Incoming: new music! Better yet, new music that is worth your time.
Royce Da 5’9” – The Allegory – 22 tracks / 68 minutes
Royce’s follow-up to Book of Ryan finds the Detroit MC and friend of Em & Dre continuing to kick ass and take names.
There is a lot going on in Royce’s latest effort, but amid the bravado and gangsterisms the underlying theme of this lyrical allegory is that artists (and the rest of us, for that matter) need to be true to themselves and their work, always remembering that outside influences are not only unnecessary but destructive. His rant against the corruption of the music industry (“Tricked”) sums it up as directly as anything here, but the virtue in avoidance of giving up power to others is prevalent.
For the life of me I don’t understand how this MC continues to be so underrated. Whether he is raging against “radio/Viacom” singles, the president’s disturbing comments about his own daughter, or America’s problem with treatment of women, he has interesting things to say. When I hear most popular rap today I don’t hear anything this compelling.
The guest spots are not too many nor too few, and nearly all pure fire. Guess what I’m trying to say is that if you’re a hip-hop fan you best give this a listen, his insistence in connecting vaccinations to autism be damned. I had several passages that I wanted to include on this review but decided that out of context coming from me they’d fall flat – so check these tracks out in particular: “I Don’t Age”, “Pendulum”, “Thou Shall” (with its absolutely perfect production), “FUBU”, “Upside Down”, and the aforementioned “Tricked”.
Key Tracks: “Thou Shall”, “FUBU”, “Upside Down”
Spotify album link: https://open.spotify.com/album/2P4JUAM3zRS3V07tpX55CU?si=sI2x4AtkRYyymJ1B3hV3FQ
Ozzy Osbourne – Ordinary Man
The Prince of Darkness is back with his first studio effort in ten years, and much like his live performance I caught in 2018, he still sounds like Ozzy. At 71 some would say he is too old to be carrying on with this persona (but still too young to be president*, heh). The Ozz Man don’t care what you think, and although there is little here that will truly add to his legacy, he does come at it with full energy and conviction.
Guest spots from Elton John (on the title track) and (inexplicably) Post Malone on the final two songs were unexpected, to say the least. The worthwhile tracks here are “All My Life” and “Under the Graveyard”, since you asked.
*Yes, I’m aware that John Osbourne was not born in America…
Sonny Landreth – Blacktop Run
Throughout the good and bad on this album, the blues provides the backdrop. My favorite selections are the hopeful and shiny title track, the funky “Groovy Goddess”, and “Don’t Ask Me”.
Cate Le Bon & Group Listening – Here It Comes Again (EP)
Mostly instrumental piano tunes that make me long for another Cate solo record.