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The Early Bird: Top New Releases Reviewed 6-15-18 – 6-21-18

Where is the new Nas? Where is the “My Fair Lady” 2018 cast album? Good Music is behind Nas so I am guessing that Kanye will release it when the mood takes him and it seems as though MFL isn’t being given to streaming sites. So let’s move on to two new singles that belie the almost relentless slew of track beats so far this year, It has been ten years since “I Will Possess Your Heart” and Death Cab For Cuties have proven themselves relentlessly useless, which makes “Gold Rush,” about the relentlessness of time and change, “it doesn’t use to be this way” Ben Gibbard laments, is a surprise,  a sticky hook pumps all the way behind him on the alt rocker (Grade: B+). Finnish soul man Sam Huber was born to sing the chorus on top rap songs, his rumbling bass holds melody with ease and gives depth and presence to anything he sings. Last year’s Confused was just under the radar of mainstream popsters, but the first single off the quick follow album, “It’s Complicated” opens with an invitation, “Come back to my room,” and the song rides one of the great licks of our time to lead you to dancefloor heaven, we had a name for this when I was a kid, disco, and I don’t want a remixed version, no, I want an extended version (Grade: A-)

I never said I hated Christian music, I hate Christian Contemporary music, and if you wanna know the difference listen to The Best Of Fred Hammond, a top Gospel singer with a long history and a voice that has more sincerity than… why than Bono! Quite a bit includes Radical For Christ, a non-denominational evangelistic team made up of people from different Churches, cultures, and background, and all of it is strong (Grade: B+). As a long term Jay Rock fan I was disappointed in his performance at the Top Dawg Championship tour, and not crazy about “King’s Dead” though it improvs here, and I am happy to advise that Redemption (on Interscope no less), the trap based “Wow Freestyle” is great and “Redemption” with SZA is better (Grade: B+). 5 Seconds to Summer were the rock and roll answer for boy band everywhere, but when sales are down all good twinks failsafe is r&B where they can sell their falsetto, Youngblood, although it is the sort of move One Direction (and they had better reason with Zayn) never made is OK without being good enough (Grade: C+). Every song off Linkin Park’s lead singer Mike Shinoda Post Traumatic has been great, and while, at 53 minutes, the album has trouble maintaining the necessary energy level though both the rockers (the grandson featured “Running From My Shadow” is ace) and the rap rock numbers (try “Lift Off”) are first rate. The album is a coming to terms with Chester Bennington’s suicde and the process of aging and while that doesn’t make for a fun trip, it does make for an intense one (Grade: A-). The English Beat’s Dave Wakeling first album since 1982 (Ranking Rogers Beat released one in 2016), Here We Go Love, is neato and ageless Ska UK (Grade: B).

More singles, Ariana Grande is featured on Nicki Minaj’s sex soulful “Bed” (Grade: B) and this year’s model Troye Sivan’s “Dance To This” a percolating slow dance track (B+), Nicki has another single, by my reckoning her best if you don’t include the Playboy Carti song, “Rich Kid” where she claims to like money than sex and Lil Wayne doesn’t (Grade: A-). I’ve never much liked Alessia Cara but “Growing Pains” is a better than usual soul pop track (Grade: B).

That’s all for now, back to haunting Apple Music in search of the new Nas…


Yungblood – 5 Seconds Of Summer – C+

Growing Pains – Alessia Cara – B

Gold Rush – Death Cab For Cuties – B+

The Best Of Fred Hammond – Fred Hammond – B+

Redemption – Jay Rock – B+

Post Traumatic – Mike Shinoda – A-

Bed – Nicki Minaj – B

Rich Sex – Nicki Minaj – A-

It’s Complicated – Sam Huber – A-

Here We Go Love – The English Beat – B



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