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The Early Bird: Top New Releases 11-16-18 – 11-22-18

The first time I heard Anderson. Paak was also the first time I saw him, as half of NXWorries, I was blown away by his crossover soul vibe, that was 2015 and very shortly after he blew up, with the best songs on Dr. Dre’s curated Straight Outta Compton, followed by his topnotch debut album Malibu… but Oxnard, while not bad, is a disappointment. You will wait in vain for something as groundbreaking and brilliant as “Come Down,” and while nothing is terrible, and some of it (the J. Cole song for one, the Kendrick Lamar for another), are great, and cmon a featured song with Q Tip? Still, it just keeps on edging without peaking (Grade: B+)

Let’s stay with albums, the necrophiliac True Love’s Ways has the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra adding mush to God like genius Buddy Holly (Grade: F) and Unchained Melodies does the exact same act of nihilism and vandalism to Roy Orbison (Grade: F). This is astoundingly unacceptable bullshit, the songs are complete and while if Roy was with us he might choose to re-record them, if he did it would not sound like this terrible stuff, the outro to “Blue Bayou” is shameful (Grade: F). On Glen Campbell’s newly released Sings For The King,  the first song is a digital duet by Glen and Presley, but it is pretty good because Glen was singing in Presley’s key on “We Call On Him”. Written by  Ben Weisman and Sid Wayne,  as are the rest of these songs,  Glen recorded  these songs solely for Presley, so Presley could decide whether to record them or not. Of the 18 songs, Presley would eventually record 10 of them. Glen and Presley were close friends for decades, and this recently discovered recording isn’t a hard push, it is there for utilitarian reasons. Still, it is a complete pleasure (Grade: B+). Let’s stay with the dead, the Chris Cornell nearly five hour compilation is a must if you’re a fan because you get solo, Soundgarden, and Audioslave all in the same place (Grade: B-).

Over at singles, King Princess cover of the Velvet Underground’s “Femme Fatale” is sublime, this is why she is great -she just has a great soul and a glorious touch (Grade: A-). An outtake from Mandy Moore’s TV show “This Is Us,” “Invisible Ink (Rebecca’s Demo)” is simply lovely (Grade: B+). The Fifth Harmony star Normani brought the house down at Tidal X and “Waves” -which feature 6lack, is first class chill-r&b (Grade: B+). We wait patiently for a Sade release, but not for this Sade release, “The Big Unknown” is a dreary bore saved from the scrapheap of history by that voice (Grade: C+). I am a huge fan of Wings’ Wild Life, and am eagerly awaiting for the box set, in the interim we’ve had Paul cracking up over Linda’s challenging vocals on “Indeed I Do” and today a gorgeous home recording of “Dear Friend” on piano (Grade: A-). I haven’t thought much of the singles released from Van’s upcoming album, till now: “Spirits Will Provide” harks back to the melodic classicism of Hymns To The Silence (Grade: B+). Queer rock still rules on Sir Babygirl’s “Haunted House” -a lovely and disturbing single (Grade: B+)

Three Disney Peaceful Piano EPs were just released, Calm, Chill, Peaceful and Happy and they are all lovely and Happy is best  because the “Let’s Go Fly A Kite” is awe-inspiring(Grade: B+). Mariah Carey will never be the Mariah of twenty years ago, but she channels it nicely on the hip hop redux Caution (Grade: B). Michael Buble has one good new song and the rest of the album is Great American Songbook (Grade: C). Mumford And Sons new one, Delta,  is considered experimental which means they’ve doctored the drums, but it is Ok Briticana (Grade: B-) despite its name. There’s an excellent greatest hits, the aptly name The Last King Of Pop, from Paul Heaton, if you don’t know The Housemartins or The Beautiful South, start here (Grade: A). Voodoo Lounge Uncut (Live) is taken from the Rolling Stones tour and is as good as I remembered it, hang around for Sheryl Crow and Mick dueting to “Live WEith Me” (Grade: B+)

Finally, two seasonal albums, Old 97’s Love The Holidays is rockabilly original seasonals as well some you absolutely don’t need (Grade: B) and William Shatner’s Shatner Claus, which is exactly what you hoped for (Grade; B)

Oxnard – Anderson .Paak – B+

True Love’s Way – Buddy Holly And The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – F

Chris Cornell – Chris Cornell – B-

Calm, Chill, Peaceful and Happy  -Disney Peaceful Piano EPs – B+

Femme Fatale – King Princess – A-

Songs For The King – Glen Campbell – B+

Invisible Ink (Rebecca’s Demo) – Mandy Moore – B+

Caution Mariah Carey – B

love – Michael Bublé – C

Delta – Mumford And Sons – B-

Waves – Normani, 6lack – B+

Love The Holidays – Old 97’s – B

The Last King Of Pop – Paul Heaton – A

Dear Friend – Home Recording II -Paul McCartney  A-

Unchained Melodies – Roy Orbison – And The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – F

The Big Unknown – Sade – C+

Haunted House – Sir Babygirl – B+

Voodoo Lounge Uncut (Live) – The Rolling Stoones – B+

Shatner Claus – William Shatner – B


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