Nov. 10Taylor Swift, “Reputation”I’m really gonna try here, guys. Taylor Swift has never been on my radar; the country artist persona or the newer arena-pop face that she has worn doesn’t particularly appeal to my sensibilities. She seems to work in cycles, with each album hitting the same notes over and over. I would be remiss not to say that she is a talented musician or songwriter. Her voice has a lot of range on this release, from subdued performances to the firebrand of those singles. What I ended up finding lacking was the instrumentals. As Swift has moved away from the country music, the instrumentals have become drab and flat electronic beats with no real soul. Believe me or not, I actually enjoy the lead singles, but you have to have wool over your eyes or in your ears to not hear how similar all these songs are. Give me more “Look What You Made Me Do” and “…Ready for It?” and drop anything that sounds like the cliche-pile “Gorgeous.” I find hope in the progression on this record that we may see something actually interesting on the next record. There are baby steps towards something special. Let’s see a Bjork collaboration on the next album.
Greta Van Fleet, “From the Fires”The fact that there is a young, new rock band very quietly rising on the billboard charts is almost astounding. After releasing a pretty killer single a year or so back, Greta Van Fleet show up with an EP chock full of swagger and dirt that the charts have not had to deal with for a long time. They wear their inspirations on their tattered sleeves to the point where I could probably play “Highway Tune” and most of you would think you were listening to a deep Zeppelin cut. Being honest, the band is carried almost entirely by the energy of the frontman. These guys have a bright future ahead of them, and I look forward to them becoming a part of the mainstream music scene.
Converge, “The Dusk In Us”Converge has been the pinnacle of metalcore for so long now that I almost forget they have been putting out almost perfect records since 1994. Seriously, looking back on their discography, there is one album that isn’t one of my top 10 for that year. “The Dusk In Us” is no exception. Picking up perfectly after 2012’s “All We Love We Leave Behind,” it follows in its footsteps, adding some moments of levity and deliberate pacing to offset the onslaught of aggression that flanks either side. What astounds me about this release is that even after 25 years of making music, the band continues to improve. Most notably on “Dusk,” frontman Jacob Bannon has somehow masterfully channeled his searing vocal delivery into an even tighter package, clearing out just a tiny amount of the vocal fry to let his beautiful words actually be audible, and it makes the record all the more powerful for it.
Other releases this week include: Entheos, Electric Wizard, Elton John, Seal, Evanescence, Quicksand, and Four Tet