I'm in a music collection phase. Here are some curt reviews of recent acquisitions:
Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, by Neko Case.
Only after I'd listened to this album and was reading other reviews was I informed that it was 'country'. Really, it's a solid display of writing, intriguing instrumentation and fantastic vocals. Upon multiple listenings I guess there are two tracks that, in subject matter, sound 'country'. But their, and the album's overall excellence puts this chorus-free work with others that transcend categorization.
Court and Spark, Joni Mitchell.
Blue is Joni's masterpiece, but it is also "monochromatic". Court and Spark has Joni's magnificent voice, along with a rhythm section and some saxophones. This departure from Blue's 'a girl and a guitar or piano' allows for fuller offerings and a broader range of emotions, subject matter, and tone.
Mama's Gun, eryKah Badu.
The opener of this album instantly drew my mind to 'Maybe Your Baby' from Stevie Wonder's 1972 classic Talking Book. It also threw me off regarding everything else the album was going to be: a quiet r&b shuffle with obscure lyrics and mellow beats. After multiple listens the tracks still all sort of sound the same: an easy-going playlist with modest qualities. The last track 'Green Eyes' is hauntingly catchy, and serves up a surprise after fifty minutes of repetitive songs wedged between the more interesting bookends of the first and last offerings.
Yet, for these faults, I have to admit that the album isn't bad. It's not breaking any amazing new ground. But the songs are...good. You could definitely do worse. It is, by no means however, essential.