In the Cookie Jar
It technically may be winter, but this is definitely the reincarnation of our favorite dance nymph, Robyn. The package of tracks on Honey is exactly what her fans have been waiting for during the eight year hiatus since her last album, 2010’s Body Talk. The first track off of the package “Missing U” is the throbbing dance anthem we have come to love and yearn from Robyn, full of 80’s electronica and aching vocals towards a loved one. The rest of the package runs the gamut of the Robyn we have come to expect. From the ultra experimental (“Because It’s In The Music” ft. Zhala and the euro-trance-esque “Beach 2k20”).” As expected though, Robyn shines brightest when she hits the floor for good old fashioned house/dance music. The blissful title track is an ethereal wonder, while “Ever Again” lends itself to a fun nineties vibe making it an instant ear worm we have come to expect from Robyn.
A Star is Born
The soundtrack to A Star is Born is already number one all over the world and it’s absolutely no surprise to anyone that has ever heard Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper achingly tear into the anthem “Shallow” during build up to the release of the now global hit film. From the moment Lady Gaga pours herself into the deliciously decadent “La Vie en Rose” you know your are in for a treat on this soundtrack. Sprinkled in throughout the tracks are standout moments from the film but the true shining moments are the musical pieces themselves. Bradley Cooper growls himself through the introspective “Maybe It’s Time” while he and Gaga together on “Diggin My Grave” are the definition of southern rock. These tracks are a great framing for some of the more shining moments on the package, like the achingly gorgeous “Music To My Eyes” and the lyrically stunning “Is that Alright.” Gaga presents “I’ll Always Remember Us This Way” in the purest and most divine way possible, and “I’ll Never Love Again” (no spoilers) is as perfect as it was during the film. Layering both Cooper and Gaga’s tracks throughout the package and weaving them together as beautifully as the film did is the perfect bookend for the A Star Is Born experience.
After rocketing to fame (Ex’s & Oh’s) and a short lived marriage, Elle King needed to regroup and rebound, in that order. Her latest offering Shake The Spirit shows that this raucous rocker is beyond ready to be back in the spotlight. King channels her inner Shirley Manson on the self effacing “Talk Of The Town” and slinks through the sultry “Man’s Man” with aplomb. Tracks like “Good Thing Gone” and the breathy “Sober” show a bluesy and stripped down side of Elle King that we simply don’t see enough of. In the days of self acceptance and girl power, King shines the most on tracks like “Naturally Pretty Girls” (complete with Spector-esque beat) and growls her way through the gorgeous blues ballad “Little Bit Of Lovin.” With darker days behind her and now with Shake The Spirit, Elle King is definitely ready to step back into the spotlight.
In the 14 years since his last musical offering, Andrea Bocelli clearly has been paying attention to the musical landscape. On his latest album, the appropriately titled Si Bocelli partners up with some of the most dynamic performers in today’s musical landscape, with all of the tracks celebrating what Bocelli calls “love, family, faith and hope.” Right off the bat, we see that his friends have shown up for this luminous legend. From Ed Sheeran on the soaring “Amo sultanate te” (making their distinctive voices meld lusciously together) to Dua Lipa joining Bocelli on the glorious love song “If Only” offering her own wistful and wonderful vocals, Bocelli has chosen duet partners that are able to keep up with him and then some. We get some of our own vintage Bocelli on tracks like the dynamic “Vertigo” and the deeply stunning “Dormi dormi.” Several added treats on the package that truly stand out are fellow soaring vocalist Josh Groban joining for the duet “We Will Meet Once Again”, a gorgeous pairing not seen since Bocelli joined Celine Dion for “The Prayer.” We are able to also see the next generation of Bocelli music, with Mateo Bocelli stepping up to the microphone with his father for the intimately gorgeous “Fall On Me.” Hearing these two masterful vocalists together on one track lets us know that while Bocelli may still offer such gorgeous material consistently, he definitely has left his legacy in capable hands.
Since we “Tumbled” for them and checked into the “Church of the Poison Mind” with them in the 1980’s, we have had a love affair with Boy George and Culture Club. Through decades of amazing music, minor band drama, and hitting the road, Boy and the boys are back with a brand new album, Life. Tracks like “What Does Sorry Mean” and “Human Zoo” show that their journeys across the world have let them borrow musical styles and flavors from all over the world. Tracks like “Oil & Water” and “More Than Silence” let us see the Boy George that we like to see in front of us, stripped down and vocally amazing. Of course, there is still that bit of devilish cheekiness in there, and with tracks like the funk-inspried “Resting Bitch Face” we see that while he may have grown up since the eighties, our favorite “Boy” (along with the Culture Club) is still just that.
Top Ten by DJ Matt Bailer
- Kiesza ft. Philippe Sly – Phantom Of The Dance Floor
- YEARS & YEARS – If You’re Over Me (Sebastian Perez Remix)
- SILK CITY (MARK RONSON & DIPLO) ft. DUA LIPA – Electricity
- OLIVER NELSON ft. LINAE – Talk
- ROBBIE NEVIL – Set The World
- CHAKA KHAN – Like Sugar (Mikeandtess Remix)
- ROBYN – Missing U
- GALANTIS ft. MAX – Satisfied (Extended Mix)
- JOHN MAYER – New Light (Zookeper Remix)
- CIARA – Level Up