Category: Album reviews

AC/DC – ‘Power Up’ album review – Evening Standard, 13 Nov 2020

It’s all here, ready to be ticked off: the AC/DC checklist, including Brian Johnson’s mighty screech, the hurricane notes flying from the lead guitar of 65-year-old school uniform-wearer Angus Young, and lyrics that cover the vocabulary of heavy rock in its entirety, from fire and explosions to wild women and booze. It what must qualify as a major innovation, this… Read more →

KYLIE – ‘Disco’ album review – Evening Standard, 6 Nov 2020

It must have been one of the shortest meetings in record company history: “What should Kylie do next?” “How about a disco album?” “Brilliant! What shall we call it?”   You might imagine Ms Minogue could be on the back foot these days, trying to hold her own in pop at 52, up against the likes of Little Mix, who… Read more →

ARIANA GRANDE – ‘Positions’ album review – Evening Standard, 30 Oct 2020

On her 2018 single, Thank U, Next, Ariana Grande’s past boyfriends were given a line each. The new one, high end LA estate agent Dalton Gomez, gets this entire album to himself. Positions is a loved-up wallow in every aspect of a newish serious relationship, from relaxed domesticity to worries about whether this one can really last, to extraordinary quantities… Read more →

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN – ‘Letter to You’ album review – Evening Standard, 23 Oct 2020

The American TV drama series This is Us has a neat concept: the story of a Pittsburgh family is told with constant jumps between time frames, the parents suddenly younger and the children parents themselves. It’s confusing at first, but soon the parellels become obvious – non-linear lives in which the big themes of love, death, family and friendship are… Read more →

BEYONCE – BLACK IS KING review – Evening Standard, 31 July 2020

If the public is tiring of Disney doggedly remaking all of its old animations in live action format, finally some original content is coming out of the project as well. In a remarkable feat of cross-pollination, Beyoncé has now made a companion film to the companion album that she recorded to accompany the Lion King remake.   The Lion King:… Read more →

TAYLOR SWIFT – FOLKLORE review – Evening Standard, 24 July 2020

In 2012, on her hit single We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, Taylor Swift expressed her disappointment in an ex-boyfriend for listening to “some indie record that’s much cooler than mine.” Now, with album number eight, she’s finally made a cool one of her own. Folklore, begun in April when she should have been preparing for massive concerts supporting… Read more →

JUSTIN BIEBER – Changes album review – Evening Standard, 14 Feb 2020

Justin Bieber Changes (Def Jam) 2** It’s obvious on first listen why Justin Bieber’s fifth album is arriving on February 14. From the red sleeve to the heart-eyed lyrics throughout, if these 16 songs were any more loved up they would form part of the M&S Valentine’s Day Dine In meal deal. Bieber, 25, married model Hailey Baldwin in 2018.… Read more →

20 ALBUMS OF THE DECADE – Evening Standard, 13 Dec 2019

As the decade closes, it’s obvious who the biggest acts were. Since the ready availability of YouTube and Spotify stream counts, this period has been awash with gargantuan statistics, principally generated by Ed Sheeran and Adele but with Taylor Swift, Drake and Ariana Grande also making up the big numbers. But what music was so good it will genuinely last?… Read more →

STORMZY ‘Heavy is the Head’ album review – Evening Standard, 13 Dec 2019

You can tell how big a deal Stormzy’s second album is not just by its timing – intent on using those size 12s to boot Robbie Williams, Harry Styles or Coldplay out of the Christmas number one spot – but by the power of the gathered horns that form the backing for the opening song, Big Michael. It’s a mighty… Read more →

BEST ALBUMS OF 2018 – Evening Standard, 12 Dec 2018

It’s all “mixtapes”, “playlists” and “projects” round here these days. Some musicians will do anything to avoid calling a collection of more than a dozen examples of their music an album. But rather than signalling the death of the form, as some have suggested, I reckon it means that they understand what a big deal it still is. The album… Read more →