The four-year wait for new music from Lorde is finally over with the release of a new single, the title song from upcoming album Solar Power.
Lorde’s sophomore effort, 2017’s Melodrama, was an art-pop masterpiece, angsty and dramatic in all the best ways.
That album paved the way for Billie Eilish, whose extraordinary success has sucked up a lot of the musical air previously breathed by Lorde. You also hear echoes of it in some of Olivia Rodrigo’s songs. The emergence of those two stars since Lorde last recorded means she is now the third most popular Gen Z pop star.
I was a big Eminem fan through his first three albums. The Slim Shady LP, The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show are all classic examples of his writing and rapping skills forming a perfect marriage with his subject matter.
That subject matter weaved between his personal demons and the societal impact of his work, and he had provocative things to say about both.
Liz Phair is an artist I had no expectation of hearing from in 2021. It’s been 11 years since her last release, the half-assed, grab-bag double album Funstyle, and 16 years since her last serious release, 2005’s forgotten (and forgettable) Somebody’s Miracle.
Before that came 2003’s Liz Phair, which earned her a minor hit in ‘Why Can’t I?’ but also the derision of fans who accused her of selling out by teaming up with pop hitmakers. When you looked past the glossy production, and the whiplash effect of seeing an indie trailblazer in such a different context, that album wasn’t half-bad.
Has any solo artist achieved as much success at as young an age as Billie Eilish? She is the youngest artist ever to win the Album of the Year Grammy, and the youngest ever to win Record of the Year (which she has won twice, making her also the second-youngest behind only herself).
She is one of only eight people to sweep the Grammys top three awards (Album, Record, Song) in one ceremony, and by far the youngest to do that. She is one of only two to add Best New Artist to that tally, joining Christopher Cross, who was 30 when he did it.
It’s been exactly a month since I wrapped up my deep dive into the albums of Jackson Browne, and now he’s back with the first single from his upcoming release.
Browne’s 15th studio album, Downhill From Everywhere, is due out next month, seven years after what I suspected might be his last effort, 2014’s Standing in the Breach.