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The Early Bird: Top New Releases 11-12-21 – 11-18-21 Reviewed

ten minutes?

folklore has its true believers and it is a great album but it isn’t Fearless or Speak Now or, god knows, Red, which Swift has re-recorded as part of her “Taylor’s Version” drop. Red is her first post-teen, I mean real post-teen album, a destructive relationship implodes and Max Martin is around to move it from country pop to pure pop. It is isn’t her greatest moment but it comes close and I could make the case for “State Of Grace” and “22” is one of her most joyous moments. If Taylor’s Version doesn’t change anything, it adds some great songs from the vault including goodies featuring Phoebe Bridgers on one song and Chris Stapleton on another, a twangy one, though the ten minutes of “All Too well” drags (Grade: A).

Remaining with albums, Speedy Ortiz have one of their best albums, an odds and sods, The Death of Speedy Ortiz & Cop Kicker …Forever, including their debut EP and the indie rockers sound better than you have any reason to expect (Grade: B+), Volume 2 of Joni Mitchell’s archives finds her recording for Reprise Records from 1968 – 1971, and takes us from Ladies Of The Canyon to Blue, the reason why she is a legend; there is a lot of it, five and a half hours, so tread lightly till you get to the 1969 live at Carnegie Hall then settle back for the long run (Grade: A+), at barely half an hour in length, Silk Sonic’s debut An Evening With makes its point, being that soul is silky, with two masters hitting the pleasure center time after time (Grade: B+); if Alyson is to be trusted, Idles prove it on stage (here), let’s hope so because while their fifth album, Crawler (one a year since 2017) heralds a commercial breakthrough, the post punk rockers are not full on raging here (Grade: B), Elvis Presley’s Back In Nashville, is his 1971 sessions complete, and Presley at the height of his pop soul MOR jones (Grade: A).

Over at singles Beyonce’s “Be Alive” theme from “King Richard” whiny with a twist I reviewed earlier today (here) (Grade: C+), Rosalia’s best moment since “Fucking Money Man” finds The Weeknd repaying the favor of her feature on “Blinding Light” though she sure underplays Abel (Grade: B+), -Gregor Barnett, The Menzingers (you remember: “America, You’re Freaking Me Out”) singer solo song is one of the best songs I’ve heard about the pandemic where the mortality is thrown into hard relief with an indie-folk rock vibe (Grade: A-), Particle Kid is Willie Nelson’s youngest song, which explains why Sean is visiting… he performs future folk with a heavy electronic weirdness with “Velocirapture (The Serpent Flew)” (Grade: C+), if you have never seen Mitski live (here) I have one word to describe her: wow, “The Only Heartbreaker” is a builder that will kill on stage and may take a couple more listens on record (Grade: B+). Finally, electronic popstar Shamir goes from “Gay Agenda” to another sort of agenda on “Cisgender” -a beautifully electronic feel piece (Grade: A-)

Be Alive – Beyonce – C+

Back In Nashville – Elvis Presley – A

Don’t Go Throwing Roses In My Grave – Gregor Barnett – A-

Crawler – Idles – B

Joni Mitchell Archives, Vol. 2: The Reprise Years (1968-1971) – Joni Mitchell – A+

The Only Heartbreaker – Mitski – B+

Velocirapture (The Serpent Flew) – Particle Kid, Mickey Raphael, Sean Ono Lennon – C+

LA FAMA (with The Weeknd) – ROSALÍA – B+

Cisgender – Shamir -A-

An Evening With Silk Sonic – Silk Sonic – B+

The Death of Speedy Ortiz & Cop Kicker …Forever – Speedy Ortiz – B+

Red (Taylor’s Version) – Taylor Swift – A

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