The Early Bird: Top New Recorded Releases 7-9-21 – 7-15-21 Reviewed
On Vince Staples eponymous fourth album, the Cali rapper emerges as the singer-songwriter of rap on a short, highly concentrated collection of biographical raps, minimalist and all about the words, “you can never be too safe” he warns and he is right, claiming himself as Cali beach boy and he even goes more mainstream on “Law Of Averages”. A very strong release and as different from trap as Stravinsky is from pop (Grade: B+).
Over at singles, I reviewed Los Lobos ode to the Pacific Ocean cover of “Jamaica, Say You Will” earlier today (here) (Grade: B), Bright Eyes” “Flirted With You All My Life” has a clever lyric equating what you might have assumed was about a love but actually was about death (Grade: B-), BTS get a co-write from Ed Sheeran on their best song yet, the gorgeous pop rocking meets 70s style disco “Permission To Dance” (it would have been higher but I’m not sold on the bridge) (Grade: B+) , Post Malone returns to rap after a couple of years playing with the classic rock genre and adds his rock infatuation in the chorus and raps well if uninspired on the verses on “Motley Crew” (Grade: B-), The Kid LAROI has already broken pop but this is other level with not just Justin adding his voice on the singer songwriter crossover, but also Charlie Puth who gets a co-write and co-produce credit (Grade: B), it’s always a pleasure to hear from one of our more underrated songwriters, the always creative LP and her “Goodbye” is a sweet pop move that is the sort of song St. Vincent keeps on aiming for (Grade: A-).
Over at albums, Little Stevie and the Disciples of Soul are not Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band, though this behemoth Nov. 6, 2019 show at the Beacon must have lasted over two and a half hours, the money is in the adds on Summer Of Sorcery Live! including Bruce on “Sun City” and Peter Wolf on an awesome “(Ain’t Nothing But A) House Party” . Ken Davis reviewed the show for us (here) and, yet again, I shoulda listened to Ken and gone (Grade: B+), between reading his memoirs and watching him being interviewed (here) I grew fond of Andrew LLoyd Webber again and Cinderella is Andrew at his poppiest, maybe not “Jesus Christ, Superstar” pop but more so than his last couple of operas (Grade: B), Space Jam: A New Legacy (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) the movie doesn’t drop till July 16th, but some of these mashups are great, I mean Lil Baby and Kirk Franklin? Really.? 24Goldn and Lil Wayne? Saint Jhn and SZA? (Grade: B+), Amy Grant didn’t lose her religion but the Christian singer went secular decades ago with a crossover triumph now released again as Heart In Motion (30th Anniversary Edition), which includes a terrific additional album worth of unreleased songs and remixes of the hits (Grade: A-). With a who’s who of features that gives Space Jam a run for its money, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are the legendary producers who have hit the charts 31 times, most memorably with Janet Jackson, and with everyone from Mariah Carey and Mary J Blige to Charlie Wilson and Usher on hand, they excel at r&b slow jams, especially with women singing, but not as much as they used to, on Jam & Lewis, Volume One (Grade: B).
Heart In Motion (30th Anniversary Edition) – Amy Grant – A-
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cinderella” – Andrew Lloyd Webber
Flirted With You All My Life – Bright Eyes – B-
Permission To Dance – BTS – B+
Jam & Lewis, Volume One – Jam & Lewis –
Summer Of Sorcery Live! At The Beacon Theatre – Little Steven And The Disciples Of Soul – B+
Jamaica, Say You Will – Los Lobos – B
Goodbye – LP – A-
Motley Crew – Post Malone – B-
Stay (with Justin Bieber) – The Kid LAROI – B
Space Jam: A New Legacy (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – Various Artists – B+
Vince Staples – Vince Staples – B+