know what Vasto means either – C+

BANG BANG – Chief Keef, Mike WiLL Made-It – Well, what would you call a banger with a top rapper and a big time producer, the bass sounds as though it was recorded in a echochamber and the song is aimed for the charts and might make it (the question was rhetorical)  – B

La Ñata – Chucky73 – adds drill breaks to Latin Trap from Brooklyn via Dominican Republic rapper – B+

stupkid – Chynna – the A$AP member was found dead from an accidental overdose earlier this year, and it was a huge loss. “stupkid” sounds like Noname without the jazz inflections. Released on what would have been her 26th birthday, it continues to cement her reputation as a woman who would have been a  heavy hitter. What a waste  – A-

Jessie’s Girl 2 (feat. Rick Springfield) – Coheed and Cambria, Rick Springfield – It’s not “Johnny Bye Bye” but then again “Jessie’s Girl” wasn’t “Johnny B Goode”. It does a great job musically, taking Rick’s blueprint and building horizontally, but the story (she is a maniac who plans to kill him) is not the right idea, surely it should have been more like “I Knew The Bride,” a straight continuation; musicially “2” is well done, thematically it is a mistake – B

High & Mighty – Colter Wall – nice baritone, a sound of voice I can usually take or leave, on an Americana singer songwriter track – B-

Ohms – Deftones – electronic metal and hard rockers Deftones return for the first time since 2016 and while I am not much of a fan of the band “Ohms” has a rolling arsenal of guitar riffs that will pin your ears back and Chino Moreno is in fine voice – B

Holy Mackerel – Dirty Projectors – In which Longstreth sings lead and sounds like Herb Alpert performing indie folk – B-

Mary, Did You Know – Dolly Parton – Christmas in August as Dolly preps us for her October seasonal album with this big, spiritual ballad and a turkey – C-

We Remain – Don’t Sleep – hard rocking riffarama – B

Trap Pea – El Alfa, Tyga – Tyga’s presence means it earns its parental guidance advisement, El Alfa makes an EDM based dance trap take as well – B+

Mack The Knife (Live) – Ella Fitzgerald – part of Verve’s upcoming “The Lost Berlin Tapes,” from 1962 (two years after Mack the Knife: Ella in Berlin), she swings it pretty damn hard. But without picking on the passed on, the name she should have dropped was Kurt Weill. The version is simply sublime – A

To S. – Father John Misty – sounds like Neil circa Harvest – C+

To R. – Father John Misty – adds a drum machine  -I wonder what he is talking about?  I would look it up only even during a pandemic with nothing to do, life’s too short to interpret Misty – C

13 Going On 30 – Fivio Foreign – wins the New York drip and drill crown after Pop Smoke’s death, and his voice and timing is a hard spitter look back in anger banger, the horn hook is actually lovely – B+

BOYFRIEND – HARDY – classy classic pop where he doesn’t want to be your boyfriend, he wants to be your husband – B

Dance Like Nobody’s Watching – Iggy Azalea, Tinashe – I once saw Iggy at an outdoor gig, standing for selfies while her team warned her she’d have to leave or there would be chaos and I have quiite liked her in the past… and this ain’t bad but she was never gonna live up to her soundcloud days – B-

Thrusting (feat. Swae Lee & Future) – Internet Money, Swae Lee, Future – Future is great on his verse, Swae isn’t , and Chaz and his collective add emo to trap – B-

I Should Go (with Kenny Beats) – James Vincent McMorrow, Kenny Beats – Irish singer songwriter with a delicate bore – C+

What Makes A Woman – Katy Perry – every song from the upcoming album has been her best since Teenage Dreams, including this perfect pop singer songwriter track – B+

Double Dutch – Keys N Krates – electronic dance track – C+

Getting Over Him – Lauren Alaina, Jon Pardi – country blues rocker works well enough – B

Baby It’s You – London Grammar – their schtick is adding a big voiced woman to electronic beats and synths, and broke through in 2017 with average songs like this – C+

Marquee Moon – Luna – There is zero reason for this cover except who usually covers  “Marquee Moon” and, more to the point, does so credibly and as New York as all get out  – B+

Wringer – Lydia Loveless – did I ever tell you about the time I mansplained Lydia’s songs to her? Well, another day. Right now this is the second gorgeous song off her forthcoming album as love puts her through the wringer, which rhymes with singer. As long as we are here, try “Love Is Not Enough” (oh and if you don’t know “Boy Crazy” you certainly should) – B+

Save The Day (with Lauryn Hill) – 2020 – Mariah Carey, Ms. Lauryn Hill – once you reach the verse where Lauryn sings lead and Mariah sings harmony, you’ll be happy you made the trop – B

Thinning The Herd – Millions Of Dead Elected Officials – all out, raging aggro rock – B+

Amoral – Napalm Death – Hard hitting hardcore, no emo here – B+

Stayback (feat. Bootsy Collins) – Remix – Omar Apollo, Bootsy Collins –  Bootsy does the remix, fixating on the smooth and sleek groove and expanding upon it – B+

Caramelo – Remix – Ozuna, KAROL G, Myke Towers – classic Latin trap sound – B+

Entrepreneur (feat. JAY-Z) – Pharrell Williams, JAY-Z – finds a hook that feels like a fetishism of race (“black man”), a gorgeous sound and production that Williams should have turned down when Jay Z added a pretty good rap, and while I am sure the problems with being a small business man are myriad, I am not sure these are the guys to tell us about it – B+

Identical – From The Motion Picture “On The Rocks” – Phoenix – the coming attractions from this Apple+ movie look really fun, and while I was not impressed with their last two albums, these indie rockers with a big sound, via France (I know, but apparently the French can rock from time to time:  pace Johnny Hallyday) return with their strongest moment since 2009. A  beautiful sound mixed in with electronica – B+

Is It True – Four Tet Remix – Tame Impala, Four Tet – as a non fan, though not quite a hater, of either of these cats, this is a smooth and sleepy ambient groove and worth listening to – B-

the lakes (bonus track) – Taylor Swift – if all of folklore is storytelling of other lifes, this is a self portrait of her and her boyfriend  Joe Alwyn. Joe is from the Lake District -an area I know well and loved always, and a place where, legend has it, poets go to die like elephants (er, like the way elephants leave the herd to die somewhere specific). I could check but I will go on instinct and claim Jack Antonoff did the production. OK, now I’ll check: yup, right again, Antonoff gets co-writing credit as well! – A-

Bout Shit feat. DMX – The LOX, DMX – I saw both these guys at Barclays Center in 2017 (here) and DMX, who would end up back in rehab soon after, was the better. On this new The Lox rap, they are as great as you can hope for, starting off like a Wu Tang track and then the three pass around rhymes as though they’re a blunt, and while DMX is unnecessary, he is still pretty great – B+

Wildflowers – Home Recording – Tom Petty – From the upcoming box set, an even more acoustic take – B

The Plan – From the Motion Picture “TENET” – Travis Scott – Travis recently wrote that he finally saw the movie, so quite why this song is so deeply part of the movie makes you wonder what Travis was working from? The script?  Anyway, it is beautifully crafted, cinematic and widescreen, yet  a quiet and intense beauty and a major release any which way. A palindrome of sorts according to screenrant.com (here) , it works as a loosie completely – SINGLE OF THE WEEK – A

Circles – Trey Songz – New Year’s Eve 2009, I caught Trey opening for Mariah at MSG (here) and thought he was unspeakable, but in retrospect I would have had to have grown a vagina to get him the way the audience did. Teb and a half years later, he is still an iffy mix of r&b and rap with an ear for the charts and here even more so: a perfect soul conglom with wonderful singing and Breland peerless on the harmonies – B+

Close My Eyes – Will Butler – starts as a  rewrite of Regina Spektor’s “Fidelity” and ends as a Suburbs style Arcade Fire could be, from Win’s kid brother – B+

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