“Bad Liar” is peak Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez emerged as a Top 40 threat around the same time as peers Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande, but recently Gomez has taken the reigns as her era’s most idiosyncratic, sly performer; her past album’s “Good For You” and “Hands To Myself” progressed both her sound and image without any of the negative press that sometimes comes along with a teen star moving onto more adult themes. Continue reading ““Bad Liar” is peak Selena Gomez”

The National are at their most lucid on “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness”

Like most songs from the National, “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” takes multiple listens to reveal all its hues. Matt Berninger’s baritone is as crisp as ever, the Dessners and Devendorfs as economical, precise in their execution as anything on their last, great album Trouble Will Find Me. Continue reading “The National are at their most lucid on “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness””

On PWR BTTM and Separating Art from the Artist

Sometimes it’s easy to do. When Kanye West bum-rushed the stage at the 2009 MTV VMAs to lament Taylor Swift’s win over Beyoncé, as jarring as that moment was, it didn’t erase the great moments that populated his records to that point. As long as he delivered with his music, he was unimpeachable. In a more extreme case, Chris Brown still carries legions of fans despite brutally assaulting Rihanna on the way to the Grammys in 2008. In essence, the art trumps the artist. People do fucked up things, but music transcends that, or so it seems.

Continue reading “On PWR BTTM and Separating Art from the Artist”

Harry Styles branches out with the stunning “Woman”

Harry Styles is better than it has any reason being. First albums from former pop group bands aren’t usually all the great. Think fellow One Direction alum Zayn Malik, whose 2015 album Mind of Mine was a largely forgettable affair, or even an artist like Justin Timberlake. Justified had some thrilling highs, but it still felt like market-tested set of songs, nothing as organic or progressive as what he’d attempt on his FutureSex/LoveSounds followup. So it comes as a surprise that Harry Styles doesn’t suffer any of those same setbacks; he overthrows them. Continue reading “Harry Styles branches out with the stunning “Woman””

Sheer Mag are as fervent as ever on “Just Can’t Get Enough,” the lead single from their debut LP NEED TO FEEL YOUR LOVE

After a string of rousing EPs (culminating in the great Compilation LP), Sheer Mag is set to release their debut album this summer and lead single “Just Can’t Get Enough” loses none of the swagger, the brash intensity of the band’s prior work. Continue reading “Sheer Mag are as fervent as ever on “Just Can’t Get Enough,” the lead single from their debut LP NEED TO FEEL YOUR LOVE”