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The Early Bird: New Top Releases Reviewed 1-5-18 – 1-11-18

The only new album I’ve been able to scour up is DIY stalwart Jeff Rosenstock’s mix and match of punk and post-punk power pop on the aptly named Post, an awful good hi-energy manic depression post-Trump et tu USA (Grade B+). PS “USA” is the first song of my new to 2018 best songs of the year category.

And that is all I can find for albums… but singles? Let’s start with the best news of 2018, after the execrable 2016 Trolls Soundtrack, with contender of worst big time hit single ever, “Can’t Stop The Feeling,” I had very big time worries over the upcoming Justin Timberlake album, but the first single “Filthy” is the first great single  of 2018. A genre switch-up funk to dance to electronic tempo shape shifter that is so great it took me by storm, Timberland and Timberlake (and Danja) share production chores and the song is a smackdown for  future sex lovers everywhere. Man Of The Woods might be a masterpiece, “Filthy” certainly is (Grade: A)

If there is a bigger disappointment in the 2010s than Patrick Stickle’s inability to follow up The Monitor, it is Conor Oberst’s inability to follow up Conor Oberst. Two years after Titus Andronicus great but not great enough, though if “Fatal Flaw” failed to break Titus Andronicus into E Street Band land, you can’t blame Patrick for thinking “fuck em, let me follow my muse”. “Number One (In New York)” is all preamble and no song, acoustic by liu of its lack of electric guitar it is ten minutes of sludging downward spiral, it’s like a waltz that can’t dance. Yet, I love it because I am a sucker for the band, when they aren’t clicking they still sound unique and alive and deadly and depressed. Grade: B+

Kendrick Lamar rights a problem I’ve had with him all through Damn., he can’t write songs. With SZA (a woman I don’t much care for at all… till now), he finally writes an excellent r&b track for the soundtrack to the Marvel black superhero flick “Black Panther”. A terrific funk soul twister, and SZA sounds so good I may just have got her wrong. Grade: B+. It’s good to have The Vaccines back with a piece of rock and roll bubblegum by the always welcome UK boys on the thumping “I Can’t Quit,” Grade: B+. And Fetty Wap, the laziest man in trap, with a echoey and slurred but pretty good “With You” builds to a terrific conclusion. Grade: B+

So, a very impressive first week of the new year.

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