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The Early Bird: Top New Recorded Releases 9-10-21 – 9-16-21 Reviewed

It’s been two years plus since Norman Fucking Rockwell blew us all away and since then Lana Del Rey has released a string of alright singles and a truly tedious follow up, Chemtrails something something, and she still is stuck in LA on “Arcadia” taster off her soon come second album of the year, and it is a sing songy snooze sexiness -a pleasant enough piano driven, sleep inducing track where she compares her chest to the Sierra Madres as maybe the best of her metaphors here. Lana better have better in store on Blue Banister (Grade: B-).

Remaining with singles, I thought “Bad Habits” was just bad EDM but the proof of pop is in the sales and Ed Sheeran proved himself a long way from gone and I dislike “Shivers” -another EDM poppiness you can imagine coming from the Little Mix’s of the world, but that doesn’t mean you will (Grade: C); I’ve loved Planningtorock since she performed at the DFA gig in 2013 (here), and just last week she had one of the best moments on the Lady Gaga remix album of Chromatica, her new single “Girl You’ve Got My Heart” has the best beat as a hook I’ve heard this week on a electronica dance track gagging for a remix itself (Grade: B+); I missed the most famous bottom this side of Lil Nas X, Troye Sivan’s first single off his eagerly anticipated second album but here is the second one, “Angel Baby” has a 50s swing to its pure pop instrumentation (Grade: B+); Radiohead are readying a box set of two of their best albums, Kid A and Amnesia, and I can see no reason why the contemporary “If You Say The Word” didn’t make Kid A at least, a lush ballad with the usual sounds and jiggers mucking up the works (Grade: B+); it has been four years since Ctrl and I am, personally, sick of her endless features and one offs, also I don’t like “Dear Evan” at all, so though I admire her switch up on “The Anonymous Ones” to neo-R&B, it is far from what I want (Grade: B).

Earlier today I reviewed Elvis Costello’s electric reworking of his second album Spanish Model (Grade: A) and Lorde’s Māori language five songs off her last album, Te Ao Mārama (Grade: A-) (here); you get the sense that Metallica asked everybody they knew to cover there songs for Blacklist, and everybody said yes. With 50 songs in pocket some are better than others, but if you thought you’d never want to hear Alessia Cara covering “Enter The Sandman,” think again, and that is only one of six versions on the behemoth and whos who of all genres of pop, rock, Latin-Urbano, country and more (Grade: B+); four years after their last album, the dance and electronica moodiness that is Saint Etienne, the long term trio return with a simply splendid dream pop recording, I’ve Been Trying To Tell You (Grade: A-); from a 1966 recording just unearthed, Laura Nyro’s Go Find the Moon: The Audition Tape, is now being released and it finds the fully formed teen with her voice and her songs as strong as they ever were, the “Lazy Susan” is an absolute gem (Grade: A). One more? Nah, I was going to include J Balvin’s new one but I think I’ll give it more time…

Shivers – Ed Sheeran – C

Spanish Model – Elvis Costello – A

Arcadia – Lana Del Rey – B-

Go Find the Moon: The Audition Tape – Laura Nyro – A

Te Ao Mārama – Lorde – A-

The Metallica Blacklist – Metallica – B+

Girl You’ve Got My Heart – Planningtorock – B+

If You Say the Word – Radiohead – B+

I’ve Been Trying To Tell You – Saint Etienne – A-

The Anonymous Ones – From The “Dear Evan Hansen” Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – SZA – B

Angel Baby – Troye Sivan – B+

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