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The Early Bird: Top New Recorded Releases 8-27-21 – 9-2-21 Reviewed

They is a God

Halsey has always been a troubled woman, among other things they got their heart broken (don’t ask me about the pronouns, it’s its call not mine) by G-Eazy… nothing if not very difficult and maneuvered through her career unsure where she stood. The one time I saw her live (with my great-niece Juliet, who is a huge fan) Halsey was excellent and while I haven’t been crazy about their recorded output both of their last two albums have been huge (and “Closer” had streams in the billions). I am crazy about the genre bending If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power. Produced by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, it is Halsey on the beauty and also the weariness of pregnancy and childbirth and it sounds excellent as it works between dance and electronica (Grade: A).

Still on longer players, I reviewed The Beatles Let It Be (2021 Remix) earlier today (here) and Billy Preston is the hidden x factor (Grade: A), Marshall Crenshaw’s The Wild Exciting Sounds of Marshall Crenshaw: Live in the 20th and 21st Century includes the best take on “Monday Morning Rock” I’ve ever heard and while I could have used more of those mid-10s EP tracks, at least we get “I Don’t See You Laughing Now” and his Elvis Presley take kinda makes up for it (Grade: A), modern r&b and rap talent Belly with a modern hip hop album, See You Next Wednesday is the Palestinian via Canada rapper’s feature crammed move onto the charts… The Weeknd is on two tracks (Grade: A), the Beach Boys latest box set, “Feel Flows” The Sunflower & Surf’s Up Sessions 1969-1971 (Super Deluxe) has some great moments (a terrific take on “Disney Girls” and “Cotton Fields”) and while neither album is the Beach Boys at their best, they are both worth listening on this 133 track behemoth… at least once (Grade: A), Wizkid or Burna Boy for best practitioner on Afrobeats pop? Actually, right now it is the towering Yemi Alade but Wizkid comes in second by adding four tracks to last years excellent Made In Lagos (Grade: A).

Over at singles, BTS’s giant disco hit “Butter” is given a rap by Megan Thee Stallion, it’s okay (Grade: B), Eric Clapton returns with a blues pop track with some understated guitar (Grade: B), Luke Combs is Morgan Whalen without the dumbass drunkenness and “South On Ya” is a Red State country rocker that won’t offend you and a terrific guitar solo on the bridge (Grade: A-). “Look at all those slave masters posing on your dollar bills” was a great line last year and Run The Jewels have included a really strong remix highlighted by Pharrell who gives it the only it could possibly be missing, a gooey tunefulness on “JU$T”, I haven’t cared for Jim Jones since he destroyed what was left of Conor Oberst as Monsters Of Folk, even so My Morning Jacket’s “Regularly Scheduled Programming” is sweet Americana with a nice jam at the end (Grade: B). Finally, sure no one is gonna love William Shatner and Joe Jonas’s “Cloud Of Guilt” though Shatner still makes me smile (Grade: B-).

See You Next Wednesday – Belly – A

Butter (feat. Megan Thee Stallion) – BTS – B

This Has Gotta Stop – Eric Clapton – B

South On Ya – Luke Combs – A-

If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power – Halsey – A

The Wild Exciting Sounds of Marshall Crenshaw: Live in the 20th and 21st Century – Marshall Crenshaw – A

Regularly Scheduled Programming – My Morning Jacket – B

JU$T (feat. Pharrell Williams & Zack de la Rocha) – Toy Selectah Remix – Run The Jewels – A

“Feel Flows” The Sunflower & Surf’s Up Sessions 1969-1971 (Super Deluxe)- The Beach Boys – A

Let It Be (2021 Remix) – The Beatles – A

Clouds of Guilt (with Joe Jonas) – William Shatner – B

Made In Lagos: Deluxe Edition – Wizkid – A

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