wed 23/09/2020

pop music

Album: Sufjan Stevens - The Ascension

Sufjan Stevens is an artist of remarkable ambition. His 80-minute long new album, with 15 beautiful and poetic songs, belongs to a long line of pop experimentation that runs through from The Beatles and George Martin’s Stg Pepper’s Lonely Hearts...

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theartsdesk Q&A: musician Kevin Rowland - 'it was painful to be misunderstood and misinterpreted'

“Whoargh! Steady lads!” Under that headline, NME reported that Kevin Rowland had “announced his return to the music scene with a bizarre national poster campaign depicting him in make-up and women’s clothing whilst hitching up his skirt to show his...

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Album: Alicia Keys - Alicia

Alicia Keys is a puzzling mixture. On the one hand she’s the hyper-achieving, multi-platinum, 752-Grammy-winning America’s sweetheart, all dimply smiles, positive-thinking ultra sincerity and the kind of showbiz over-emoting and singing-technique-as...

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Album: Doves - The Universal Want

If Doves have a “thing”, it’s that they do “big” with impeccable intimacy. Over ten years and four albums, they consistently displayed exactly the sort of connection that bands like Coldplay and Keane pretend to have. Huge, sweeping scores and broad...

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Album: Rui Ho - Lov3 & L1ght

A new and very strange kind of pop music has bubbled up over the past half-decade plus. It’s internationalist, rooted in both underground electronics and the most populist styles, bound up with playful but sometimes terrifying ultra high definition...

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Album: Declan McKenna - Zeros

Declan McKenna covers many bases. He’s a good looking, teen-friendly pop star who first made waves aged only 15, but he’s also a politically engaged lyricist with aspirations in the region of Bowie and Dylan. His best songs, then, combine chewy,...

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Album: Katy Perry - Smile

Katy Perry occupies an odd position. By some measure the biggest pop star in the world over the last decade, with streams in the billions, she’s always been an awkward mix of old-school razzle-dazzle showbiz hucksterism, knowing sass and awkward...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Ready Or Not - Thom Bell's Philly Soul Arrangements & Productions

A skim though the track listing confirms that this is no typical soul compilation. Actress and some-time pop singer Connie Stevens crops up. So does Johnny Mathis. Such seeming quirks are fitting as Thom Bell was never a typical arranger, producer...

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Album: Yello - Point

Some of the greatest acts of all time are the ones which find a sound and never need to alter it. Motörhead, Dinosaur Jr, Status Quo... and in the electronic world, Switzerland’s finest, Yello. It’s over 40 years since they first set millionaire...

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Album: Burna Boy - Twice as Tall

There’ve been plenty of global breakout successes from Nigeria in the past decade; D’banj, Davido, Wizkid and more – but by far the most recognisable to the international audience is Damini Ogulu aka Burna Boy. And doesn’t he know it. His last album...

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AIM Awards 2020, SBTV review - a game attempt to rewire awards ceremonies

Music awards shows are a strange beast: part window display, part industry conference and part party. Especially if you don’t have Brit Awards or Mercury Prize budget to create a whizz-bang spectacle, the ceremonies can be an interminable pileup of...

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Everything: The Real Thing Story, BBC Four review - brilliant but long overdue

This documentary is bittersweet viewing on quite a number of levels. First, it’s got all the glory and tragedy of the most compelling music stories: a Liverpool band struggling from humble beginnings, trying to find an identity, fraternity and...

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