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The Early Bird: New Releases 12-21-18 – 12-27-18 Reviewed

Usually more is less in pop music, unless it is a really great thing, like The Beatles, you are better off with the ten song original. But there are exceptions and if you aren’t in the market for Morrissey covering “Rose Garden” you’re a better man than I am. The problem with Low In High School is not the lyrics and not the singing and not the music, it is the lack of memorable melodies. The deluxe version has a similar issue, except there are three great covers, “Are You Sure Hank Done It That Way,” “Rose Garden,” and a beautiful vocal performance on “Judy Is A Punk,” plus two strong originals, “This Song Doesn’t End When It’s Over” and  “Never Again Will I Be A Twin”. If you add the nine new ones to the 12 originals, the album gains a great deal of power and the breadth of a statement (Grade: B+). The other big album on this quiet week (it is gonna be like this till February) is the new 21 Savage, I Am > I Was. It has been 18 months since the last gangsta standing’s debut album, and this improves both in depth of feeling (try “letter 2 my momma”) and scope of nastiness, while Savage’s’  rhymes are about as vicious as you could hope for. Though there are a ton of featured artists (Childish Gambino for one), his sound can get a little samey. Even so, not bad at all (Grade: B+)

Over to singles, 5 Seconds of Summer are joined by Julia Michael’s on the 1D when playing the soul card “Lie To Me” (Grade: B),, after Normani and Camila Cabello, Ally Brooke is the third Fifth Harmony to go solo, unfortunately “The Truth Is In There” is non-descript EDM pop (Grade: C+), DIdo has been away since 2013,finds her playing to her strengths on the quietly deceptive  “Friends” (Grade: B). Florida Georgia Line’s “Meant to be” was quite good but that’s the only song they’ve made I can (with)stand, “People Are Different” is a horrendous piece of one world opinion  track (Grade: C-). “Fire On Fire” (off the soundtrack of a “Watership Down” reboot) is the new old Smith well sung but overwrought bad song (Grade: C). Jack White’s would be power pop band, The Raconteurs, are back for the first time in ten year and except for “Steady, As She Goes,” nobody gave a fuck to start with and “Now That You’re Gone” won’t change anybody’s minds at all (Grade: C).

Like I said, it is a quiet week but it can never be so quiet that you can spend over two and a half hours listening to The Dream’s Menage a tTois: Sextape Vol 1,2,3 -a relentlessly boring behemoth of yuck. This is the man who co-wrote “Umbrella,” who co-wrote “1+1,” not to mention Ty Dolla $igns’ huge hit “Love U Better”  and yet he has never paid off on his immense talents and his solo career has been mediocre at best. This album might work as a single, but they all sound the same so it is hard to say (Grade: C-)


I Am > I Was – 21 Savage – B+

Lie To Me – 5 Seconds Of Summer – B+

The Truth Is In There – Ally Brooke  – C+

Friends – Dido – B

Low In High School (Deluxe Edition) – Morrissey – B+

Fire On Fire – Sam Smith – C

Menage a Trois: Sextape Vol 1,2,3 – The-Dream – C-

Now That You’re Gone – The Raconteurs – C

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