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Going Steady: New Singles 7-17-20 – 7-23-20 Reviewed

Happiness In Liquid Form – Alfie Templeman – indie teen with an ear for dance beats – B-

Get Paid – Aluna, Princess Nokia, Jada Kingdom, AlunaGeorge – At a festival a coupla years ago, the organizers put Alunageorge in a small tent so they had no choice but to slow the pace of entering: the line twisted right around the field, I didn’t come close to catching the EDM pop duo. Aluna has a terrific sensibility, a cool pop breeze, and this terrific song is a cool summer breeze of a song – B+

To Be Young (feat. Doja Cat) – Anne-Marie, Doja Cat – wasn’t Doja Cat -the white rapper with a bad attitude, cancelled for using the n word? Well, “To Be Young” is a good song even at the worst of times and Doja’s distinctive brat voice adds another dimension  – A-

The Bomb – Annie – a tricky beat carries an EDM pop track – B-

Care – beabadoobee – The Filipino singer via the UK is on her way to superstardom, and this has the texture of sad songs but not the arrangement, instead it is a fiery slab of art-pop – B+

I’ll Be Your Friend – Benny Benassi, CeCe Rogers – always a pleasure to hear from DJ Benassi, on this house pop record as well – B

Dead Billie Jean – Blitzen Trapper – pleasant enough and for sure a great idea (plus: “I was smoking dope with Lincoln in a Chrysler on a hill” is sure worthy) but they don’t execute their desolation rows quite well enough – B-

Forecast of Rain – Bob Mould – the riff is mammoth but the melody is smothered – B-

Hit Me Back (feat. Social House) – Conor Matthews, Social House – one of Social House dated Ariana Grande, and both of them produced “7 Rings”, Conor Matthews sounds like whatshisname, sorry it isn’t coming but he sounds like him… got it, Jason Mraz – C

Roll Back Your Clocks – Buck Meek – Who likes all that tasteful blah indie Americana,? The blah not so much, Big Thief is another matter entirely, they seem incapable of a bad move even when songwriter Adrianne Lenker goes solo, and apparently even when lead guitarist Buck Meek writes his own songs on this purely lovely folk song – B+

Trials – Cults – lush is the word they use, with violins and keyboards and a softly whispered vocal, better than their usual stuff – B-

Greece (feat. Drake) – DJ Khaled, Drake – Drake in fine singing voice on a slight but not terrible track. He really isn’t having much of a year at all… – B-

POPSTAR (feat. Drake) – DJ Khaled, Drake – this might hit, Drake with an easy flow – B+

Coming Closer – Duckwrth, Julia Romana, G.L.A.M. –  something special mix of honey suckled vocals, dance beats and rap – B+

Mighty Good Book – Gillian Welch – from an upcoming album of “lost” songs, this bluegrass spiritual was so great I went in search to see if it was a cover… it isn’t – A-

Strange Isabella – Gillian Welch – a little boring – C+

Tangled Man – Green Gartside – Green was the leader of the politically motivated but beautifully penned by Green Scritti Politti. The lo key lo fi “Tangled Man” is a beauty – B+

A Hymn – IDLES – Alyson loves em (here) and she may be right but not on this plodding goth work out – C

Jeepster – Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – this should be bread and butter for Jett, the glam rock classic could have been written by her, so why is this such a lackluster take? A real disappointment – C

Break – Julia Stone – Love this woman’s voice, ten years into her career she still sounds weird and into it, the song is an obtuse folk and it works all the way through – B+

Superman – Keith Urban – The verses are great, the chorus not so much, but we better get used to Keith’s pop star stuff, you know gooo plus country guitar break  – B-

Lockdown – Koffee – the modern day neo-dancehall  Jamaican singer with her best song to date – B+

What’s Love Got to Do with It – Kygo, Tina Turner – A coupla years ago I was talking to a big time musical engineer who told me he had just completed work on a new Tina Turner album. Nothing materialized. Yet here she is with the DJ Kygo or rather, here is her vocals from a classic track to which the Norwegian fathead adds nothing after adding nothing to Whitney Houston. The way it was promoted, Tina comes out of retirement, had me believing the vocals were new. In what sense has she come out of retirement? By having her picture taken? Kygo adds nothing to the 80s classic –  F ( because who likes being conned?)

Save Me – LANCO – lousy country rocker, at first I thought it was CCM – D+

SHOES (feat. Virgil Abloh) – Lupe Fiasco, Kaelin Ellis, Virgil Abloh – Fiasco is a an acquired taste and I acquired it years ago when I caught him on stage at (I think) BB King’s and was blown away. This song isn’t about blowing you away, though mixing shoes with sole and then with soul should keep your attention, the back track has something of the moodiness of Wu Tang Forever – B

Relaciones – Lunay – Latin Trap guy, just out of his teens, looks good with his shirt off – B

Coming Up Roses – MAITA – Another day, another Elliott Smith cover, this is one of his catchiest songs and MAITA sings it with a sort of longing distance and the guitarist is stellar on the break – B

Sometimes He’s In My Dreams – Mary Lattimore – beautiful harp instrumental, Mary improves everything she plays on though as a single artist it is a little boring – B-

Distant Axis – Matt Berninger – Booker T. produced,  Matt’s brother Tom is here somewhere and I wasn’t crazy about the first single, but this is superior Berninger, his tenor voice caressing the echoed production and piano plus synth arrangement. A classic song – A

Would You Kill (4 Me)? – Maya Jane Coles – UK DJ with an irritatingly catchy three note hook – C+

Nothing Else Matters (Live) – Metallica, San Francisco Symphony – when did Metallica start to really, really suck? Definitely, no later than 2003 with Saint Anger, and except for that Lou Reed album everyone hated, they’ve been a bore ever since. This is an okay idea but the song is a hard slog pulled from 1991 and refurbished into… what? Not prog…. not metalcore… – C-

All Within My Hands (Live) – Metallica, San Francisco Symphony – dire, just stop – D+

Wishing Well – Mike Polizze – Mike joined by Kurt Vile, who usually drives me up the wall, on a truly lovely, guitar picked song – B+

Baby Shark – Mini Stars, Pinkfong, Luis Fonsi – if you have a toddler you probably thought it was safe to go back into the water, but with Luis Fonsi (I didn’t know he had kids) helming, it will be back in heavy rotation soon enough – B

Source [Feat. Ms MAURICE, Cassie Kinoshi, Richie Seivwright] – Nubya Garcia, Ms MAURICE, Cassie Kino – the first four minutes of mainstream jazz sounds and hi hat drums are great, the next 8 minutes less so – B-

Baby – Onyx Collective – lovely laid back r&b with jazz elements – B

Down By The Water – Demo – PJ Harvey – From PJ Harvey’s greatest era with a strapped on guitar and a sexy demeanor -I saw her FOUR TIMES on the To Bring You My Love, literally every time she played New York on the tour.  The next time she played New York was at the Hammerstein behind another killer album (Is This Desire?) but the guitar was gone. I digress, the problem, if it is a problem, is that the song was finished and just missing the shading so big whoop… on the other hand, it’s a great song – A-

17again – Powfu – Powfu enlisted the great beabadoobee for one of the year’s best songs, “Death Bed”, and if that was sad (as a young death tends to be), this one finds no happiness in a break up with strummed guitar from the depths of his bedroom – B+

I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man (1979 Version) – 2020 Remaster – Prince – I may prefer this to the original as anticipation for the deluxe Sign O’ The Times grows with the release of  this early version: a little faster, a little choppier and a little younger – SINGLE OF THE WEEK – A

Thinking About You (with Winona Oak) – R3HAB, Winona Oak – Moroccan DJ melds r&b to dance with pretty good results – B

fuck, i luv my friends – renforshort – sad songs girl with a spectacular melodic gift and a vibe so young it’s depressing, and the little guitar lick to close it is a beaut. Mike Shinoda remixed a different song for her which means either 1) i’m late, 2) she has friends and/or family in high places, 3) she is on a major label . The answer is 3) she’s on Interscope – A-

Area 51 – Rockford – recorded in isolation, the LA rockers (our Edward Huerta plays drums) with a haunting “Amazing Stories” look at aliens on a strong outing – B+


Through The Wire – Rod Wave – he calls it Ghetto Gospel, and a fine piece of soul it is – B

Imagine – Steve Aoki, Frank Walker, AJ Mitchell – no not that one from the Benihana heir – C+

I Believe in Miracles – Supersuckers, Eddie Vedder – Pearl Jam’s go to Ramones song with superpunks Supersuckers and Eddie growling his way through it – B

The Soul Singer – The Waterboys – The horns are nice – C+

Play Fight (with Tinashe) – THEY., Tinashe – a goodie from the r&b duo plus Tinashe (who has had a good week) – B+

Rascal (Superstar) – Tinashe – super sweet r&b sizzler – B

Don’t Call Again – Tkay Maidza, Kari Faux – good rap, great chorus – B

It’s Not Unusual – Live On The Ed Sullivan Show, April 21, 1968 – Tom Jones – I have no idea why Tom Jones released a live take of “It’s Not Unusual” taken at twice the speed of light or 84 seconds whichever comes first, I believe it is part of an Ed Sullivan live album in the works as it follows James Brown’s “Prisoner Of Love” from the same show a coupla weeks ago – B

Easy – Troye Sivan – the gayteen sounds a little older, a little deeper into arrangements and arrangements, on a fine slice of perfect pop romance – B+

Sweet Transvestite – T.S.O.L., Keith Morris – nothing if not a fun punk take on Timmy as Rocky, though I recommend they try his “Paradise Garage”… you don’t know it? It goes like this… – B

Walk Away – Well Wisher – acoustic folk singer songwriter stuff – B

Hammond Song – Whitney – A fine cover of the great song off the Roches debut album, and Julian doesn’t even double (triple?) track his voice, the instrumental break is fabulous  – B+

Smile (feat. H.E.R.) – WizKid, H.E.R. – her favorite year continues with the backing harmonies on Nigerian r&b star Wizkid’s classy and evocative piece of soul – A-

Strawberry Lipstick – YUNGBLUD – glammy rocker for the exhibitionist pop star – B-

Funny – Zedd, Jasmine Thompson – Jasmine is the teen who covered Meghan Trainor’s “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” with a sincere and intense performance, Zedd is a big time DJ behind “The Middle,” and this is a lovely pop dance track – B

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