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The Early Bird: Top New Recorded Releases 8-13-21 – 8-19-21 Reviewed

Big Thief have been moving steadily away from their folk roots, on “Little Things” the drums are highly accentuated and the guitars are indie rock meets Americana on an attractive song (Grade: B+), speaking of rock and adding a different flava, Chris Stapleton kills his turn at the Metallica wheel of fortune and performs a dark and bluesy version of “Nothing Else Matters” while Phoebe Bridgers has her re-arranging her own take on “Nothing Else Matters” into brooding Americana (Grade: B-), which leads me to Dolly Parton’s best song since, wow, since 2011’s “In The Meantime,” with the also faith based romance “Sent From Above”; I’ve had my problems with Dolly partially because I find living icons always a little iffy, partially because while I enjoyed her 2016 gig at Forest Hills Stadium (here) I wasn’t that impressed, and partially because I disliked her last two albums, but “Sent From Above” is lovely country pop (Grade: B+), still on country -kudos to Luke Bryan with another song about country singers and lost friends, “Songs You Never Heard” (Grade: B).

I’ve already reviewed Yemi Alade’s Afrobeats pop collection Queendoncom (here) (Grade: A-), Paul Anka is amazingly enough still recording new material and Making Memories is pure 70s style MOR -it is the Anka we know from “Having My Baby,” some new, some old and the Olivia Newton-John raison d’etre, as “Put Your Head On My Shoulders” became a surprise (is there any other kind?) Tik Tok hit and forcing his hand to drop a new album eight years after his last one (Grade: B-), I can’t blame Jennifer Hudson for not being Aretha Franklin, and she gives credible if useless versions of some of Ree’s greatest moments on RESPECT (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (Grade: B), Men At Work’s Colin Hay performs credible takes on 60s hits I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself including the title track and “Waterloo Sunset” … altogether, “dirty old river, must you keep rolling…?” (Grade: B-), from 1991 to 2000 Primal Scream were the greatest rock n roll band in the UK -badass Stones wannabes who could, you know, actually do it, and near the beginning is one of their best, here in a Memphis recordings 23 songs Give Out But Don’t Give Up, “Rocks” is the greatest Stones steal I’ve ever heard -and dig those Memphis horns (Grade: A), the 5 Seconds Of Summer lead singer Luke Hemmings with a collection that reminds me of Harry Styles’ debut solo album, When Facing the Things We Turn Away From – well sung, well recorded, mainstream, adult rock pop (Grade: B-), by now Willie Nile’s late career bloom has lasted longer (and better) than his initial run, the title track The Day The Earth Stood Still is outstanding and the mode is Americana meets New Wave (Grade: B+).

Finally, if you don’t love Lizzo there is something morally wrong with you, I bet you haven’t even had you vaccines, and if you don’t love her post-world conquest “Rumors” with a well spitted Cardi B verse as she revels in success and I instantly added it to the best of 2021, you sure should (Grade: A-)

Little Things – Big Thief – B+

Nothing Else Matters – Chris Stapleton – B

I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself – Colin Hay – B-

Sent From ABove – Dolly Parton – B+

RESPECT (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – Jennifer Hudson – B

Rumors (feat. Cardi B) – Lizzo – A-

When Facing the Things We Turn Away From – Luke Hemmings – B-

Making Memories – Paul Anka -B-

Give Out But Don’t Give Up (The Original Memphis Recordings) – Primal Scream – A-

Nothing Else Matters – Phoebe Bridgers – B-

The Day The Earth Stood Still – Willie Nile – B+

Queendoncom – Yemi Alade – A-

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