pop album reviews

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Beyoncé’s new Lion King-inspired album features Childish Gambino, JAY-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Blue Ivy, and more

I get the whole idea of wanting to stay true to the original, but Disney really dropped the ball by not rebranding its latest remake as The Lion Queen. Because let’s be honest, this is Beyoncé‘s movie. Not only does Queen Bey voice Nala in the film, she curated an entire album inspired by it. …

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Africa Express: Egoli review – an end-to-end party album

(Africa Express) Five albums in, and Africa Express – Damon Albarn’s cross-cultural collaboration engine – has pitched up in Johannesburg, known as Egoli in Xhosa. It could be the best iteration yet of this speed-dating pop writer’s camp, in which a handful of UK and US artists (Nick Zinner, a returnee, plus Super Furry Gruff …

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Palace: Life After review – indie trio find new force

(Fiction) While Palace’s 2016 debut, So Long Forever, was an accomplished enough slice of grown-up indie, it did feel a little half-hearted in places. Although the songs concerned themselves with bereavement, the marital breakup of frontman Leo Wyndham’s parents and similarly weighty topics, at times there was a detachment to his delivery that seemed at …

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Banks: III review – a break from dark R&B doesn’t quite pay off

(Harvest Records)Her third album is a less-than-convincing attempt to lighten the old experimentalism in favour of chart-friendly ballads LA singer Banks was heralded as part of a wave of “alternative R&B” when she emerged in 2014. Her distorted vocals and experimental beats were categorised alongside Tinashe and FKA twigs – though the latter refuted the …

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Purple Mountains: Purple Mountains review – sardonic Americana with the lyrics of the year

(Drag City)Life has tested David Berman, and he translates it into songs of mordant wit on this fantastic collaboration with Woods David Berman has had a life full of flamboyant bleakness. A one-time crack addict, he once deliberately overdosed and headed to the same hotel room Al Gore awaited the 2000 election re-count in, saying: …

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