@@@ Beyonce: Sorry (Columbia, 2016). A friend of mine was wondering why I was spending so much time reviewing Beyonce’s new record. I told him that almost all of the coverage of Beyonce revolves around her superstar manipulations and very little revolves around her music so a respectable way to take down Beyonce is to talk honestly about her music. Thus far, my opinion is that the Super Bowl single Formation is pretty much incoherent and her track with Jack White is pretty lame. This tune is more urban with skittery beats and a bumping bass and a lot of synth candy. There is one stretch where she drops a really advanced descending vocal melody but her vocals (as in other tunes) are uneven. Cliche at points and too many vocals seem to be the main weaknesses to my ears. This tune is an inbetweener, better than Don’t Hurt Yourself and Formation but not full on genius as people seem to think she is.
Note: When will the new Boxer Rebellion record come down off the Apple Music front page? How big a check was sent to Cupertino for that placement? Lord knows it’s not the quality of the music that put that record right splat in front of everybody’s face.
@@@ Givers & Takers: Strangers (Not sure, 2016). I saw this band name checked on an indie music blog called Indiepulse and this is their brand new single. It’s kind of a proggy blues. Clean guitars, mannered singer, some vamping organ. The chorus breaks out with a big guitar sound and a more uptempo feel. It goes out in a blues rock outro/jam. Riffage, big ’60s rock feel and pumping organ.
@@@ Blue October: Home (Up-Down/Brando, 2016) Some meaningful adult alternative grown up rock off the Apple Music front page. Epic, cheesy chorus, reminiscent of Peter Gabriel but without any world music swirled up in there. Then into a big rock section. Not good. I think I’m not a big fan of the singer. This second tune is 1980’s soft arena rock rebranded for the end of the Obama era.
@@@ Anna Meredith: Taken (Moshi Moshi, 2016). Some electronic music out of the UK that I got to via a music publicist email. It opens up high club until a prog chorus of voices comes in. There’s a slight aggro feel that bridges the prettiness of the voices with the pumping club rhythmic undercarriage. Said undercarriage morphs into full breakbeat with minimalist clink before the voices come back. It’s a solid compositional idea but it kinda cycles. I understand it’s a remix and I see another remix of the same time has a very different vibe. I’d like to hear the original but I can’t find it scrolling up and down the page. I’ve clipped both remixes on the page for ya earholes.
YTD recordings listened to: 385
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 218
Not good music: 142
Honorable Mentions: 8
Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Alexander Hawkins, Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Dawn Richard, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Akitsa, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Destruction Unit, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Mystic Braves, Divanhana, Unrestrained, Moken, Cha Wa, Systema Solar