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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]

by Sarah Zupko

14 Feb 2017


Moby and the Void Pacific Choir have a new single just in time for Valentine’s Day. “A Simple Love” is Moby’s ode to the love of animals and the desire to protect and care for them. “A Simple Love” is a catchy, rousing song that owes a great debt to early ‘80s British new wave.

by PopMatters Staff

14 Feb 2017


Adriane Pontecorvo: Layered with Peter Pan references, surreal puppet side characters, and marvelous guest vocalists, “Same Drugs” is a masterpiece about growing up and growing apart. Chance the Rapper crafts a warm, soulful ballad about resisting life’s changes even as loved ones give in. His video, filtered to look like a vintage episode of The Muppets, tells the story even as he sings it: he starts out wrapped up in a childlike fantasy, and finally gets up and leaves it all behind, walking into darker, colder reality. This is a tender ode to the inevitable, artful and bittersweet. [10/10]

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