September 26, 2020

Nick Lowe – Love Starvation – Yep Roc

FourScore
By Kristi Kates | June 8, 2019

Over five decades in to his music career, whip-sharp singer and lyricist Lowe hasn’t lost a beat, as evidenced by this new EP, which also includes the musicianship of his backing band, Los Straitjackets. Three distinctive Lower songs — “Love Starvation,” “Trombone” (which does, as you may have guessed, include trombones, but played in a pure pop style) and “Blue on Blue” — are included here, alongside Lowe’s unique and quirky cover of “Raincoat in the River” (originally by Rick Nelson). The only major complaint: The whole thing is far too short. ***
 
The Head and the Heart – Living Mirage – Reprise
Prefaced by the first snappy single, “Missed Connection,” the latest set from The Head and the Heart was written in the Mojave Desert after the band did some bandmate shifting (guitarist Josiah Johnson left and was replaced by Matt Gervais; keyboardist Kenny Hensley returned). That unsteadiness and uncertainty can be heard throughout many of the songs, both melodically and in the lyrics. The aforementioned single is one, with its apprehensive (but catchy) choruses. “Up Against the Wall” is another ode to the trials and tribulations of adjusting to new situations, as is the pretty “People Need a Melody.” ***

Maluma – 11:11 – Sony Latin
While his current claim to fame might be as an accomplice to Madonna’s recent “reinvention” of Latin music, Colombia’s Maluma tries a few tricks of his own on this set. Nevertheless, many of the tracks come across as generic, which is surprising coming from an artist who snagged plenty of awards for his earlier music. The only tunes that stand out here are ones that involve other artists — the aforementioned Madonna (on “Medellin” and “Soltera”), plus Ricky Martin, Ty Dolla $ign, Nicky Jam, Ozuna. We’ll wait for the next album to see if he can get back to standing strong on his own. **

DJ Khaled – Father of Asahd – Epic Records
Perhaps the biggest question about DJ Khaled’s new album is what exactly does Khaled do?He’s not a musician, he’s not really a producer nor an engineer, he’ssort of a DJ … but mostly he’s an event schemer and meme-maker. The thing he seems to be best at is coordinating other artists to collaborate, e.g., Chance the Rapper, Quavo, and Justin Bieber on “No Brainer”; and Travis Scott and Post Malone on “Celebrate.” The tracks here are decent enough throwaway club-crankers and opportunities for various music entourages to mix and match, but that’s pretty much it. * ½

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