Summer Music Catch-Up: Folklore

Taylor Swift – Folklore

For some reason, the other albums I reviewed this week were pretty easy to write about, despite being admittedly cold takes, though this one feels a little harder to know what to say about. Which is a bit odd considering it happens to be the newest album I’ve reviewed this week. However, a new Taylor Swift album doesn’t play by the same rules as other album releases, especially one that was as complete a surprise (in more ways than one) as Folklore was. So, there have inevitably been all kinds of takes since this album came out three weeks ago — from discussions about Taylor’s indie cred to questionable theories of certain songs’ queer-baiting — but I think the most important one is that this is almost certainly the best example yet of Swift’s talents as a songwriter. Continue reading

Summer Music Catch-Up: Gaslighter

The Chicks – Gaslighter

Perhaps the most pleasant discovery of doing The People’s Albums — a series I hope to continue sometime soon — was finding that The Dixie Chicks are actually kinda great. They’re not a group that often gets recognized as such, possibly because there still isn’t anything all that cool about the late ’90s explosion of country music into the mainstream. But what set The Dixie Chicks apart is that they remained uniquely true to their bluegrass roots when a lot of their contemporaries were basically making pop-rock with a little bit of twang thrown in. Of course, they were ostracized completely from the country music establishment after their comments about George W. Bush in relation to the Iraq War (back when celebrities could get canceled for not loving the President), so they unsurprisingly embraced pop a little more after this media whirlwind. Now renamed The Chicks, they’ve done a little bit of both — getting a bit away from country music while also retaining the musical touches that have always been at the heart of their sound. Continue reading

Summer Music Catch-Up: That’s How Rumors Get Started

Margo Price – That’s How Rumors Get Started

Margo Price’s 2017 album, All American Made, was an album I liked quite a bit when it came out, but I never got around to writing about it. This might have just been part of an aversion to writing about genres I’m not as much of an expert on coupled with the fact that Price’s traditionally solid singer-songwriter style isn’t exactly the juiciest style of music to write about. Which, of course, isn’t fair. So before I let another very good Margo Price LP pass us by, let’s take a look at yet another album whose release was affected by the coronavirus. Continue reading

Summer Music Catch-Up: Women In Music Pt. III

Haim – Women In Music Pt. III

When I mentioned yearning for a more subdued, but nonetheless summer-y album in my Phoebe Bridgers review, this is about what I had in mind. While Haim created one of the best summer albums in recent memory with their 2013 debut and a solidly upbeat (if a little overcooked) follow-up, Women In Music Pt. III sees them slowing down and sounding even more comfortable in their own skin. Still, this is the same Haim you’d expect to stuff their songs full of retro-inspired hooks, and there are more than a few songs here that have been dependable earworms ever since the album was released about a month and a half ago. Continue reading

Summer Music Catch-Up: Punisher

Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher

I was pretty sure I was already Phoebe Bridgers fan, but I still needed a little convincing. Unlike her bandmates in Boygenius, I hadn’t entirely fallen for her solo work yet, as much as I loved the title of Bridgers’ debut Stranger In The Alps. Still, I liked the songs she wrote on Boygenius’s EP while it seemed fair to give Bridgers some leeway seeing as she’s still a pretty new presence in the indie rock world, if one who’s brimming with potential. Thankfully, Punisher gave me that little push over the edge into Phoebe Bridgers fandom, as it’s a great vehicle for her melancholy little songs while also occasionally hinting at more grandiose gestures. Continue reading

Summer Music Catch-Up: RTJ4

Run The Jewels – RTJ4

This actually was an album I got to talk about a little bit before the onset of Criterion Month, since I gave it a Little Pick shout-out the week after it was released. However, RTJ4 is such an earth-shatteringly awesome album that I feel the need to give it a little more love. When the album was first released a week after the George Floyd killing, it felt like the perfect soundtrack to the summer’s protests against racism and police brutality. While Run The Jewels’ political commentary is one of the more potent aspects of their work here, there’s plenty else to enjoy considering this might be the album I’ve come back to the most this summer. Continue reading

Summer Music Catch-Up: Rough and Rowdy Ways

Bob Dylan – Rough and Rowdy Ways

The past two years in late June, I’ve posted lengthy catch-ups featuring bite-size reviews of albums that I hadn’t gotten around to reviewing by the year’s mid-point. I didn’t do that this year because there just weren’t that many albums that I had much to say about that I hadn’t already mentioned on this blog in one way or another. But then right before and all through July, a bunch of albums came out that I really liked. So, now that we’ve taken a little break from posts in the aftermath of Criterion Month, I’ll try to keep that review-a-day energy rollin’ by reviewing a recent album each day this week. I’ll start off with the one that I probably have the most thoughts on… Continue reading