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The Early Bird: Top New Releases 11-9-18 – 11-15-18 Reviewed

Why is it that the top r&b guys record so rarely record, Frank Ocean comes to mind and so does the former Odd Future superstar Earl Sweatshirt. 2015’s I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside was one of the best albums of the year, Earl comes across as damaged in a way that changes his flow, he sounds so outside, so unlike anybody else and his first new song in years, “Nowhere2Go” is addictive and a complete bummer, any other week it would be unassailable (Grade: A-). The week belongs to Ariana Grande’s trend setting, aphorist laden, pure pop manifesto and the last word on breaking up, “Thank You, Next,” is if not the best single of the year undoubtedly in the top five (Grade: A. )The  new Juice Wrld single, “Armed And Dangerous,” a usual unusual, ridiculously addictive ode to the greatness that is Juice (“look at my bank account” is a hook and how) (Grade: B+). When he stays away from the classics, Michael Buble is a fun guy and this is an impressive take on the Presley song, “Such A Night” (Grade: B+). When did Sufjan Stevens get old? half the albums these young turk gay kids make sounds like Sufjan, meanwhile his new song, “Lonely Man Of Winter” is nothing much slow track (Grade: B-). It is hard to imagine what XXXtentacion would be up to, but I’ve got a feeling “Bad” wouldn’t have made it as a single, a typical emo-rap track (Grade: B-). Anderson. Paak has been up to nothing great all year and the beat crazy “Who R U?” reminds you just how boring he can be behind the drums (Grade: C+). Talk about people peaking young, Regina Spektor’sher last great album dates from 2009,and if you think “Folding Chairs” was easy, why is the “Birdsong” such a miserable drag?(Grade: C)

The Beatles (aka The White Album) is 107 songs and over five hours of Beatle joy, demos, 4 track recordings, various takes, a fine mix of the album by Giles Martin, and best of all, 54 seconds of Paul channeling Elvis. I’ve always felt that Lennon stole the album from under McCartney’s nose but Paul really comes into his own here (Grade: A+). I haven’t been keen on Rhett Miller in years and years but that stops now, The Messenger is a simple and straightforward set of beautifully wrought rock pop songs, well sung and well played, it looks simple but it isn’t simple (Grade: A-). A Love Letter To You 3,Trippie Red’s second full lenghther, of the year is more like a mixtape, but a very good mixtape with a handful of outstanding featured artists including Juice WRLD on the perfect  “1400/999 Freestyle” -this is the sound of r&b 2018 style (Grade: B+). Finally, the first release from Azure Ray, the EP Waves,  since (gasp) 2010, should be listened to by boygenius for a lesson in close harmony and in songs that are both ethereal and sturdy, the drums on the R.E.M. cover are EDM in their disturbance of the quiet night , the re-recording of the 2003 “Hold On Love” shows you how the band have changed: the harmonies are stronger and the sound busier (Grade: B+)

Who R U? – Anderson. Paak – C+

Thank You, Next – Ariana Grande – A

Waves – Palindrome – B+

Nowhere2Go – Earl Sweatshirt – A-

Armed And dangerous – Juice WRLD – B+

Such A Night – Michael Buble – B+

Birdsong – Regina Spektor – C

The Messenger – Rhett Miller – A-

Lonely Man Of winter – Sufjan Stevens -: B-

The Beatles – The Beatles – A.

A Love Letter To You 3 – Trippie red – B+

Bad – XXXTENTACION – B-

 

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