Music to Your Ears – Spoon, Pitbull, Zara Larsson and Weezer

As promised, I’ve returned once again with the latest audio files for all you audiophiles out there. We’ve got three new albums as well as a single just in time for the turning of the seasons. Before we do that, I also want to briefly acknowledge the legacy Mr. Chuck Berry left the world, and his passing brings about the reminder that we’ve lost one more great musician in the past year. Thanks again for everything, Chuck.

Spoon – Hot Thoughts

It’s hard to justify why I love this album so much, but a lot of it has to do with the age-old rollercoaster ride bands take in their career: When they peak early on, and take a few albums to rediscover their sound, they come back with an album so precise, so inspired by every album before it that you can’t help but to fall back in love immediately. I’m not saying I was disappointed by the last two albums, Transference and They Want My Soul, but they felt ponderous. Here, though, they pick from each album before and take the best moments, reinventing them for something we need in 2017. The moody dissonance of “The Ghost of You Lingers” from Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is here in the just as strangely titled “Whisperi’lllistentohearit”. Right away, they move back towards their early Telephono days with a ragged piano and drum serenade in “Do I Have to Talk You Into It”. Later in the album, they remind you of the experimental phase Britt Daniel went through in the past seven years with the striking “I Ain’t the One” and peppy “Tear It Down” that reminds you of their best album, 2001’s Girls Can Tell. I love when an album comes together like this, reminding you of all their best moments, while still imagining new adventures for the crew. This is likely my favorite album this year so far.

Key Tracks: “First Caress”, “I Ain’t the One”, “Can I Sit Next to You”

Pitbull – Climate Change

Years ago, my friends and I would make fun of Pitbull, particularly when he had a hit song about time travel for the third Men in Black film. We thought he would be a new Sisqo, a reggateton one-hit wonder. Unfortunately, we didn’t know his life’s journey, the huge success story he’d already become, and would yet to eclipse. You see, Mr. Worldwide isn’t flashy, but he’s got enough style to attract the likes of Joe Perry, Robin Thicke and Travis Barker for an arena-sized mashup of eclectic sounds that someone elicit the funkiest dance song this side of 2017. Pitbull is at his best when he just emcees his own tracks, like when he introduces Leona Lewis on the achingly beautiful “Only One to Know” or the cameo before Flo Rida takes over his hit single “Greenlight”. He’s also solid when simply reminding us of his favorite eighties songs like when he samples REO Speedwagon in “Take it On the Run” or Pat Benatar on “We Are Strong”. For all intents and purposes, Pitbull loves talking about and creating music, so there’s nothing wrong with indulging in a little sweet now and again, especially with Worldwide’s signature chuckle. Enjoy his love letter to his influence Bob Marley alongside the man’s own son Steven.

Key Tracks: “Bad Man”, “Sexy Body”, “Only One to Know”

Zara Larsson – So Good

It’s a little presumptuous to entitle your album So Good, but I do have to say it’s a mite better than last week’s Charli XCX album of the same genre. From the moment Larsson opens up to us . The big hit (which I didn’t realize, like Pitbull) “Never Forget You” is certainly a crowd-pleaser, but the true energy embarks from Lush Life on. In this business, especially this genre, female singers are a dime a dozen and can be chewed up and spit out so quickly. My hope is that this is merely the beginning for Larsson, as she’s shown quite a spark, and actually surprised me with this sophomore (but not sophomoric) effort.

Key Tracks: “Ain’t My Fault”, “Lush Life”, “Get That Money Girl”

Weezer – “Feels Like Summer”

Remember when last year I touted the latest Weezer (white) album as a comeback of sorts? It was supposed to indicate that Rivers Cuomo had moved past his douchebag songwriter phase into an adult auteur moment, sort of a new-age Elvis Costello? I didn’t put it like that then, but I always figured Weezer would rebound in some significant way. They’ve been churning out albums on the reg since 2008’s Weezer (red)and for the most part they’re all completely forgettable. Although (White) bucked that trend with hits like “King of the World” and “Thank God for Girls”, this newest single – from an apparent upcoming album that will again be self-titled (black) – lacks all of the verve from the sunnier colored one. Sure, the temperature is starting to rise after a swath of storms in America, but this song doesn’t quite get you in the mood. It sounds like the group is falling back on old late 2000’s staples like repetitive guitar and bass, and the lyrics are uninspired. It’s a shame, but not a good forbear for the album. Cool video though.

I’m proud of me for keeping up with this all through March, but let’s just get to the end and see what happens. Next up are tracks and albums from Betty Who, Nelly Furtado, Bob Dylan and Mastodon!

I also wanted to mention that I enjoyed the new Milky Chance album, Blossom, as well – I’m just going to go with a four-item article for the time being. May mention a track or two later. I also feel bad, as I was introduced to a friend of a friend this weekend through SoundCloud via his new song “Princeton”. Enjoy this beauty of a bedroom-pop ballad, from Boy Classic:

See you all next week!







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