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The Early Bird: Top New Recorded Releases 7-2-21 – 7-8-21 Reviewed


The Big Red Machine’s third single off their upcoming sophomore release finds Justin Vernon, and Aaron Dessner, reunited and it feels so good with Taylor Swift on “Renegade”. Justin had a couple of songs off the Aaron co-produced Swift masterpieces from 2020, folklore and evermore. The third single off the album is like the same indie rock Americana  without Jack Antonoff’s presence and a little less pastoral. Aaron Dessner said “Making music with your friends just to make it—that’s how Big Red Machine started and has grown—and that’s how Renegade came about too. This song was something we wrote after we finished evermore and it dawned on us that this was a BRM song. Taylor’s words hit me so hard when I heard her first voice memo and still do, every time. Justin lifted the song further into the heavens, and my brother [Bryce Dessner]’s strings and drummer Jason Treuting add so much. The feeling and sound of this song feel very much at the heart of How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last? I’m so grateful to Taylor for continuing to share her incredible talent with me and that we are still finding excuses to make music together.” It is a little knockout of a song with a not untypical Swiftian lyric about a messed up lover and the attempt to piece him together, the drums are so steady I thought it was a (Big Red?) drum machine and Justin’s back up vocals are as quietly intense harmonizing as you’ll hear (Grade: A-).

Staying with singles, I reviewed the first release from Tribeca Records, Randy Edelman’s back to living again “Comin’ Out The Other Side” earlier today (here) (Grade: A-), the Nas freestyle track from 1993 is finally completed with two great featured rappers, the OG of the moment Freddie Gibbs and Cordae, whose 2019 The Lost Boy is old school hip hop, are terrific adds (Grade: B+), J Balvin’s star couldn’t shine any brighter after that Amazon documentary, and adding EDM with one of great DJs adds a different dimension to his reggaeton on “In Da Getto” (Grade: B+), a catchy Latin pop track with Trap backing and Farukko graduating to one of Latin Americans biggest stars (Grade: B), Iggy was cancelled for cultural appropriation except she was really cancelled for fucking black rappers and black basketball stars and it drove black women bonkers but the Australian rapper was always talented and this has a relentless beat and Iggy sounds like she is removing her clothes to the beats (Grade: B).

Over at albums, Queen’s Greatest Hits is getting a makeover on vinyl, CD, and cassette, the 1981 release is, essentially, except for a handful of songs,  everything you need from the band (Grade: A), another greatest hits, this a tenth year anniversary, by adult contemporary hit making machine Richard Marx with Stories To Tell: Greatest Hits and More  is precisely that (Grade: B), four of Joni Mitchell’s earliest albums compiled on The Reprise Albums (1968–1971), recorded for Frank Sinatra’s Reprise Records (which explains Frank’s cover on Cycles, here), all of which we know like the back of our hands and yet, alright, let’s listen once more (Grade: A+), I saw Laura Mvula at Le Poisson Rouge back when her second album dropped, five years later her third album has heavy beats  pounding an album of neo-R&B art bangers (Grade: B+), Nas adds nothing much on the expanded edition to no it isn’t Illmatic follow up 1996’s It Was Written (Grade: A-). Finally, jxdn is my favorite pop punker, Tik Tok famer, singer songwriter (his “Driver’s License” cover is a must hear), on the fine rocking, Travis Barker produced Tell Me About Tomorrow (Grade: B+)

Renegade – Big Red Machine – A-
ME PASE (feat. Farruko)- Enrique Iglesias – B
In Da Getto – J Balvin, Skrillex – B+
I Am The Stripclub – Iggy Azalea – B
The Reprise Albums (1968-1971) – Joni Mitchell – A+
Tell Me About Tomorrow – jxdn – B+
Pink Noise – Laura Mvula – B+
Life is Like a Dice Game – Spotify Singles – Nas, Cordae, Freddie Gibbs – B+
It Was Written (Expanded Edition) – Nas – A-
Comin’ Out The Other Side – Randy Edelman – A-
Stories To Tell: Greatest Hits and More – Richard Marx – B
Queen’s Greatest Hits – Queen – A

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