Review Explosion: Adele, Silk Sonic, Damon Albarn, Eric Clapton, & More

(Review Explosion, curated by contributing editor Malachi Lui, is AnalogPlanet’s guide to notable recent releases and reissues. It focuses on the previous few months’ new releases for which we don’t have time or energy to cover more extensively.)

Adele - 30

Melted Stone/Columbia stream (2LP, CD, and cassette variants available)

Produced by: Various
Engineered by: Various
Mixed by: Various
Mastered by: Randy Merrill at Sterling Sound

Music: 6
Sound: 7

Following a recent divorce, Adele returns with 30, her first album in six years. Produced mainly by Greg Kurstin and Inflo with contributions from Ludwig Goransson and Max Martin among others, 30 finds the singer slightly altering her formula—just enough to keep it interesting. “Strangers By Nature” and “All Night Parking” take cues from classic vocal jazz, and “Cry Your Heart Out” is lively electro doo-wop. “My Little Love” finds Adele explaining the divorce to her son, and on many songs she takes accountability for some of her marital issues. “Easy On Me,” “Hold On,” and “I Drink Wine” are typical Adele ballads, while “Oh My God” and “Can I Get It” are the obligatory radio-oriented tracks. Penultimate track “To Be Loved” is 30’s highlight; over nearly seven minutes, her powerful and vulnerable vocals soar over a simple piano. Whether or not you love Adele’s voice, 30 features some of her best performances. As her most emotionally bare album, it’s well worth a listen.

Silk Sonic - An Evening With Silk Sonic

Aftermath/Atlantic stream (CD and cassette available)

Produced by: Bruno Mars & D’Mile
Engineered by: Charles Moniz
Mixed by: Serban Ghenea
Mastered by: Randy Merrill at Sterling Sound

Music: 4
Sound: 8

On their first collaborative LP as Silk Sonic, Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak present a Grammy-bait facsimile of 70s Philly soul and R&B that desperately lacks artistic sincerity. The Bootsy Collins-“hosted” An Evening With Silk Sonic is an incredibly taxing half-hour; as they fill the songs with excessive drum rolls and obnoxious vocal acrobatics, Mars and Paak can’t shut up about how they think they’re the world’s flyest dudes who’ve been maliciously manipulated by evil women they still welcome. Unlike its inspirations’ seemingly effortless polish, An Evening With Silk Sonic sounds incredibly manufactured and labored over. It’s passable background music, but upon closer listen you realize these songs suck. “Silk Sonic Intro” drums up non-existent excitement, lead single “Leave The Door Open” presents the pair as annoying tryhards and show-offs, “Fly As Me” sounds like a royalty-free cross between Sly & The Family Stone and the Native Tongues, “Smokin’ Out The Window” has some of history’s most dreadful ad-libs, and the new jack swing touches on “777” quickly grate. An Evening With Silk Sonic mostly appears as validation for the industry establishment’s throwback R&B obsession, and as a vehicle for Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak to get more RIAA certifications and Grammys. Unfortunately, it’s probably succeeded.

dltzk - Frailty

deadAir download (CD and cassette available)

Produced by: dltzk
Engineered by: N/A
Mixed by: N/A
Mastered by: N/A

Music: 8
Sound: 7

While their February 2021 hyperpop EP Teen Week showed promise, 18-year-old digicore artist dltzk’s debut album Frailty is a rare work of youthful energy and emotion with incredible maturity and reflection. Transcending any notion of a digicore “sound,” dltzk (“delete Zeke,” who also works under the moniker Leroy) folds vaporwave, emo, video game music, and cloud rap into a singular blend most closely resembling indietronica. Combining blown-out drums, fuzzy guitar layers, video game sound effects, and Ecco2k-esque vocal alterations with the haze of a distant memory or the glitchiness of an old videocassette, dltzk is at turns contemplative, depressive, and wistful. Their mesmerizing, often multi-part songs sometimes last 5-6 minutes, at one moment existing on sanity’s fringes before gracefully simmering down. While Frailty explores failed relationships and social rejection, it’s also preoccupied with death. Yet through it all, dltzk pairs their raw emotions and near-unintelligible lyrics with brilliant melodies and lighter nostalgic touches. Album centerpiece “movies for guys” encapsulates Frailty’s innovation best: moving between processed guitar leads, bubbly synths, and distorted rock freakouts before its calmer, spacious ending, it perfectly backs their anxious vocals about a crush not accepting them. As hyperpop gets exhaustingly commercialized, dltzk’s left turn on Frailty is extremely refreshing; even within the still-mostly-independent digicore space, its sonic and emotional ambition and scope boldly stands out.

Damon Albarn - The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows

Transgressive Records/13 stream (LP variants, CD, and cassette available)

Produced by: Damon Albarn
Engineered by: Samuel Egglenton
Mixed by: Stephen Sedgwick
Mastered by: John Davis at Metropolis

Music: 7
Sound: 7

53-year-old Damon Albarn remains prolific as ever, though his post-Demon Days output is inconsistent: a great record here and a couple decent albums there among dreary mediocrity. Thankfully, his new solo album The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows falls in the former camp. Albarn’s songwriting has long emphasized melancholy, though nowadays it often descends into depressing grey fog: take, for example, his two albums with The Good, The Bad, & The Queen, which feel like sitting through England’s funeral. The Nearer The Fountain, like parts of Gorillaz’ Song Machine Season One last year, molds Albarn’s melancholic ballads into lush, beautiful compositions that spotlight his simultaneously observational and introspective lyrical craft. Forgoing flashy guest appearances in favor of simple, quality songs, its 40 minutes feel complete but not overbearing. The Nearer The Fountain is easily one of Albarn’s best works within the past 15 years, and could possibly signal a new phase in his career.

Eric Clapton - The Lady In The Balcony: Lockdown Sessions

Bushbranch/Mercury/UMG stream (2LP variants, CD variants, Blu-ray, and DVD available)

Produced by: Russ Titelman, James Chads, and Peter Worsley
Engineered by: Richard King and Robert Collins
Mixed by: Richard King
Mastered by: Marc Theriault

Music: 6
Sound: 8

When in May 2021 COVID lockdowns cancelled Eric Clapton’s Royal Albert Hall shows, the unfazed 76-year-old guitarist took his band to his countryside estate. They played a mostly acoustic set for Clapton’s wife, but the already insanely wealthy Clapton couldn’t just play for his wife—he had to record and release it as this month’s The Lady In The Balcony: Lockdown Sessions. At this point, his anti-vax stance and questionable political views attract more attention than his actual music. The Lady In The Balcony, advertised as a sequel to 1992’s Unplugged, shows Clapton sticking to his usual repertoire of originals and blues covers, leaving out socio-political comments and his recent “protest” songs “Stand And Deliver” and “This Has Gotta Stop” (which of course both involve fellow paranoid conspiracy pundit Van Morrison). It’s nothing you haven’t already heard from him, but it’s nice to hear acoustic versions of songs like “Bell Bottom Blues.” While it makes even more obvious Clapton’s incessant greed (he’s already worth a few hundred million dollars, and his concert tickets aren’t cheap), diehard fans will enjoy the surprisingly decent The Lady In The Balcony. (My favorite “Clapton by the numbers” album is 1994’s From The Cradle, whose vinyl edition is well mastered, pressed, and packaged. And for the record, I sold my copy of Happy Xmas.)

Rx Papi & Gud - Foreign Exchangep>

YEAR0001 stream (no physicals yet)

Produced by: Gud
Engineered by: N/A
Mixed by: Gud
Mastered by: Gud

Music: 6
Sound: 7

Following a prolific mixtape run, Rochester rapper Rx Papi teams up with Swedish producer Gud (Sadboys, Drain Gang) on a new YEAR0001 release, Foreign Exchange. Rx Papi and his frequent companion Rxk Nephew have over the past couple years established a unique (if not very accessible) style: stream-of-consciousness verses, delivered at rapid paces oblivious to the beats. That continues on Foreign Exchange, which pairs Rx Papi’s descriptive verses about street life and drug abuse with Gud’s hazy instrumentals. The former’s voice has an aggressive yet vulnerable gruffness, though it unfortunately obscures the production; if you can overlook or accept this major listenability flaw in Rx Papi’s style, Foreign Exchange is a decent effort.

(Malachi Lui is an AnalogPlanet contributing editor, music obsessive, avid record collector, and art enthusiast. Follow him on Twitter: @MalachiLui and Instagram: @malachi__lui)

DouglasBrown's picture

Michael, First off, I like your reviews. I read them and look forward to them. But I have a bone to pick. The above review on Clapton's latest work is .. .well.... A few things... 1) "insanely wealthy Clapton" Do you say this about McCartney? Clapton is old, Adele is insanely wealthy and charges a lot for her music and her concerts. Should I bring up Elton John? He is more affluent than EC and demands A LOT to see him. EC's wealth has nothing to do with a review of this album and everything to do with the fact you don't like his politics. Which you then bring up. I disagree with Eric, but I'm not buying his records for his views. Your dig on Van Morrison is uncalled for also. You rant about EC being too rich, having thoughts you don't like, and very little into the quality of the 1) music 2) pressing. This is why I read your blog, for the knowledge you share, not for your rants. Please, keep it classy and write a good review of Eric's work. The man is GREAT and has done many amazing things for the folks around him, his former bandmates, for people suffering from addiction, and so much more. Politics is only one part of a person. I wish the world would learn this. I respect so many people whose politics I might not fully agree with. EC is one of them, BIG TIME! BTW, I loved the album. Though, I thought the pressing was a bit noisy, and in some places, maybe distorted. This is what I wanted to learn from you. Is it just me? Not that you find him too rich and hate Van Morrison. Come on. You are better than this.

DouglasBrown's picture

My mistake. I called out Michael but the author is Malachi. My mistake and I apologize.

Michael Fremer's picture
Your comment stands regardless of to whom it was addressed.
Tom L's picture

As far as I'm concerned, Malachi can say whatever he wants to in his reviews. Period.
We all have a right to our opinions. My opinion happens to be that Clapton and Morrison are a lot dumber than I thought they were, regardless of the quality of their music.

Anton D's picture

I'm happy to separate politics from music but if an artist can't do that himself, then it can certainly affect one's 'appreciation' of his product.

I also admit to having always disdained EC, so maybe it's an easier step to disregard him when he spews dipshit racist or anti-scientific BS.

I never realized that reading a review could melt so many snowflakes. I hope that doesn't leave a residue on all their "8+" vinyl!

Jazz listener's picture

but if we criticize it or offer an alternate viewpoint, we’re snowflakes, lol.

Anton D's picture

You are a veritable blizzard.

recordhead's picture

Your comments are spot on. The Clapton review is being filtered through the writers feelings about the artist bank account and politics. Not the music.

Jazz listener's picture

I completely agree.

MalachiLui's picture

you are right, other artists i've reviewed in this explosion also have a ton of money, as do many of my favorite artists in general.

however, those artists still actually do something creative and new, whether i like it or not. clapton is just recycling old material that we've all heard before. does adele charge a lot, arguably too much, for her concert tickets? yes. however, at least she's writing, recording, and performing new music. clapton isn't. therefore, clapton just appears as greedy while many other wealthy artists still make appreciated contributions to music. but if mccartney put out a "live in studio" record of songs we've already heard, i'd probably call that release unnecessary too.

van morrison used to make good music... USED to. sitting through his 'latest record project volume i,' however, is a chore. no one needs his paranoid boomer qanon rants, much less two hours of it.

if you read closely, you'd see that i specifically reviewed the stream of EC's latest. the purpose of a review explosion is to determine whether something is worth someone's time or money. and if i find a release to be worth me buying, i'll do a follow-up about the physical disc in a vinyl reports/vinyl explosion. we've been doing that for over two years now. i also don't think my review was a "rant." it was very short but honest!

also, clapton doesn't deserve a glowing review by default. clapton isn't god. it might surprise you, but i do have an appreciation for some of his music, i even saw one of his 70th birthday shows at madison square garden. i wasn't even overly negative about 'the lady in the balcony.' i gave it a fair review: the music is decent, but the release itself feels unnecessary.

i'd also suggest you read this rolling stone article from this year. it gives a more balanced perspective on clapton:

recordhead's picture

No thanks. I don't care about his thoughts on Covid. I don't care what my mechanic thinks about it either. I just want him to fix my car. Clapton fans just want to hear his playing. I personally think he's overrated. But I won't ignore his body of work because he has a different opinion on... enter hot topic here. The Clapton review could have been as simple as, "an unnecessary but at times, enjoyable release."

DouglasBrown's picture

Thanks for the reply to my comment. I stand by what I said, though maybe 'rant' was a bit much ;) I hope I did not come off as if I was attacking you. I was a bit upset as I was so excited to read what you thought of the vinyl, not the person. I left sad. Sad Doug ;)

I don't see a problem with older artists playing their hits. Older artists don't create great work (mostly) so Clapton doing these on his acoustic made me happy as I get older (I'm old, sadly... 51, which is not THAT old, but as Little Feat once said, I'm over the hill if my mind makes a promise my body can't fill. Yes, I'm old.). Anyhoo. I like quieter music as I get older, so I was excited about this as my younger self loved EC. Nowadays, I don't listen too much but was excited about this. I love those sounds the same way I love Blood on the Tracks Test Pressing RSD, which would make a GREAT OneStep, but I digress ;)

Bottom line. Please keep the politics out of it. Man, everywhere we turn, it is in our face. I love our hobby as it is about the vibrations, not the views. Good vibrations!!! Happy Doug.

And please. tell us about the vinyl... the music... how it sounds, the details... not the person. I don't care about the person. I agree with Dylan when he says he is there to make music, and nobody should care about him as a person. I think Dylan is the God, but that is his music, not him as a person! :)

To the Jim Morrison hater, I agree.. not the best, but damn, the Doors have their place, and the Analog Productions 45 Doors releases are ... top shelf. Funky. The LA Women? YAH BABY! Good tunes, for sure. They have their place, but Jim is no Joni or David Crosby, but we have them, we have Morrison too!

Bottom line Part 2, different strokes for different folks.. We CAN worry about the vibrations and have a great day spinning some kick #$@ vinyl! :)

Happy Holidays all! Be kind to one another. That is all we truly have. No matter if we disagree.

Jazz listener's picture

I completely agree. The focus on his politics was unnecessary. If the current state of America has taught us anything, it’s that we have to learn to get along and tolerate different viewpoints. And who cares how rich he is. This means he can no longer produce music or release albums without being called greedy? Once again Malachi shows his immaturity and age. Just because an artist is in their twilight years doesn’t mean they are irrelevant. If people still buy his music, he’s still relevant. I have many favourite artists who I keep hoping have a few more albums in them before they kick the bucket. Are these albums going to be as good as in there heyday? Probably not, but if they have one or two gems the. I’m a happy camper as it has added two more songs that I can listen to by a favourite artist. Ditto for re-releases of old material, if it’s a favourite artist I say the more the better.

shawnwes's picture

There's so much good music out there why not review music you actually like? A 7 or less on my own scale is a pass for me these days. I don't need more mediocre music. I generally don't even read music reviews any longer unless there's a rating of 9 or above. I've got 2k albums of 8 or better albums already. Why bother?

Michael Fremer's picture
He does both pretty much in balance. I've cautioned him about too much negativity but I won't filter his output. It's easy to enjoy his writing abilities even if you don't like the music or the negativity.
MalachiLui's picture

only the silk sonic review in this feature is outright negative. 5-6 is neutral, 7 is good and recommended, 8 is great, 9 is masterpiece, 10 is ultra-masterpiece.

Ortofan's picture

... if so, how would you rate it?

Although much of the music was familiar to me, I still enjoyed it.
My criticism of the sound quality would be that it sounded as though, somewhere along the line, that the "loudness button" had been left engaged, which made the low frequency level seem excessive.

DouglasBrown's picture

This is what I thought too. I think it sounds really nice but the lows are too fat. It is missing the brightness I feel they should have achieved with this style of music.

Although I really like it, I feel it is far from the great sound and far from what it should and could be for 2021! I hoped for more.

The music itself, I thought was great. Though the Budokan release he had, the acoustic show is much hotter, he was 20 years younger too.

MalachiLui's picture

again, i can't stress this enough: a 7/10 means it's good and worth your time and possibly money! sometimes a 7/10 release leans closer to an 8, sometimes closer to a 6. but it's still worth your time!

i've only given one album a 9 this year: ye's 'donda.' there are only a few 9's per year for me. last year there were 3 albums i rate as 9's (yung lean's 'starz,' the 1975's 'notes on a conditional form,' and the microphones' 'the microphones in 2020'). it's not that music's gotten worse, it's that many professional rating scales run pretty conservative.

there are a handful of 8/10 albums per year, all of which are highly recommended. on my rating scale, i personally think a 6 or lower signals "don't bother if you're not already a fan or completist." but 7's are not mediocre by any stretch of the imagination!

cdvinyl's picture

I am amazed at the effort you put into your reviews. Truly applaudable.
Even though most of your reviews are in music genres I would never explore, I enjoy the exposure to the output of the artist you review. Many thanks. Cheers.

orthobiz's picture

I for one would like to see a Malachi column, Explosion! or not, where he lists a few of his Music 10 Sound 10 favorites...

MalachiLui's picture

interesting idea! i've been thinking one of these days i might list my top 100 albums of all time (based on music more than sound), though as far as "music: 10" favorites, there are only 11 of them. "sound: 10" favorites are also extremely rare and don't often intersect with the "music: 10" favorites.

for now, though, you can see all of the releases i've heard, rated by music on my rym page:

DaveyF's picture

I find it quite refreshing when i read a review from anyone who happens to stipulate some of the obvious negatives. With EC, IMHO he has basically been phoning it in for a few year now. He made the mistake of playing with BB King a few years ago..and was ceremonially show up as 'second fiddle' at best. EC has skills, but I think he has been riding on his laurels for too many years now...
So Malachi, good on you for stating what you did!

M1chael's picture

I agree with DouglasBrown, we all have a right to our opinions. My opinion happens to be that DouglasBrown is as dumb as he appears to be. Thank you

Jazz listener's picture

why do you have that picture of your sister as your username photo?

DouglasBrown's picture

Awesome. I'm happy you are so impressed by me. I like you!

Jazz listener's picture

I think we all agree that it reads much better. I guess I’m a contributing editor now too!

P.S. How does Adele get a 6 for music when you basically say in your review that her songs are great. One step forward, two steps back. We’ll work on this.

MalachiLui's picture

as if you single-handedly convinced me to change the opening text.

that's simply not true.

Jazz listener's picture

you know it to be true. I am your father.

MalachiLui's picture

i said that it has some of her best performances. performances (in this case, vocal performances) are separate from the compositional or artistic quality. i like the album, but it has some filler and in my opinion isn't special or interesting enough to often return to.

M1chael's picture

Sorry DouglasBrown, I agree with you. Tom L is the one I take issue with.

DouglasBrown's picture

Now you are just confusing me. Back to my intelligence level! :) HAHAHAHA! :) Always a hoot!

The Walrus's picture

Been a long time follower of Mr Fremer's writings - on music and Hi-Fi and a regular of this page and associate publications. Being in a location where demo availability of equipment is a challenge - I rely heavily on the reviews posted here and elsewhere and feel I've never been steered wrong.

As a rule - I don't click on Malachi's review as I find them predictable, one dimensional and inflammatory in nature. But I thought I'd give this one a go to see what might be being said about Silk Sonic. As a guitar player - I can appreciate the musicianship of this collaboration as it is full of really cool (and unusual) chord progressions, harmonies, melodies and instrument fills/solos. Stuff you just do not hear in today's modern two chord (if that), sparse, quantized, plastic, sub 2 minute song world.

Frankly - I'm not sure how "they present as annoying tryhards and showoffs" is even a comment on the "music" at all?

Meanwhile - Kanye West can talk about ALL the b*tches and watches and cars and so on and yet HE is God..... We can be critical about Silk Sonic's "lyrics" yet celebrate a group like Migos who are barely intelligible even if they are using real words and not chirping like grasshoppers?

One day Malachi, I hope you learn to appreciate the opportunity afforded to you by Michael by giving you this audience, and that you don't let your own precociousness derail you before you can realise your potential as a writer and reviewer.

Back to never clicking on anything posted by this writer. Thankfully this style of writing is contained only to a small space on this excellent site.

MalachiLui's picture

first of all, anyone who thinks ALL my reviews are "predictable, one-dimensional, and inflammatory in nature" doesn't read enough of my writing. if you read my recent pieces on YMO or alexander spence or bladee, your point would be immediately disproven. simple as that.

regarding silk sonic, interesting chord progressions don't always result in good art. i found the silk sonic album to be annoying grammy bait. the "they present as annoying try-hards and showoffs" comment relates to the music in that it's how the music is presented!

not that the artist formerly known as kanye west has anything to do with this, but songs like "i'm in it" or "hell of a life" thrive on C O N T E X T. anyone who finds that toxicity to be representative of reality is missing the point. my comment about silk sonic wasn't some politically correct thing about "a toxic attitude towards women" or whatever (not that i'd promote that attitude or anything), rather that bruno mars and anderson .paak "can't shut up" about it.

what i'm seeing with your comment is that you simply hate anything and anyone that criticizes something you like. that's unfortunate.

elmore244's picture

Personally, I enjoy reading Malachi's reviews because I always get a laugh out of them. I realize due to generational differences, we are far apart in terms of musical tastes. I think his reviews are well written although they tend to lean on being too superfluous, but I understand as I was a young writer once in my lifetime. While I do agree that in may cases, he needs to learn to separate the review from the biased attacks, I totally defend his right and his opportunity to express himself. I can only see that as he matures he will become a better writer and a better reviewer. Weren't we all young once and thought we knew it all only to find out later in life that we really didn't know jack shit? Anyway, keep up the good work Malachi. Continue writing. Even though I am on the totally opposite end of the spectrum as far as musical tastes are concerned, I do enjoy reading your reviews.

DouglasBrown's picture

I like his reviews too. This is why I was so disappointed in the EC one. I was excited to hear what he thought.

Glotz's picture

Thank you.

Glotz's picture


audiof001's picture

Malachi, you certainly write very well for a person of your age. I don’t often like the same music as you, but do appreciate your interest in our hobby. I would, however, like to see you handle differing opinions and criticisms with reflection and more introspection. When faced with push back, take a breath and contemplate the lesson being offered (there is always a lesson), without feeling the need to defend or further justify your published opinion. It is, after all, just an opinion.

Regarding the Clapton dust up, I find it hard to listen to his music now, in the very same way that I can’t enjoy the Bill Cosby comedy albums that gave me gust-busting laughs in my early teen years. We humans tend to laud the opinions of those we admire the artistic work of and often feel let down by the same when their questionable moral choices come to light. Frankly, in my "opinion", Clapton’s playing has lost the fire that drew me close during his Cream/Dominos drug-fueled years. Less “measured” and more “reckless” would be my preferred formula. Admittedly, seeing Cream reunited at MSG on that first night was an absolute thrill for my long since 16 year old self… that night, he actually brought the fire.

Robin Landseadel's picture

I've thought of Clapton as wanker extraordinaire for a long time anyway. The Bonzo Dog Band covered that issue a long, long time ago, decades before Malachi was even a potential concept:

"Then I think I'll get a massage, maybe, lose a little fat
So I have to go downtown in my brand-new Cadillac
My valet comes and dresses me, I light a big cigar
Cos' I like to look like Nimrod when I'm riding in my car. . ."

Still valid.

jwcinsd's picture

I had to register for an account as these album reviews are the worst ever! Get politics and money out of music reviews. The author’s reply in all small letters with improper punctuation? Who is this guy? The review on dltzk literally makes zero sense. I won't read another review.

Michael, please hire someone that can write and can honestly review an LP and not give his personal political or financial interpretations of what we should think is politically correct. Music is not political, but artists are, and if you're good, hopefully, you'll make lots of money because even if 1/1000 of 7.9 billion people will want to hear Clapton's take on "happy birthday". And by the way, Clapton is God. Millennials should learn their history.

MalachiLui's picture

are doing some pretty wild shit. clapton is not god, i'm not a millennial, music can be political, and the dltzk review makes perfect sense unless you have no idea what "digicore," "hyperpop," and "vaporwave" are.

it might help you to let loose and try typing in only "small letters," or at least accept other people doing so. i know some important people who also type in all lowercase (the proper term for "small letters," mind you)!

Freedom's picture

Damon's new album is probably the best release of 2021. Great pressing. Purchased three copies from different places, and no issues with any of those LPs. Well, two actually, as one copy is still sealed, unplayed.

Freedom's picture

Damon's new album is probably the best release of 2021. Great pressing. Purchased three copies from different places, and no issues with any of those LPs. Well, two actually, as one copy is still sealed, unplayed.

Glotz's picture

Not as colorful as Gorillaz' releases but whatever. Still grateful for the release... For sure. Vinyl? Maybe.

I get when we are younger we have a tendency to judge the value of music on how musically successful the artist was on a giving release. I grew up that way as well. And obviously these are critical reviews. For me, if I love a given artist, I'll enjoy it without qualification.

I am still looking for greatness, and I will find it in the smaller things within a less-than-great album. The Now Now comes to mind as does Colorado or perhaps the new MMJ album.

I just seek to appreciate sound and music as means of ecstasy, and I look to be a 'leveler' of judgment vs. a 'sharpner'. I think that occurs with time and age.

geolark's picture

The article is a review. Let’s not confuse it with a learned essay subject to the rigorous scrutiny of peer review by music academics. Such writings, according to Arts and Sciences Department of Harvard University would “propose a thesis or an overarching idea about the music, show how the musical evidence supports the essay’s claims, use appropriate technical and metaphorical language, and refer to sources correctly.” I am not aware of this young writers education but do see room for improvement in his literature style and form.

orgillian's picture

I've yet to see this discussed but her latest (and previous two albums) in both vinyl and digital formats suffer from horrible distortion in spots. The culprit appears to be another case of brickwalling but given the quality of her work and singing, it would seem unnecessary - she sells plenty of albums without needing additional volume.

MalachiLui's picture

i actually thought ‘30’ sounded decent, though it could’ve had more headroom imo. some of the distortion seemed intentional or baked in (like on “to be loved”), but i agree that her albums are too compressed for what they are, and therefore sound like shit (especially ‘21’ and ‘25’)