February 25, 2021

Grace Vanderwaal – Just the Beginning – Syco Music

By Kristi Kates | Dec. 9, 2017

She won America’s Got Talent, she’s not yet out of her teenage years, and she crafts unique, quirky folk-pop songs very different from anything else you’re probably listening to right now. Vanderwaal’s skills are evident on both ukulele and vocals, although she’s got a little polishing to do (sometimes things get a little too quirky), but tracks like “Sick of Being Told,” “Burned,” and first pop radio single “Moonlight” show off her potential. ** ½

Taylor Swift – Reputation – Big Machine
Every Taylor Swift album starts at both an advantage (fans) and a disadvantage (critics), as they arrive with so much expectation attached. But Swift lives up to the hype with this darker turn on her usual pop fare that digs (albeit cautiously) a little deeper into the twists and turns behind her sharp lyrics. Aggressive beats and Swift’s expert way with a melodic hook elevate tracks like “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” and “Call It What You Want.” *** ½

Cindy Wilson – Change – Kill Rock Stars
You might know her voice from her lead vocals of party-pop Georgia band The B-52s, but you won’t correlate that voice with this set of songs, which are far more thoughtful than the 52s’ super-energetic new wave classics. These are also electronic tracks, but on the other end of the scale; while the 52s’ songs beeped and blooped, Wilson’s own are more trip-hop in feel, from the title track to the prettily synthy “Things I’d Like to Say.” ***

Little Mix – Glory Days Platinum Edition – Syco Music
This new collection brings together fan favorites (“Shout Out to My Ex”) from the girl group’s original Glory Days album with several new tunes, including single standout “If I Get My Way,” which finds the ladies individually showing off their vocals. In addition, collaborations with artists Stormzy and Machine Gun Kelly add to the set’s diversity, making this a must-have pickup if you’re already a fan. ***



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