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by PopMatters Staff

16 Feb 2017


Photo: Alysse Gafkjen

Steve Horowitz: The myth of the American West as the wild place where one proves oneself will never die as long as artists as great as Marty Stuart use it as the settings for their personal journeys. Stuart’s a damn good story teller with a crack band that makes one feel baked by the sun and driven wind by the way in which they bend their notes and twist their tempos. Stuart tells us about the danger of pills being worse than the actual dangers one faces in life by singing low and sincere. He may be proffering tall tales more than preaching, but the moral of his stories are clear. Going out west is just a metaphor for finding yourself. It may be easy to get lost because ironically one is already there. [7/10]

by Sarah Zupko

16 Feb 2017


Folk popper Katie Herzig has released a new single and video celebrating love, diversity, and the Women’s March that took place in January. Herzig marched with some 15,000 people in Nashville on that day and filmed and photographed much of the proceedings. It’s those images that populate the rousing video for “I Want to Make You Proud”, a larger than life song that could be another anthem for the resurgent women’s rights movement. It’s also a damn catchy song with hooks galore and appealing synthpop walls of sound.

by PopMatters Staff

15 Feb 2017


Jordan Penney: I like Lady Gaga for many reasons, among them her skill for conceiving, developing, and performing melodies, for her unselfconscious sincerity, a rare attribute most (but not only) conspicuous in her solo and acoustic performances. I also like her predilection for inspired weirdness and “John Wayne” belongs firmly in this category. Like “Million Reasons”, the song is elevated by a simple sonorous hook powerfully delivered by Gaga and reflects the kind of crafty experiments with pop, country, rock, and dance music that is by now a hallmark of her style. It’s the song’s finer details and video that combine for an off-kilter effect. The mix is dominated by the apparent influence of collaborator Josh Homme, a metal/hard rock titan in his own right, with twitchy guitar (or guitar synth) riffs, odd vocal effects, beginning with a brief spoken word ramble and rushing through its barely two-and-a-half minute runtime. The video is all saturated color, motion, and quick edits, part Death Proof, part two-fisted tribute to Wendy O. Williams, not subtle but perfectly apt. Gaga going for sensory overload above all else. [7/10]

by PopMatters Staff

15 Feb 2017


Adriane Pontecorvo: After last year’s beautiful, tormented single “Keep Your Name”, David Longstreth gives us a more uplifting cut from the Dirty Projectors album on its way later this month. Upbeat as it is, there’s nothing easy listening about “Cool Your Heart”, much to Longstreth’s credit. The production on this track shows painstaking attention to detail, each tropical beat and horn blast placed with care and consideration to balance out shining keys and the vocalists. D∆WN sounds as smooth and rich as she ever has, and Longstreth brings his ever-sincere emotion to the table. It’s that genius percussion break right in the middle that keeps things moving, though, completing a memorable frenzy. [9/10]

by PopMatters Staff

15 Feb 2017


Photo: Becky Fluke

Steve Horowitz: This song and video give one a warm feeling inside. Lambert’s friendliness extends to all: young, old, different races, the opposite sex, etc. A beauty shop treatment and a cold drink make one feel good. It’s cheap therapy! Who could argue with that. Lambert uses bouncy musical rhythms, no heavy statements and a couple of sly winks about her bad reputation to show that life itself is worthwhile if one can just kick back and enjoy it with a couple of like-minded friends. [8/10]

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