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The Early Bird: Top New Albums 7-7-23 – 7-13-23 Reviewed

MYCELiUM – Aluna – when she was half of Alunageorge, her crossover, electronic dance was very good, solo she can’t compete with, say, Jessie Ware, everything is heavy on the beat synthing – C+

I Inside the Old Year Dying – PJ Harvey – inspired by her epic poem “Oram” is an obtuse set of art rock folk stuff in search of a memorable song; Harvey is so gifted that nothing she does can be so bad, but she isn’t what she was, and if 1991’s Is This Desire? was her last flat out undeniable album was circa 2000, and while Let England Swing was a close third, that was in 2011. she isn’t pretentious but she hasn’t been the artist she was and the songs aren’t much fun – B

Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) – Taylor Swift – Speak Now is one of Swift’s best albums, only her third and yet a nigh on flawless collection with some of her finest moments (though you wouldn’t know it from the Eras Tour): the title track, “Mine” “Dear John”, the first nine songs are unmissable, listen to em in order and she will hear the arrival of a superstar. But it is so good that her reworkings aren’t as good, her voice is thicker and her performance is out of synch and the songs from the vaults aren’t nearly as good as what we have. And it is still great because there is only so far wrong you can go with “Mine” and its best in class: “You made a rebel of a careless man’s careful daughter…” – A-

The Endless Coloured Ways: The Songs Of Nick Drake – I loved Nick Drake but very late to the party and not as much as you do, and I mistakenly wrote this is all British artists, but the 23 covers are all over the place and both Fontaines DC and Liz Phair did themselves a favor – B+

The Singles: Echoes from the Edge of Heaven – Wham! – the duo have improved over the years mostly because George came out and died and his work with Wham has been studied and from a New Romantic offshoot to funk masters who can sometimes record killer pop tracks if not killer raps, they’ve survived and prospered – B+

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