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The Early Bird: Top New Releases 9-7-18 – 9-13-18

Paul McCartney’s Egypt Station is an overlong mishmash of buzzed out Macca tropes, produced by Greg Kurstin -a journeyman but quality seat warmer, it has moments that belong among Macca’s middle rung, the excellent single “Come On To Me” and the rough hewned segued “Hunt You Down/Naked/C-Link,” and moments where you remember why Paul wasn’t John. the execrable “People Want Peace” (shoulda given it to Ringo). “Fuh You” isn’t cute (it features Ryan Tedder, how can it be?) and “Who Cares,” where Paulie tells me to go fuh myself is a touch too much protestation for the thin skinned mob top(Grade: B). If Paul Simon is doing a final wind up to his career, why do it with one of his worst exercises , second only to the Graceland remix album is In The Blue Light, re-recordings of songs you didn’t much like in the first place. I know Paul has stopped composing songs but he might just want to drop an EP as his last word. Oh, yeah, “Can’t Run But” is a great song, here as well (Grade: C).

On to singles, I am sure I told you this story before, about going to Governors Ball at the crack of dawn to catch Jessie Reyez, they cut her half hour to fifteen minutes and she still was excellent. I was sitting next to her later on and told her how wonderful she was and she jumped up and hugged me. I haven’t showered since. Two years later she is Beyonce is visiting backstage and Eminem has her on two songs on Kamikaze. That voice is money in the bank, “Fuck Being Friends” is well beyond good, and into the world a step behind “Body Count.” not because of the vocal but because of the tricky hop hop beat while we prefer Jessie with just her guitar. (Grade: B+). Loretta Lynn’s new single “Wouldn’t It Be Great” dates back to last year, and it is a sweet country sad thing, slight but lovely (Grade: B). Purple Rain era Prince on “17 Days Piano And Microphone” is the best posthumus Prince release yet, a real strong intro with Prince showing off his piano skills and a bluesy vocal plus countdown from heartache lyric (Grade: B+). MØ has always left me a little cold till now with the earworm “Way Down” -terrific chorus  and the flute teaches Russ a lesson (Grade: B+). Listening to the great man’s voice discussing this song is pure magic, “Crippled Inside – Evolution Documentary / Mono” by John Lennon and The Plastic Ono Band is a joy -of course it is, even when he snaps to the band to shut the fuck up. This looks to be part of Imagine: The Ultimate Collection (Grade: A).

Back to albums, the always worthy Clutch’s hard rock Book of Bad Decisions is about as good as a rock album is gonna get today (Grade: B), these guys are always on top of their game and especially on this business as usual but business is good. I know it is self-defeating but whether it is true or not “Just hold me like Johnny Cash when I lost my mother” makes me throw up in my mouth. Lenny Kravitz has exactly one good song  back when he thought he was Hendrix with a better jawbone, Raise Vibration‘s soft ballads and soggy rockers  just doesn’t work on any level (Grade: D). I saw Renée Fleming in “Carousel” on Broadway earlier this year. She went through a lot of work to wrap her lungs around “You’ll Never Walk Alone” every performance and it was worth it. None of the songs on Broadway particularly stretch the great American soprano and even at 59 years of age, her singing is astounding and yet easy. The “A Wonderful Guy” is perfection.

Fuck Being Friends – Jessie Reyez – B+

Crippled Inside – Evolution Documentary / Mono – John Lennon, The Plastic Ono Band – A

Raise Vibration – Lenny Kravitz

Wouldn’t It Be Great – Loretta Lynn – B

Way Down – MØ

Egypt Station – Paul McCartney – B

In The Blue Room – Paul Simon – C

17 Days Piano And Microphone – Prince – B+

Broadway – Renée Fleming, BBC Concert Orchestra, Rob Fisher

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