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by PopMatters Staff

8 Feb 2016


Ian King: Coldplay were compelling back when Chris Martin was a middle class college student who wanted to be Jeff Buckley and sang nonsense about how making friends in wooden houses is easy. Somewhere after the last interesting gasps of Viva La Vida, the band seems to have outsourced all creative decision making to Max Martin and a panel of Coca-Cola executives. “I’m feeling drunk and high”? To think that X&Y seemed like a low point at the time. At least Martin can still hit those nice falsetto notes. The best way to honor the memory of what Coldplay used to be is to pretend you never saw this and go give Parachutes a spin instead. [2/10]

by PopMatters Staff

8 Feb 2016


Stephen Wyatt: The ghost of Otis Redding lurks in Leon Bridges’ “River” as the song opens, a haunting and visceral reflection on the pains of sin. Bridges laments, “Take me in your smooth waters / I go in / As a man with many cuts / As my sins flow down in the Jordan” as the chorus soars and the collection of voices echoing the ethos of negro spirituals. The song yields to Bridges’ voice and guitar, which exemplifies the power of stripped-down production and evades studio trickery. Heaven’s hymn spoken in a language often taken for granted by the throngs of contemporary R&B artists, Bridges resurrects the past in a language both refined and timeless. [10/10]

by PopMatters Staff

5 Feb 2016


Photo: Maria Mochnacz

Maria Schurr: As stellar of a song as this is, it also sounds like the first time that Harvey is repeating herself. It’s like a Let England Shake song with a change in location, married to the warped blues tone that Harvey’s so good at. Then again, Let England Shake was one of this century’s most powerful artistic achievements; even a retooling of it bodes well for the year in music and Harvey’s upcoming The Hope Six Demolition Project in particular. At the same time, it’s gritty enough to be something that will cause those who didn’t like Let England Shake to rave. Ultimately pretty damned satisfying. [8/10]

by PopMatters Staff

5 Feb 2016


Steve Horowitz: Smooth—the title “Honey” is a good one for this tasty track. Of course it is honey being poured over a naked lover; so sweet, so sticky. The skin so….  yeah, you know. Sometimes a kiss is just not enough. The passions run hotter. Real life is messier than this, but a little imagination can make real life better. [7/10]

by PopMatters Staff

5 Feb 2016


Timothy Gabriele: I’m guessing Pharrell’s major contribution is the beat, which is unspectacular, but this is a lyrical exercise anyway, a talent showcase. I usually don’t fall hard for these types of tracks unless the backing track is also pulling its weight. It can do so in a minimalist way (The Roots’ “Web” springs to mind), but I need something other than “Hey, this guy’s got a good flow.” A$AP Rocky is undeniably talented and has a number of rewind-worthy tracks, but this one’s a decent candidate for the dustbin. [4/10]

//Mixed media
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It's Okay to Ask for Help in 'The Witness'

// Moving Pixels

"Looking up a solution isn't a sin. The only sin is not understanding that solution when you do.

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