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The Early Bird: Top New Recorded Releases 9-2-22 – 9-8-22 Reviewed

I spent decades LOATHING Phantom Of The Opera while going to see it over and over again with visiting friends and family, it was beloved by all except me, and a go-to for a second date! But as the years went by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s light opera grew on me with especially “Sunset Boulevard” a dream show that blew me away) (I went opening night and met -wait for it- Billy Wilder) and after reading Part One of his autobiography and seeing him in conversation with Glenn Close in 2018 (here) I liked him a whole lot more. Then, wandering around the great white way one Saturday afternoon I bought a nose bleeder to the opera and was ensnared!! This morning Andrew dropped Phantom Of The Opera: Global Edition, 152 songs from performances of the show worldwide, from Japan and Korea to Poland and Hungary, Mexico and beyond. It is an absolute blast and a must hear (Grade: A).

Staying on albums, I reviewed Yungblud’s pop punk meets T-Rex self-named third album earlier today (here) (Grade: C), with his team, Bart Butler and Ryan Gore, the same guys who gave us 2019’s old school country Heartache Medication love tracks and Mr. Saturday Night is its equal in harmonious country drawl (Grade: B), ILOVEMAKONNEN is an exceptional hip hop guy from ATL (you may know him from Drake’s “Tuesday”) with a sound that only harks about trap but exists as deeply real songs that accent autotune and rap but are strong as simple songs with an especial appreciation of the YoungBoy Never Broke Again featured “All My Shit Is Stupid” (Grade: B+) , how can Dave Mustaine sound in his prime 30 years past his prime? Well Megadeth do it on the heavy metal The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!, featuring covers of Sammy Hagar solo and Dead Kennedys (Grade: B+).

Over to singles, in theory, who cares if Alex Turner wants to remain a crooner, in practise “There’d Better Be A Mirrorball” should do Arctic Monkeys zero favors (Grade: C), without the late great Pete Shelley can Steve Diggle pull it off? On the strength of the Who meets pop punkers Buzzcocks themselves, “Manchester Rain” I would say yes (Grade: A-), a beautiful rock electronica pop track with a first rate falsetto on the excellent “Smells Like Me” by Charlie Puth (Grade: B+), yes Buddy Guy is overrated, the only time I’ve seen him kill it was with Eric Clapton and BB King at MSG, solo he is a preening bore, yes, but the nostalgia as urban rebellion featuring Mavis Staple “We Go Back” is a first rate blues (Grade: B). Finally, Justin Bieber welcome here with a fine slice of dance pop beautifully sung with “Beautiful Love – Free Fire” (Grade: B)

The Phantom Of The Opera – Andrew Lloyd-Webber – A

There’d Better Be A Mirrorball – Arctic Monkeys – C

We Go Back (feat. Mavis Staples) – Buddy Guy – B

Manchester Rain – Buzzcocks – A-

Smells Like Me – Charlie Puth – B+

Summer ’22 – ILOVEMAKONNEN – B+

Mr. Saturday Night – Jon Pardi – B

Beautiful Love – Free Fire – Justin Bieber – B

The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead! – Megadeth – B+

Yungblud – Yungblud – C

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