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The Early Bird: Top New Releases reviewed – 1-26-18 – 2-1-18

If we must have nearly two hour albums better Migos than Chris Brown any day. While Culture 2 doesn’t add to the legend of their breakthrough, last year’s Culture, and while there isn’t a banger as undeniable as “Bad And Boujee,” there is a whole lotta good stuff, the three singles were all goodies, the Drake song is incessantly catchy, Post Malone has first post-“Rockstar” verse, and yes, that is Kanye West producing “BBD”. But it I all too much and would have been better at half the length (Grade: B+). Speaking of rap, Ghostface Killah’s first new album in three years, The Brown Tape, which is actually a re-release, is very good. According to XXL: “Ghost dropped the concept album, 12 Reasons to Die, with Adrian Younge in 2013. Frequent collaborator, Brown, then put together an alternate version of the LP titled The Brown Tape, which featured an almost identical tracklist and all new beats. The new version was released on streaming sites but would later be removed.” I’ll tell ya one thing, it I better than the last Wu album, if only for “murda murda, kill kill kill” (Grade: B+).

On to singles, Amanda Palmer does a lo fi but classy take on the Mountain Goat’s “The Mess Inside” (Grade: B+), DNCE’s “Dance” live up to its name, it’ as kitchen sink pop as “Can’t Stop The Feeling” without sounding cheesy (Grade: B+). Sting returns to his appropriation of Jamaican culture with “Don’t Make Me Wait,” featuring the always welcome Shaggy, and isn’t bad at all (Grade: B). Finally, for now, the only 50 Shade song worth your while by Julia Michaels, who was so good at Jingle Ball last year, is singer songwriter EDM beats pop of the confessional  variety on the gorgeous “Heaven” (Grade: B+). The banger of the week belongs to Lil Jon whose “Alive” (with 2 Chainz and Offset… OFFSET???? Does he never take a day off?) is crunk 101 and excellent. (Grade: A-)

Calexico’s The Thread That Keeps Us is mainstream rock Americana that goes on for too long, though “End Of The World With You” is terrific (Grade: B-), former Blur Graham Coxon sounds like UK Americana on The End Of The Fucking World, and a little better than that would appear to be because Coxon’s guitar sound is a ringing and a different thing (Grade: B). On Mike Posner’s bizarre, live,  I was born in detroit on a very, very, very, very, very, very, very cold day a spoken word thing in which he claim maybe he liedon “I Took A Pill In Ibiza”… well, maybe he did (Grade: C)

The Mess Inside – Amanda Palmer – B+

The Thread That Keeps Us – Calexico – B-

Dance – DNCE – B+

The Brown Tape – Ghostface Killah, Apollo Brown – B+

The End Of The Fucking World – Graham Coxon – B

Heaven – Julia Michaels – B+

Alive – Lil Jon, Offset, 2 Chainz – A-

Culture 2 – Migos – B+

I was born in detroit on a very, very, very, very, very, very, very cold day – Mike Posner – C

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