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The Early Bird: Top New Recorded Releases 5-13-22 – 5-19-22 Reviewed

After five years, the Compton Pulitzer Prize winning rapper who is one of the best rhymers, if not rappers, ever, returns with an 18 song winner in Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers that may not have the power drive of Pimp, it replaces with what amounts to a pop music move if only because of its length. Pre, post, during the pandemic, Kendrick is in burn the city down mode on an album that includes a sucker punch to rap 2022 on “N95” and goes all the way to the best song on the album, “Mother I’m Sober” featuring Beth Gibbons. While “We Cry Together” is awful, most of it is at least alright. The poppier it gets, the better it gets with complete blow outs like the great “Die Hard” and the black trauma center that is “Mr. Morale”. First listen but so far so good (Grade: A-)

I reviewed Tomas Doncker’s video album Born To Be earlier today (here), a seven song trip to where the personal meets the public (Grade: A-), April Rose Gabrielli’s solo debut EP Unreasonable Woman includes the three singles we have heard and three which we haven’t, including the syncopated cleverness that is instantly on a best of 2022, “Happy” . Speaking of unreasonably women, Peggy Lee On The Ed Sullivan Show 1963-1969 shows the great torch and jazz singer on a set of first rate Great American Songbook -if you want to know why Lady Gaga can not do this kinda of thing, listen to how it should be done (Grade: A), Ryan Adams second album of the year hits the streaming services today and Romeo & Juliet while not as cohesive as Chris, it at least points forward to a post-cancelled Ryan (Grade: B+), Dance Fever might not be as great as Lungs, it is still Florence Welch using that powerful voice for a collection of songs actially that deserves it (Grade: B+).

Over at singles, the stars are aligned for a major new album by Morgan Wallen with “You Proof” the third great single and counting which features the best arrangement he has ever presented (Grade: A), a dog with fleas from Gerard Way’s return to sender My Chemical Romance on a song that could well be dismissed simply on the strength of the song title “The Foundations of Decay” like the Cure at their most moribund (Grade: D+), full disclosure: I tend to get Post Malone wrong and it can take a month for his recordings to hit the sweet spot, so maybe the autotuned emorap of “Cooped Up” will improve in time (Grade: C-), “Welcome To Hell” is black midi going spoken word.. . oh, dear (Grade: C-)

Unreasonable Woman – April Rose Gabrielli – A-

Welcome To Hell – black midi – C

Dance Fever – Florence + The Machine – B+

Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers – Kendrick Lamar – A-

You Proof – Morgan Wallen – A-

The Foundations of Decay – My Chemical Romance – D+

Peggy Lee On The Ed Sullivan Show 1963-1969 – Peggy Lee – A

Cooped Up (with Roddy Ricch) – Post Malone – C-

Romeo & Juliet – Ryan Adams – B+

Born To Be – Tomas Doncker – A-

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