pop album reviews

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Jenny Hval: The Practice of Love – ambient therapy

(Sacred Bones) Devotees of the determinedly left-field Norwegian Jenny Hval may be gently thrown by her seventh album. Her last, Blood Bitch, tackled themes of vampires and menstruation with her customary tools of unsettling semi-spoken vocals and spare, folk-boned pop. The Practice of Love, by comparison, makes radical concessions to melody, rhythm and pleasure, a …

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Pixies: Beneath the Eyrie review – gothy, theatrical alt-rock fables and tall tales

(BMG/Infectious)Minus the loud-quiet-loud dynamic, Pixies’ third album since re-forming has creepy songs about witches, spells and death The dilemma for any re-formed band is whether to try and re-create their “classic sound” or try to develop it, to avoid becoming a tribute to themselves. Thus, Pixies’ third album since reuniting largely shuns the loud-quiet-loud dynamic …

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Gruff Rhys: Pang! review – acoustic, pastoral, global … and as unpredictable as ever

(Rough Trade) Sung in Welsh, produced by South African artist Muzi, Rhys’s latest is a chamber folk-rock minor masterpiece After last year’s expansive, magnificent Babelsberg, Gruff Rhys has pared things back, although not by much. Where Babelsburg went the full orchestra, Pang! confines itself to the chamber, its songs not draped in instrumentation, but coloured …

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Charli XCX: Charli review – a raw, rousing step towards superstardom

(Asylum/Atlantic)The embattled singer reveals her anxieties and coaxes brilliance from various guests in a candid, confident third album In the five years since Charli XCX released her last album, she’s sworn that industry interference meant she would never make another. But here we are: after an overwhelmingly productive half-decade of unofficial releases and collaborations, Charli …

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Ariana Grande, Lana Del Rey, and Miley Cyrus premiere new song “Don’t Call Me Angel”: Stream

Almost 20 years ago Charlie’s Angels had the musical support of Destiny’s Child. In 2019, they have another trio of stars: Ariana Grande, Lana Del Rey, and Miley Cyrus. The three pop stars have joined forces for a mega collaboration called “Don’t Call Me Angel”. The new, trap-heavy song premieres Friday alongside a music video starring Ari, Lana, …

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Charli XCX premieres star-studded new album Charli: Stream

Charli XCX is back with her new album. The star-studded Charli is streaming in full below via Apple Music or Spotify. The self-titled record brings together a long list of prominent guests. Among them: Lizzo, Troye Sivan, HAIM, Big Freedia, Christine and the Queens, and Sky Ferreira. The pop futurist also has collaborations with rapper CupcakKe, former Artist of the Month …

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Sam Fender: Hypersonic Missiles review | Alexis Petridis’s album of the week

(Polydor)The North Shields singer-songwriter may look cookie-cutter but his gritty, gloriously anthemic songs on toxic masculinity, violence and death are anything but Sam Fender seems to have arrived direct from central casting: Brit Critics’ Choice award 2019 winner, nominated in 2018’s BBC Sound Of poll, looks like a model, background in acting, here we go …

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