Tag Archives: Albums (2017)

Lovelorn and loving it: Destroyer and Sam Smith

Destroyer – Ken Whatever else, Dan Bejar has perfected this shit: an incongruous mishmash of early eighties Cure synth pads and Dan Fogelberg daintiness filtered through a profoundly unlikable voice. The result? The most unsettling adult contemporary album in modern … Continue reading

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The new romantic as the old Romantic: Taylor Swift

“I had a bad feeling,” Taylor Swift sings just before another volley of beat drops in the interestingly titled “Dancing with Our Hands Tied.” On her weakest album since her 2006 debut, the twenty-first century’s canniest self-promoter implicitly acknowledges that … Continue reading

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Best albums of 2017 – third quarter edition

My last update before January, with selections in unranked alphabetical order… 1. 2 Chainz- Pretty Girls Like Trap Music 2. Nicole Atkins – Goodnight Rhonda Lee 3. Big Boi – Boomiverse 4. Cloud Nothings – Life Without Sound 5. Ibibio … Continue reading

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How to feel like adults: Lee Ann Womack, Jessie Ware, and Robert Plant

Lee Ann Womack – The Lonely, the Lonesome & the Gone When this model of poised suffering experiments with a gunpowder-in-lead mode (“Wicked”), it’s like listening to John Gielgud say “fuck,” which means it’s unexpected but not out of character; … Continue reading

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Defining spaces: St. Vincent and Kelela

Kelela – Take Me Apart As limpid and tough as The Velvet Rope, Kelela’s first official album boasts glassy electronic textures provided mostly by Arca, Jam City, and the ubiquitous Ariel Rechtshaid. Unlike Tinashe, who works similar terrain, Kelela writes … Continue reading

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Swag and how to use it: Shania Twain, the Killers, Tee Grizzley

Shania Twain – Now Anyone who cares is pulling for her, but her first album since weapons of mass destruction obsessed the Bush people is a painful listen: distended, dull, lacking the kind of memorable tunes accompanying awesome titles. Years … Continue reading

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Tough guys: Rostam and Kip Moore

Rostam – Half-Light As Vampire Weekend’s former keyboardist, guitarist, and producer, Rostam Batmanglij was its most essential member, meshing with singer Ezra Koenig in a partnership responsible for thin, sumptuous, string- and harmony-based arrangements that roamed far afield. His second … Continue reading

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Redundancy vs Results: LCD Soundsystem and Liza Minnelli

LCD Soundsystem – american dream “Six steps back,” James Murphy shouts at the beeps and electronic gurgles in “how do you sleep?” To call it a moment of self-recognition would flatter him. Perhaps he suspected this project — the first … Continue reading

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Veteran envy and veterans: The War on Drugs and Filthy Friends

I like to write these posts for the benefit of friends who avoid social media (saludos, Gaucho!). Last week I reviewed The War on Drugs, a Philadelphia band appreciated for its guitar grandstanding and for the unsubtle manner in which … Continue reading

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‘I don’t like your little games’

Taylor Swift – Look What You Made Me Do Electronic swoops, piano on the bridge, lots of boom boom bap — this single could be the new St. Vincent, or, to return to once upon a long ago, to a … Continue reading

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Testing the limits of reaching out: Tyler, the Creator and Romeo Santos

Tyler, the Creator – Flower Boy Having gotten clicks from demonstrations of truculence, Tyler Gregory Okonma shares a few unexpected admissions, truculently. I don’t think he’s either clever enough or cynical enough (or truculent enough) to fake them. “For the … Continue reading

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Best albums of 2017 — first half report

Hi! The year’s half over. Here are twenty-two albums I have loved. Kehlani – SweetSexySavage Cloud Nothings – Life Without Sound The xx – I See You Kendrick Lamar – DAMN. Jens Lekman – Life Will See You Now Arto … Continue reading

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