| A multidisc Imagine benefits more from slimming down than does a Kinks edition
by Arsenio Orteza Posted 11/20/18, 10:03 am
One sign that gift-giving season has arrived is the release of critically acclaimed rock ’n’ roll albums in boxed, freshly remastered, multidisc editions tantalizingly marketed as the best-ever way to experience the music contained therein. It’s an impression cemented by the enthusiastic reviews that inevitably flood the relevant publications and that get collated into verbal highlight reels for the packages’ Wikipedia entries.
| Willie Nelson and Rod Stewart take different stabs at Sinatra classic
Arsenio Orteza | 11/06/18, 11:29 am
If there’s such a thing as the perfect pop song, Ervin Drake’s “It Was a Very Good Year” is it. The evocatively elliptical lyrics are so exactingly tailored that they’d hold up as poetry if it were possible to read them without simultaneously hearing their accompanying melody—which is also evocatively elliptical and exactingly tailored.
| Posthumous albums recall the two superstars
Arsenio Orteza | 10/16/18, 03:20 pm
The posthumous careers of Tom Petty and Prince have begun.
Petty’s began on Sept. 28 with the release of An American Treasure (Reprise), four CDs’ worth of meticulously curated outtakes, live performances, alternate versions, early takes, remastered “deep cuts,” and other esoterica culled from Petty’s solo, Heartbreakers, and Mudcrutch recordings. It has everything, in other words, but the Traveling Wilburys (and the singles—those are what Geffen’s forthcoming The Best of Everything is for).
| Egypt Station is a charming pop album that goes on a bit too long
Arsenio Orteza | 10/11/18, 03:57 pm
The buzz accompanying the release of Egypt Station (Capitol), Paul McCartney’s first No. 1 album in 36 years, proves that fans and critics have finally grown tired of having grown tired of him and that McCartney has finally reconciled himself enough to creating what he creates best—charming, textured, irresistible pop—to forgo trying to prove himself an ace dabbler (in symphonies, in electronica, in singles by Rihanna and Kanye West).
The best soul songs, blue-eyed and otherwise, use clichés as points of departure. This time ’round, Carrack is using them as ends in themselves. How long wasn’t Rome built in? What kind of weather friends let you down? Where do you put a smile? Only on “Life in a Bubble,” which identifies the accumulation of “First World problems” and a “weary conscience” as root causes of anomie, do the words dig deep enough to make the TLC of the singing and the playing seem worth the trouble.