‘Little Queenie’ is a 1959 release by the late Chuck Berry that includes several of his trademarks, including an oft-imitated opening guitar riff, some rip-snorting solos and a reference to an underage girl.
Could anybody get away with a line like “she’s too cute to be a minute over seventeen” these days? Happily, I think the answer is no.
My second-favorite album of the year so far belongs to one of my favorite artists, Josh Rouse. His Love in the Modern Age is a synthesizer-drenched homage to 80s bands such as Blue Nile and Prefab Sprout, but it still feels very much like a Josh Rouse record — sad, soulful and melodic as hell.
Rouse is the rare artist who is beloved by every member of my immediate family. He’s a staple on our car trips. My wife likes to point out that every one of his albums has a distinct sound, often a distinct instrument, that sets it apart from all the others.
In a pretty good year for new albums, the one that may well emerge as my favorite five months from now when the dust clears is Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer.
Monae has so much to say and she says it with such style. Dirty Computer is rich with statements on race, gender and sexuality but it’s an incredibly fun listen from start to finish — equal parts political and funky.
I’m dedicating this week to some of the best new albums I’ve heard so far in 2018, and today is slated for indie folk rocker Brandi Carlile. This also happens to be my mother’s birthday — Happy Birthday, Mom!
Therefore the stars were aligned perfectly for me to feature Carlile’s song ‘The Mother’ today, acknowledging both a great song on a great album and the greatest mother in the world. Alas, I jumped the gun and posted ‘The Mother’ back in April, so that opportunity is gone.
The best pop album I’ve heard in 2018 actually came out in 2017. That’s Dua Lipa’s self-titled debut, which is so packed with bangers and bops that it could be a greatest hits collection. That woman is a talent.
The second best 2017 pop album I’ve heard is another debut, Camila by former Fifth Dimension member Camila Cabello. Best known for #1 hit ‘Havana,’ this is a sultry, introspective album about as far from Cabello’s girl band roots as she could get.
I don’t know anything about Father John Misty other than he’s apparently a major asshole. I’ve read snarky interviews where he trashes other musicians and accounts of other musicians trashing him.
He once announced that he would cover Ryan Adams’ 1989, which is a song-by-song cover of Taylor Swift’s 1989, to “match one grotesque stunt with another.” Adams, in turn, bashed Father John Misty on Twitter, calling him “the most self-important Asshole on earth” and, amusingly, “Sir Fuckhead.” Adams later apologized, saying he was having a bad day.
Before I intervened with some Frank Sinatra, this was the randomly dialed-up song slated for my father’s 75th birthday. Not exactly the best fit.
On the other hand, a pop-rock anthem by Kesha (featuring Eagles of Death Metal) encouraging people to ignore criticism and shine on through the negativity is appropriate on any day, including a milestone birthday.