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The Early Bird: Top New Recorded Releases 1-24-20 – 1-30-20

Next week, Drive-By-Truckers and Kesha awaits us, last week there was such an abundance of riches I reviewed over 90 singles, but this week seems a little on the anemic side. Unless you are in the market for a four song EP dating from 1969 by  Simon & Garfunkel whose selling points are 1) it was recorded live at Carnegie Hall and  2) introduces “Bridge Over Troubled Water” as a song you haven’t heard before (Grade: B). Still in the live albums, journeyman, blue eyed soul singer Paul Carrack’s  Live: The Independent Years, Vol. 1 (2000 – 2020) is not a revelation but is a pleasure for a certain type of aesthetic, like rock nyc writer Bob Nevin, who admires his new wave goes r&b and, admittedly, ace vocals, though how much due to Nevin’s Squeeze addiction only he can answer. Me? I was waiting for “How Long” but it ain’t there and while settling into  over an hour of eye rolling, found I didn’t hate his dusty but careful MOR entirely(Grade: B-). As long as we are on albums we don’t much need, Britpop trio Supergrass’s retro The Strange Ones: 1994-2008  is a strong, 32 song, run through of hits, misses, deep album tracks, live tracks, and demos that reminds you how Gaz Coombes added garage rock to Brit power trioing (Grade: B), Still retro(ish) disco divas Pet Shop Boys have never really stopped selling their synth pop moves, to ever decreasing effect with Stuart Price, well in his happy place with Hotspot on the tinny sounding synth blowout tracks like “Will-O-The-Wisp” (Grade: C+).

Over in the world of singles, Rosalia has spent the past year proving she isn’t just about flamenco, and now we are convinced she’s right releases a flamenco song “Juro Qué,” that makes zero consensions to her burgeoning international fan base (Grade: B), the same seems to be true of Ricky Martin, whose bachata soul Latin pop sounds like “I Want To Know What Love Is” -unfortunately (Grade: C), more bachata on Prince Royce’s made for teen Latinas “Cita (Grade: C+).

Still on singles, Jessie Reyez is my fave new singer of the century -she imparts a sweet, grasped at the edge of her voice ache that adds depth and importance to everything she touches, even a mediocre song like “Love In The Dark” (Grade: B+), since Hayley Williams IS Paramore, I guess the difference is the disco beats and heavy breathing and slow, well, “Simmer” and why go solo for this? (Grade: C+), now we can we all agree 1997 was not a great year for David Bowie and “Stay ’97” is atrocious, it just isn’t a song that needs a damn thing doing to it and the industrial bend and over performing is… just, no (Grade: D), Fuck Eddie Vedder, I didn’t get the verified fan code for ticketmaster and Stubhub has tix on sale for thousands.. oh and “Dance Of The Clairvoyants” is a complete turkey (Grade: D+),  Cage The Elephant add Iggy Pop to “Broken Boy” and sure it improves, but by not that much (Grade: C+).

One more: my feelings about professional pophead Wiz Khalifa is well documented (I don’t like him much), but kudos to all concerned for “Speed Me Up” that takes the great Sueco The Child song and hurrys it up and adds two rappers and Ty Dolla $ign  (Grade: B+).

Broken Boy (feat. Iggy Pop) – Cage The Elephant, Iggy Pop – C+

Stay ’97 – David Bowie – D

Simmer – Hayley Williams – C+

LOVE IN THE DARK – Jessie Reyez – B+

Paul Carrack Live: The Independent Years, Vol. 1 (2000 – 2020) – Paul Carrack – B-

Dance Of The Clairvoyants – Pearl Jam – D+

Hotspot – Pet Shop Boys – C+

Cita – Prince Royce – C+

Tiburones – Ricky Martin – C

Juro Qué – ROSALÍA – C

Live At Carnegie Hall 1969 – Simon & Garfunkel – B

The Strange Ones: 1994-2008 – Supergrass – B

Speed Me Up  – Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla $ign, Lil Yachty, Sueco the Child – B+

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