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The Early Bird: Top New Releases 6-22-18 – 6-28-18 Reviewed

A somewhat quiet week, starts with what isn’t Panic! At The Disco’s sophomore album but feels like it and Dan + Shay’s third effort and doesn’t feel like it.  The problem with Panic!’s Pray For The Wicked is normal for a second album (that isn’t one), it is the same instincts that made Death Of A Bachelor so big, without an out of the park “Crazy = Genius”. We have already heard four of the eleven songs on Pray For The Wicked anyway, and with the exception of the string orchestrated “Dying In LA” Brendon Urie isn’t quite on his, or is it their, game: here is the songwriting credits for ONE song “Say Amen (Saturday Night)”, ” Brendon Urie, Jake Sinclair, Sam Hollander, Lauren Pritchard , Imad Royal ,Andrew Greene, Mike Deller,  Brian Profilio, Thomas Brenneck, Daniel Foder, Jared Tankel,  Nathan Abshire, Suzy Shinn,Tom Peyton, and Toby Wincorn…. pretty odd, right? (Grade: B). Dan + Shay’s self titled third album neither moves forward from nor improves upon the country duo’s first two, but it consolidates and maintains their skills. What that is is easy to explain, they write warm, well felt country songs and perform them with energy and intelligence (Grade: B+).

Are their any more chilling words in the world than Taylor Griffin of the Dawes to Jim Farber (landed at the) New York Times that Dawes are playing three hour sets in emulation of their hero Bruce Springsteen. Every song on the godawful Passwords feels as though it lasts around three hours. They’ve always been good for two songs an album except for here (Grade: C-). Streets is certainly watching gangsta rapper Freddie Gibbs, who has circled big time stardom for ten years now and Freddie, a ten song 30 minute taster (this is the guy who once released a 81 song mixtape)  is very well rapped thug life though not what you might call commercial nowadays (Grade: B) . Pass on the first record on The Cure’s Mixed Up, the mixes ain’t great, but side two includes some extended versions that are ace (Grade: C+) . Nine Inch Nails’ Bad Witch is industrial strength hard rock, which opens with a killer song “Shit Mirror” and includes two instrumentals in its 6 song hit and run album (Grade: B+)

On to the singles and let’s start with Cher and, er, Andy Garcia, covering Abba’s “Fernando”. Why? For that sequel to “Mamma Mia” where Meryl Streep dies before the opening credits and it is worse than you can possibly imagine, it is worse than Pierce Brosnan and Meryl singing “SOS” last time (Grade: C-). 6lack’s “Switch” is an important song for him, Ty Dolla $ign joins him on the chorus, as he already imagines life without success (Grade: B). “the light is coming” finds Ariana Grande’s new song being hijacked by Nicki Minaj, Ariana holds back as she deals with a percolating rhythm (Grade: B). Paul McCartney has two new songs just released from his September dropping album, “Come On To Me” is a great little rocker and that “yes I would, yes I would, yes I would now” is the shout out loud moment of the year (Grade: B+) and “I Don’t Know” is a boring piano based ballad (Grade: C+). A little light on the hip hop this week though Rick Ross’ “Green Gucci Suit” finds a better use for Future than that Superfly album did (Grade: B+). Finally, Talk To Me” is from the constantly excellent Tory Lanez and the well beloved Rich The Kid, who has apparently survived the ire of Lil Uzi, working the poppier than you’ll ever be side of the trap street (Grade: B+)


Switch – 6lack – B

the light is coming (feat. Nicki Minaj) – Ariana Grande – B

Fernando – Cher and Andy Garcia – C-

Dan + Shay – Dan + Shay – B+

Password – Dawes – C

Freddie – Freddie Gibb – B

Bad Witch – Nine Inch Nails – B+

Pray For The Wicked – Panic! At The Disco – B

Come On To Me – Paul McCartney – B+

I Don’t Know – Paul McCartney – C+

Green Gucci Green – Rick Ross, Future – B+

Mixed Up – The Cure – C+

Talk To Me (with Rich The Kid) – Tory Lanez, Rich The Kid – B+

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