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may 2024

 

Featured Review:  Beyoncé    Featured New Artist:  Fabiana Palladino

 

April:

Ariana Grande - Tierra Whack - Yannick Nézet-Séguin

 

 

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Key for the stars

 

Buy Music CDs at CD Universe. Audio Samples and Reviews Available on Music New Releases

 

 

FEATURED REVIEW:

 

Beyoncé – Cowboy Carter

Beyoncé – Cowboy Carter

Even before its release, this second act in the Renaissance trilogy was anticipated as a country album by this R&B icon. This was enough to make purists of the genre shudder. However, it's not, and it's more a tribute to the pioneers (and especially the female pioneers) of black country music. This nod to country music is mainly represented by contributions from legends such as Willie Nelson, Linda Martell (the first black woman to achieve country success in the 1960s) and Dolly Parton, but the pop, soul, R&B and hip hop styles of the famous singer is still recognizable, as she simply integrates the codes of country music. The hit song "Texas Hold 'Em" is probably the most country of the 27 tracks on the album. Beyoncé offers a mix of hip hop and house on "Sweet Honey Buckiin'", recalling the first act of Renaissance and at the same time thumbing her nose at purists by celebrating the African-American influence in electro. In fact, that's what the artist seems to want to demonstrate here: that country music isn't just white, and that it has been strongly influenced by African-American culture. In addition to the legends named earlier, Beyoncé surrounds herself with talented young artists such as Miley Cyrus, Post Malone and Tanner Adell. She presents not only brilliant new compositions fusing genres and history, but also covers of classics: Dolly Parton's "Jolene", The Beatles' "Blackbird", as well as excerpts from Chuck Berry songs. In "Ya Ya", a mix of soul and dance pop, she manages to cover both Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" and the Beach Boys. Cowboy Carter isn't a country album, it's a Beyoncé album, plain and simple!

Music Video: « Texas Hold ‘Em »

     

 

 

FEATURED NEW ARTIST:

 

 

Fabiana Palladino – Fabiana Palladino

Before presenting her self-titled debut album in 2024, Fabiana Palladino had been releasing songs at a rather slow pace for over 10 years and was best known for her work accompanying artists such as Jessie Ware, Laura Groves and Jai Paul, who added the singer to his label, Paul Institute. The singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer presented a handful of emotive electronic pop singles between 2017 and 2023. The most recent, "I Care", a duet with Jai, also includes her father, legendary bassist Pino Palladino. The album was largely written following a separation, and Fabiana expresses heartache, loneliness, and longing. She calls on many collaborators, including fellow producer Harry Craze, backing vocalist Jamie Woon, string arranger Rob Moose, her mother Maz, her brother Rocco, her sister Giancarla and others. This is a personal album with a unique perspective and a sound environment all her own. She quotes Prince's "Strange Relationship", and "Forever" could be presented as a lost Wendy & Lisa project from the mid-1980s. The album culminates in a stack of strings and Fabiana's vocals, almost surpassed by the seemingly defeatist ballads "I Can't Dream Anymore" and "Give Me a Sign". Two of the best rhythmic songs also flow with ease: "Stay with Me Through the Night", highlighted by excellent drummer Steve Ferrone, and another effective bass line from Pino that gives way to "Shoulda", a regret-filled rock song. Here's a creative, captivating and confident pop and R&B delight from a singer-songwriter with a beautiful style.

Music Video: « I Can’t Dream Anymore »

½

   

 

APRIL:

 

Ariana Grande – Eternal Sunshine

Ariana Grande – Eternal Sunshine

It took Ariana Grande four years to come back with a new album, her seventh. Eternal Sunshine presents the end of one relationship (ended by a divorce) and the beginning of a new one. It's a short 35-minute album, including a one-and-a-half-minute introduction. It includes the disco hit "Yes, and?", as well as the excellent "Bye", "Supernatural", "The Boy is Mine", "We Can't Be Friends" and the title track. On Eternal Sunshine, Ariana delivers top-quality R&B music. The full potential of her voice is once again revealed, even if she doesn't always push it to the limit, focusing instead on the quality of the melodies. On this new recording, the thirty-something succeeds in offering us her most cohesive album to date. (April 2024 Featured Review)

Music Videos: « Yes, and? » - « We Can’t Be Friends (Wait for your Love) »

     

 

 

Tierra Whack – World Wide Whack

Tierra Whack wowed in 2018 with Whack World, a debut EP full of ideas and feelings, hard to contain in one-minute songs (there were 15 in total). The Philadelphia rapper went on to release a series of singles that cemented her expertise in short-form releases, while building anticipation for her debut album. Balancing the boldness of Whack World with the more expansive writing of pop, rap and R&B music, World Wide Whack does indeed feel like an official debut album. Like all her music, the record is packed with inventive production and dizzying wordplay. "Ms Behave" has both qualities in abundance, as she quotes Angela Bassett and OutKast over effective electro music and a powerful bass line. Although the album is more polished and straightforward than her previous work, Tierra has not sought to become more accessible at any cost, and she retains all her uniqueness. On "Chanel Pit", she is backed by a xylophone, while on "X", her worst wishes for an old flame are backed by a punk-accented rhythm. Her gift for slice-of-life songwriting still shines through, especially on the bright funk of "Shower Song", a hopeful celebration of the rejuvenating powers of music, and on "Moovies", a light, romantic R&B tune she gives us in her own way. The upbeat songs are also surrounded by darker, melancholy, almost painful pieces, including the moving "Waze" and "Sore Loser". Tierra lays her feelings bare on the bruising "Difficult" and the harrowing closing "27 Club", where she recounts her despair over a melody that flows like tears. With World Wide Whack, Tierra Whack truly establishes herself on the American East Coast rap scene, clearly defining her style and approach. (April 2024 New Artist)

Music Videos: « Chanel Pit » - « Shower Song » - « 27 Club » - « Two Night »

½

     

 

Yannick Nézet-Séguin – Sibelius 2 & 5

After Symphony #1 in 2019 and Symphonies 3 & 4 in 2023, conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin (with the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal) returns with Symphonies 2 & 5 by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865-1957). Recorded at the Maison symphonique de Montréal, these are two of Sibelius's best-loved works, composed some fifteen years apart. "Symphony #2" marks the conclusion of his first stylistic phase, characterized by national Romanticism. "Symphony #5" lays the foundations for what was to become the composer's mature language. Once again, a great performance by Nézet-Séguin and the OM, perfectly highlighting Sibelius' work. (April 2024)

ATMA Classique

   

 

march:

 

Jennifer Lopez – This Is Me… Now

Jennifer Lopez – This Is Me… Now

With her new album, Jennifer Lopez creates a sort of sequel to This Is Me... Then, released in 2002, which paid tribute to her lover at the time, Ben Affleck, as well as containing the timeless hit "Jenny from the Block". It was certainly her reunion with Affleck in 2021, followed by their wedding in the summer of 2022, that inspired Jennifer to write This Is Me... Now. The nearly 45-minute album is accompanied by a full-length film featuring music videos for each of the 13 songs on the record, from the title track to "Greatest Love Story Never Told", including the hit "Can't Get Enough". There's also a documentary entitled The Greatest Love Story Never Told, which borrows its title from a series of love letters written to Jennifer by Affleck. Unlike the film, which contains several cameos (Jane Fonda, Post Malone, etc.), the album is much more sober, with no guests and entirely focused on the Latin singer. Few tracks stand out, but the whole remains enjoyable right to the end and is sure to please her many fans. (March 2024 Featured Review)

Music Video: « Can’t Get Enough »

     

 

 

The Last Dinner Party – Prelude to Ecstasy

Prelude to Ecstasy is the very first album from these provocative Londoners, who dabble in baroque pop and indie rock, with definite influences from Florence + the Machine, Suede, Roxy Music and David Bowie. Their rapid ascent is certainly due in large part to an opening slot with the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park before even releasing a first single. "Nothing Matters" is a perfect festival anthem, and has taken the UK charts by storm. The rest of Prelude to Ecstasy is bold, gothic alternative rock, with memorable melodies, intelligent romantic lyrics and an assertive theatrical edge. This is a very interesting debut album from a band that is likely to stand out in the next few years. (March 2024 Featured New Artist)

Music Video: « Nothing Matters »

½

     

 

february:

 

Green Day - Saviors

Green Day – Saviors

After a 35-year career, the Californian trio are still full of energy, and are back with Saviors, four years after Father of All.... The band continues in the same slightly more adult pop punk direction, with a cleaner sound, despite the trio's characteristic aggressiveness. Their melodies remain as effective as ever, and a few quality ballads confirm their versatility. The band doesn't deny its past influences, but Green Day is still able to make their own songs, their own style. Billie Joe Armstrong's pop instincts are undeniable, making Saviors both powerful and unforgettable. Green Day may not offer an album that will make you forget the classics of the past, but enough of the 15 songs will make you want to tap your foot or sing at the top of your lungs. (February 2024 Featured Review)

Music Videos: « The American Dream Is Killing Me » - « Dilemma » - « One Eyed Bastard » - « Bobby Sox »

½

     

 

 

Louis-Pierre Bergeron & Meagan Milatz – Bravura (2023)

For Bravura, horn player Louis-Pierre Bergeron and pianist Meagan Milatz draw their inspiration from Beethoven. His "Sonata for Horn and Piano in F Major, Op. 17" (1800) is the first true sonata for horn and piano in the history of music and is the central work on this album. This masterpiece is accompanied by pieces for natural horn and fortepiano by Vincenzo Righini (1756-1812), Cipriani Potter (1792-1871), Franz Xaver Süssmayr (1766-1803) and Nikolaus Freiherr Von Krufft (1779-1818). Bergeron is the fourth horn of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, having performed with the OSM, Orchestre Métropolitain and Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières. He also collaborates regularly with Les Violons du Roy. As for Milatz, she is the winner of numerous competitions and appears as soloist with orchestras across Canada, including the McGill Symphony Orchestra. (February 2024 Featured New Artist)

ATMA Classique

½

   

 

 

 

 

        

 

 

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