Here’s what you want on your iPod, recommends Luke Kenny.
Only an artiste like Prince will slap the face of modern commercialism. He was once famous for changing his name to spite his record label. This time around he gives away his new album free with various daily newspapers. But that’s for distribution, the album itself bears the sonic trademarks of the classic Prince sound. His talents for writing those killer hooks and sensual choruses seem to be sadly on the wane. There is a kind of complacency and a lack of interest in creating the edge that he is so famous for.
Bottomline: Go for the music, if at all.
Sophomore album from Katy sees her sticking close to the pop sound but with more brightness. The album reflects all the ingredients that go into creating a commercial summer pop record, the songwriting being easy going. Where it doesn’t is in the songs themselves, with the melodies not being as catchy. Although the Snoop Dogg featuring lead single, ‘California Gurls’ has sold over three million copies in the US, the song leaves much to be desired. But the album is still head and shoulders over the general pop drivel.
Bottomline: Dream with this.
No Better Than This
The 58 year old John Mellencamp has proved his mettle everytime he’s put out an album. His country-folk-rock style has led him on stellar innings. American philosophy abounds in this album produced by the legendary T-Bone Burnett and my research shows it was recorded on historic locations across America, such as the Sun Studios in Memphis and one of the hotels where bluesman Robert Johnson recorded songs. So this is some good introspective brooding by one of the finest veterans in rock n roll today.
Bottomline: It doesn’t get ‘better than this’.
While everyone expects a repeat of White Ladder, (the break-out album that spawned the hit single ‘Babylon’) David Gray has not rested on his laurels, trying to re-create another ‘Babylon’ to satisfy chart punters. But that’s not to diminish his songwriting talents in any way. This double album of new material is epic. Seventy minutes of poetic ramblings set to easy low arrangements will be tough to get through, but heard maybe two songs at a time, the rewards will be satisfying.
Bottomline: Wake Up, David!