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The Early Bird: Top New Releases 5-1-20 – 5-7-20 Reviewed

Dark Lane Demo Tapes is  Drake’s first mixtape since his 2017 epic take on of grime and world music, More Life, isn’t as good as More Life, but it is better than Scorpio even if it lacks the power of a conceptual full length (two full length) explosion. Nothing bad, and his reckoning with New York Drill on “Demons” is first rate, “War” is UK Drill,  “Toosie” a dreamy dance track, “When To Say When” samples Jay Z’s “Song Cry,” two tracks with Future and both are goodies, love the Eminem verse he covers on “Chicago Freestyle”. Some of these are old songs culled from Soundcloud, some are brand new, some are outtakes, and if they don’t fit together as a purview they are as consistent as you could possibly hope. In 2020, at 33 years of age, Drake has completed his takeover (Grade:A-).

Over at singles,  two major rappers drop in on next generation women. Beyoncé – ever since that album with her husband, Bey has been in my rearview mirror, it was such a terrible album by her superstar flattening of the curve pop apexes. Enter Megan Thee Stallion, who just hit Tik Tok big time with “Havoc” and signed to Jay Z’s “Roc Nation” for representation, and here the Queen and Princess of Texas hip hop join together for the “Havoc Remix” and Megan just hands the keys to the beemer to Bey who performs her best verse in years and years and reclaims her Houston crown (Grade: A). “Say  So” isn’t Doja Cats best song on her sophomore album, that would be “Cyber Sex,” but, nevertheless, it deserves its success and Nicki Minaj jumps on for a viciously spitted verse that works in contradistinction to Doja’s sing song nursery rhyme vibe (Grade: A-).

Back to albums, but what’s this? Where is Pretenders? Where is Jarvis Cocker? Forget it because serpentwithfeet has cemented his reputation with the three song Apparition EP, baroque pop if you want and yet again, each song is a complete thing, a gem of soulful soprano and sounds reaching its height on “Psychic” (Grade: A-). X’s ALPHABETLAND, which I reviewed last week, is now on streaming services, make sure to note “Water And Wine” with a DB drum takeover and a Billy solo (Grade: A-) . On Here And Now, Kenny Chesney’s first album in two years, he opens with a country rocker anthem with “We Do” and the more he rocks the immutable transition of the present day the better he is, just keep away from lachrymose crap “Knowing You”  (Grade: B-) .

Sure, we want to hear Oasis demos, but Oasis demos circa 1995 not 2009, and not with Noel singing lead as he does on “Don’t Stop… Demo” though it is still pretty good Oasis for all those caveats (Grade: B). Dixie Chicks “Julianna Calm Down” is a sisterly advise after a break up, and good advise as well (Grade: B). The Weeknd’s huge Tik Tok hit “Blinding Lights” gets remixed by  Major Lazer with a complete dedication to the beat (Grade: A-) . Joan As Police woman performs her always well handed  versions of stuff like Prince’s “Kiss” and The Strokes “Under Control” (Grade: B-). Although a non fan of the sadly departed Mac Miller, I made a mistake in not seeking out his Soundcloud debut mixtape K.I.D.S. from 2010, now on streaming services, and sounds like the mumble sad song emp rap long before it hit big (Grade: B+).

Finally, Tomas Doncker’s anthem of hope for the world in the midst of a global dynamic “Everywhere You Go” with the benediction, “the road will rise to meet you,” reaches youtube with the most glorious video of the pandemic  (Grade: A)

Julianna Calm Down – Dixie Chicks – B

Say So (feat. Nicki Minaj) – Doja Cat, Nicki Minaj – A-

Dark Lane Demo Tape – Drake – A-

Cover Two – Joan As Police Woman – B-

Here And Now – Kenny Chesney – B-

K.I.D.S. – Mac Miller – B+

Savage Remix (feat. Beyoncé) – Megan Thee Stallion, Beyoncé – A

Don’t Stop… – Demo – Oasis – B

Apparition EP – serpentwithfeet – A-

Blinding Lights – Major Lazer Remix – The Weeknd, Major Lazer – A-

Everywhere You  Go – Tomas Doncker A


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