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The Early Bird: Top New Releases 3-24-22 – 3-30-23 Reviewed

Singles

Private Landing (Sped Up) [feat. Justin Bieber & Future] – Don Toliver, sped up nightcore – Justin sounds like a chipmunk and Future doesn’t sound like Future on one of the worst ideas, it’s good but speeding it up ruins – C

Eyes Closed – Ed Sheeran – wait a second, Aaron Desner produced this with, wow, Max Martin and Shellac, and with its syncopated beat and earnestness it is his best in a long while – A-

Living In The Past – Pet Shop Boys – a slow, depressing piano based with strings to taste bore – C

You Called Me In The Morning – Live at E-Studio – Sam Huber – Sam is currently on tour in Europe and this is a wink to his audience, and a gift of sorts, recorded live in the studio with his True Groove team the song is a standalone slice of 60s soul, something both shaggy baritone Sam and the True Groove Allstars know: at times they have played both 70s funk rock and blow balladeering and this is neither. A slow, smooth heartbreaker with a baritone that should have Sam joining The National. Instantly, one of the best songs of the year – A

TV in the Gas Pump – Wednesday – the return of shoegaze though a little low key and with a side of post-punk, the band are very hip right now and I promise you this won’t hurt – B

Albums

Memento Mori – Depeche Mode – the remembrance is of keyboard player and original keyboard player Andy Fletcher who died in 2022. This isn’t a particularly good one, very 80s synth tech -a sound w are all over and just subject wise it is such a bummer that even when a melody explodes it doesn’t save them the way it usually does – C

Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd – Lana Del Rey – the ultimate nepo baby went through a run through from Born to Die to Norman Fucking Rockwell, but the last two were failure to take off business as brood albums and this one has managed to blow songs with both Bleachers and Father John Misty. This is an hour and seventeen minutes of hard to zone in, Americana, piano based, whateverisms riding -without the help of a hit single. This is the woman who gave us “Summertime Sadness”, “Blue Jeans” and “Video Games”. There is nothing that good here and the experimental “AW” is less than that – C+

Gettin’ Old – Luke Combs – what is with the over long albums? Over an hour of fine but ultimately wearying country rocker. If this was 30 minutes it would kill – B

The Journey – Pt. 1 – The Kinks – who is this for? Not for me, I’ve got it all and in deluxe takes as well. Anyway, this compiled 36 songs from their 60s ending with “This Is where I Belong” (actually that’s the penultimate take but it should end it…) – B

I Go To The Rock: The Gospel Music Of Whitney Houston – Whitney Houston – I only saw Whitney live once (opening for Michael Jackson believe it or not) but I was already a huge fan and as her Australian tour imploded rocknyc championed her from 2009 till her death in 2012. If you want to know why, try this excellent compiling of her Gospel recordings: with her mother, Sweet Sensation legend Cissy Houston and Godmother Aretha Franklin, Gospel was in her blood from when she was a child singing in the church choir. It is all over this thrilling Gospel album – A

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