@@@ Rihanna: Born Again (Def Jam/UMG, 2022) I’ve never really understood why Ri Ri is such a big deal musically. I understand she’s a cultural and business force but I find her music to be pretty unremarkable. This is slow piano jam, a tearjerker but she brings it mostly with a strong powerful vibe so it’s a blend of sadness and empowerment which I think works for the new Black Panther movie. There’s a strange break where she’s sort of grunting/chanting and I think it signifies struggle. Points for weirdness. That’s actually the end of the song and it’s a strange end to a track. I think it’s an alright track, nothing to special so my perception is reinforced.
@@@ Margo Price: Lydia (Loma Vista, 2022) This is another slow jam, this time with strummed acoustic guitar and cello. Price comes in almost mouse-y and I dig that as the epic vocalizations can get tiresome. There’s alot to like here — the plainness of the production and the sparseness of the arrangement really emphasizes the lonesome nature of the lyrics which I believe is an ode to a woman who’s having a rough go. Addiction, aloneness it’s in that neighborhood. It’s a 6 minute banger so I hope it morphs a bit to keep me interested. It’s not an all time track for me but I like it.