Pillow talk and sweet dreams: Miguel

Miguel – Wild The one called “Coffee” depends on breathless expectations (“Pillow talk turns into sweet dreams/Sweet dreams turn into coffee in the morning”) and a churning electronic base that’s like a water bed rumbling under a couple in heat. “Hollywood Dreams” boasts fuzzy minor key guitar and an incoherent lyric about palm trees andContinue reading “Pillow talk and sweet dreams: Miguel”

Best of 2014 – Albums

The full list: 1. Miranda Lambert – Platinum 2. Babyface and Toni Braxton – Love, Marriage & Divorce. 3. Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues 4. Lee Ann Womack – The Way I’m Livin’ 5. Marsha Ambrosius – Friends & Lovers 6. Orlando Julius with the Heliocentrics – Jaiyede Afro 7. tUnE-yArDs – Nikki-Nack 8.Continue reading “Best of 2014 – Albums”

2014: Best of the rest

Here’s what the rest looks like: 21. Hercules & Love Affair – The Fear of a Broken Heart 22. Wussy – Attica! 22. Lydia Loveless – Someplace Else 24. The Juan Maclean – In a Dream 25. Todd Terje – It’s Album Time 26. One Direction – Four 27. Katy B – Little Red 28.Continue reading “2014: Best of the rest”

Best albums of 1014: fourth chapter

5. Marsha Ambrosius – Friends & Lovers In 2011 Adele kept this R&B singer-songwriter from debuting at #1 on the big chart; this year “Run” stopped at #13 on adult R&B. A Slate article I wrote a couple months ago explained the obstacles facing these women. But maybe the adult R&B chart is Ambrosius’ naturalContinue reading “Best albums of 1014: fourth chapter”

Best albums of 1014: third chapter

10. K Michelle – Anybody Wanna Buy a Heart …because she’s not giving it away. Nor is she selling it, despite the title. With two excellent albums and a cable show, K Michelle demonstrates how an audience exists for mature sexuality. At first “Drake Would Love Me” creeped me out: surely she doesn’t think he‘sContinue reading “Best albums of 1014: third chapter”

Best albums of 2014: second chapter

14. Jennifer Hudson – J-HUD What I wrote: “Her third album hews to post-peak disco, heavy on the hi-hat and piano (think Change and Evelyn King with doses of Deniece Williams). A DOA Pharrell contribution and flailing Iggy Azalea appearance excepted, the ‘American Idol’ and Oscar winner has never worn finery this becoming. She doesn’tContinue reading “Best albums of 2014: second chapter”

Best albums of 2014: first chapter

20. Isaiah Rashad – Cilvia Demo Last year “Shot You Down” impressed me; this mixtape provoked a similar reaction. On the title track Rashad wonders if his son will look at him the same way Rashad looked at his own deadbeat dad, the one whom, according to “Soliloquy,” Rashad left in ’97. Occasionally the beatsContinue reading “Best albums of 2014: first chapter”

Booming and clapping: Charli XCX and Mary J Blige

Charli XCX – Sucker Whether marrying “Since U Been Gone” to punk oi-oi-oi with a stop at Lily Allen’s place on “London Queen,” allowing Gwen Stefani and Robyn to wave their heads on “Doing It,” or dreaming of diamonds in the air in the billionaire’s love affair called “Gold Coins,” Charli XCX is the apotheosisContinue reading “Booming and clapping: Charli XCX and Mary J Blige”

I’m all yours: One Direction

One Direction – Four They’ve honed their schtick, and hooky and charming and deserving of replay it turns out to be. Last time out they went for gonzo Def Leppard choruses fit for soccer stadiums from Buenos Aires to Mexico City. This time the riffs are brawnier and the songs go boom pow. With handContinue reading “I’m all yours: One Direction”

Flesh for fantasy: Bryan Ferry

Bryan Ferry – Avonmore There’s a difference. Slight. Old pal Rhett Davies gives each instrument its weight, with Ferry’s keyboards audible like they haven’t been in years. The title track and “Driving Me Wild” are the equals of Olympia‘s “Reason or Rhyme” and “Heartache by Numbers.” Ignore the expensive guest list. Like the inclusion ofContinue reading “Flesh for fantasy: Bryan Ferry”

2 Fast 2 Furious: Azealia Banks

Azealia Banks – Broke With Expensive Taste Oh lord, she sings in Spanish, I thought. Convincing Spanish in “Gimme a Chance” but still. But returning to “212,” the Singles Jukebox’s favorite single of 2011, I thought of that night more than three years ago when a quartet of women’s voices reveling in come-ons and obscenityContinue reading “2 Fast 2 Furious: Azealia Banks”

Give her tonight: Javiera Mena

Javeria Mena – Otra Era Jukebox colleagues adore her. Infatuated with the tinkle of DX-7s and Roland Jupiters, this Chilean singer stacks’em high – higher even than on her 2010 eponymous debut. She concentrates on one year: 1985, when Latin freestyle entered its Jurassic period and combined with Italo disco and break dancing’s perfect beats toContinue reading “Give her tonight: Javiera Mena”