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The Early Bird: Top New Recorded Releases 12-16-22 – 12-22-22 Reviewed

I received an email from close personal friend Olivia Rodrigo (here) and it was a well wishers well wishing:

So despite her (excellent) tour in the Spring of 2022, Olivia Rodrigo had a quiet 22 after the career making turmoil of 21 and overnight superstardom. What Olivia’s debut solo album in 2021, Sour, taught us was that she could write songs and had an innate gift for a post-punk, classic rock vibe.

Olivia’s new song “The Bels” is post punk brilliance, the vocals fucked with till it pitches high, probably because she wrote it when she was SIX YEARS OF AGE!, the drums solid so they beat us with love and terrific lyrics:

“Red and green is a Christmas queen
Make the holidays special to me
Oh, see the dancin’ gingerbread dance in your head
Wait, wait, wait for the bells ring there

Now let me hear it out loud
Santa’s coming to town
Ho, ho, ho, ho
Wait for the bells”

A six year old wrote that? How? The working through of a unique vision of Christmas not starting till you have heard the bells on Santa’s sleigh ringing us in is remarkable at any age. The song is a Paramore circa “Misery Business”, but it is better and the hook is a Christmas miracle or as Rodrigo put it “Here’s a hoLIVday surprise for you!”. Listen here. Initially released in a truncated version last year you can hear it all now.

Still with singles, I reviewed Sam Huber and The True Groove Allstars outstanding cover of Mack Rice’s (the great man behind “Mustang Sally”) “Santa Clause Wants Some Lovin’” yesterday (here) (Grade: A-) and I reviewed Barry Holdship’s rocking party “Winter Wonderland” (here) (Grade: B+), the R&B trio Flo won the Brit Awards’ Rising Star award (a big deal) and “Losing You” is fine though a bit generic, the harmonies are excellent (Grade: B), I was writing this when the next song came up and I was so impressed with the soulful emo sound and voice but I didn’t recognize it… or did I? Another new Juice WRLD track “Face 2 Face” and it has quite a bit of “Lucid Dreams” (Grade: B+).

Over at albums, I was reading Brooklynvegan’s fifty albums of the year and there at # 1? A band I didn’t recognize, hardcore emocore Soul Glo and while as indifferent to the genre me don’t necessarily agree, I do agree that Diaspora Problems is a major piece of screamo with melody coming out time after time (Grade: B+) , producer Mura Masa is Jack Antonoff with a better ear and PinkPantheress’s new EP Take Me Home is just three songs but it has a tantalic (hmmm: I mean the sound is crystalline) quality and a hint of huperpop (Grade: B). The songs following the double were uniformly excellent but whileMorgan whalen’s three songs of country rock on One Thing At A Time sampler are fine they aren’t as fine (Grade: B+), Lil Durk is the king of Chicago drill, Only The Family are Chicago MCs with a bad bad attitude and the sound is variant drill beats trap beats (Grade: B+), I’m actually going to see Avatar: The Way of Water today and let’s hope it is better than a rare The Weeknd misfire and incidental music on the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Grade: C)

Winter Wonderland – Barry Holdship – B+

Losing You – FLO – B

Face 2 Face – Juice WRLD – B+

Only The Family – Lil Durk Presents: Loyal Bros 2 – B+

One Thing At A Time (Sampler) – Morgan Whalen – B+

The Bels – Olivia Rodrigo – A

Avatar: The Way of Water – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – C

Take me home – PinkPantheress – B

Santa Clause Wants Some Lovin’ – Sam Huber And The True Groove Allstars – A-

Diaspora Problems – Soul Glo – B+

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