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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released January 22, 2021 | Capitol Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released January 21, 2021 | Capitol Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released January 21, 2021 | Capitol Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released January 21, 2021 | Capitol Records

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Pop - Released January 8, 2021 | Capitol Records

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Arriving on the heels of the much-celebrated 2020 documentary How Can You Mend a Broken Heart—a warm-hearted look back on the career of the Bee Gees and, more specifically, the Gibb brothers—this duets album has a lot to live up to. The end results, however, are hit or miss, as Barry Gibb (the only surviving brother) teams up with a slew of country artists on the group's biggest songs. Highlights include "Too Much Heaven," which pushes the right buttons from those first bars of easy listening perfection. With Alison Krauss taking Barry's higher melody part, there's a balance and easy trade-off that brings to mind Barry's best duets with Barbra Streisand. Keith Urban, smooth and sweet, sounds like the lost Gibb brother on one of the Bee Gees' earliest hits, "I've Gotta Get a Message to You." And Rival Sons' frontman Jay Buchanan brings a true-blue soulfulness to "To Love Somebody"— but ends up overshadowing Barry. Age wears well on some voices. But when the voice was heaven-sent falsetto perfection to begin with, time is a heartbreaker. Which makes "Words," Barry's duet with Dolly Parton—herself a high-in-the-clouds songbird in her younger years, including when she and Kenny Rogers had a hit with the Barry-penned "Islands in the Stream"—a humbling, bittersweet listen. The same goes for "Rest Your Love On Me," with Olivia Newton-John. But there are bright spots where Barry fits in comfortably, including a twangy take on "Words of a Fool" with Jason Isbell and "How Deep Is Your Love," which finds him hitting the high notes and embraced by Little Big Town's butter-rich harmonies. The majestic "Run to Me" starts with Barry sounding top-notch as Brandi Carlile—her honeyed croon as excellent as ever—joins in for Robin Gibb's gilded part on the chorus. When she jumps up a register or two on lines like "And when you've got nothing to lose," it's chill-inducing and Bee Gees-worthy. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz
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Pop - Released January 8, 2021 | Capitol Records

Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers' Songbook, Vol. 1 may be a bit of a departure for Barry Gibb, who spent his career exploring the byways of pop music as a member of the Bee Gees, but it fits into a long line of albums where a pop star revisits his catalog through the prism of country music. Assisting Gibb in this journey is Dave Cobb, one of the premier producers in Nashville in the 2010s. Cobb's strength as a producer is helping an artist articulate their essence, a trick he pulls off again on Greenfields by keeping the focus directly on the song. Nothing here is too lavish, the star cameos can sometimes draw the focus away from Gibb himself -- Dolly Parton dominates "Words," Jason Isbell grounds "Words of a Fool" -- yet that only directs attention to how sturdy and enduring the songbook he crafted with his brothers is. While this also means Greenfields doesn't provide any surprises or revelations, the album's mellow vibe is engaging enough for that not to matter. This is a relaxed, generous affair, an album where the featured star and his guests defer not just to each other but to the songs they are singing. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released December 23, 2020 | Capitol Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released December 23, 2020 | Capitol Records

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Rock - Released December 18, 2020 | Capitol Records

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At crucial moments in his epic career, Paul McCartney has turned to a self-titled solo record as an emotional palette cleanser. In 1970 as the Beatles were in the throes of dissolution, he made the shambolic, rough-hewed McCartney (on the back cover was a shot of his infant daughter Mary nestled in his coat—her photography is now part of the McCartney III packaging). Ten years later as Wings was crashing back to earth, he made the synth-driven McCartney II. Both were initially savaged by press and fans alike but have since become much-beloved entries in his ever-lengthening discography, now seen as more personal and experimental efforts in a solo career that has often been commercially focused to a fault. While the scenario of a 78-year-old Paul McCartney locked up by the pandemic in his Sussex home with a computer, a plethora of musical instruments and a desire to do the one-man band thing screams incoming indulgence, McCartney III is certainly that, but in a good way. The stylistic freedom inherent in being isolated and alone is a welcome antidote to his legendary sense of what sells. Macca's best album since 2007's Memory Almost Full, the variety of McCartney III is its strongest point. For those still looking for wisps of Beatlesque genius, "Lavatory Lil"—whose title recalls "Polythene Pam"—is exuberance that very nearly tips from sass into offensive ire. And if it's the White Album you're missing, "The Kiss of Venus," sung in his fading yet still capable falsetto, recalls his former band's devotion to baroque pop as it makes its spidery way, eventually adding harpsichord accents. For the sound of Sir Paul cutting loose and rocking out with abandon, the ponderous proto-metal sendup of "Slidin'" is the sound of the shrieker of "Helter Skelter" again getting his ya-yas out with, "I know there must be other ways of feeling free, but this what I want to do, who I want to be." As for intimacy, the unprocessed sound of McCartney's now weathered voice, sounds wise and ruminative in "Pretty Boys," singing lines about "bicycles for hire" and "working for the squire." The crisp, mostly uncompressed sonics here prove that Sir Paul's ears have lost none of their acuity as the slow, careful home recording process challenged him to limit excessive layering and to capture his voice, warts and all, in a natural way. On the looped beat and repetitive lyrics of the oddly attractive R&Bish groove of "Deep Down," he even goes hoarse and talky. Finally, the album's sleek and rolling centerpiece, "Deep Deep Feeling," which wrestles with the sweet and sour aspects of love, is built on acoustic piano and an impressive fusion of lead and background vocals. While the album's opener "Long Tailed Winter Bird" and closer "Winter Bird / When Winter Comes" could be taken as signs that McCartney intends to flutter off the scene, the vital energies audible in McCartney III say otherwise. © Robert Baird/Qobuz
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Rock - Released December 18, 2020 | Capitol Records

Paul McCartney faced the COVID-19 lockdown of 2020 like he faced so many other unexpected challenges in his life: he set out to make music on his own. The title of McCartney III positions it as a direct sequel to 1970's McCartney and 1980's McCartney II, albums he made in the wake of the respective dissolutions of the Beatles and Wings, a sentiment that rings true in some ways but not in others. Certainly, the one-man-band approach unites all three albums, as does their arrival at the dawn of a new decade, yet McCartney III doesn't contain a clear undercurrent of Paul processing change in the wake of loss. He doesn't spend the record trying to "Find My Way," as he puts it on the album's second song, but rather simply existing, drawing evident pleasure from the process of writing and recording new music. This also means McCartney III doesn't quite have the shock of the new the way that the homespun McCartney and synth-laden McCartney II do; he's not attempting new forms or ideas, instead returning to themes that have served him well over the years, whether they're plucked acoustic ditties, plaintive piano ballads, or stomping rockers. Execution makes a big difference, though. Where 2018's Egypt Station was designed with the charts specifically in mind -- Paul went so far as to hire producers Greg Kurstin and Ryan Tedder for the record, hoping they'd give him a modern sheen -- McCartney III is constructed at a modest scale, the arrangements so uncluttered that it's easy to hear the years on McCartney's voice. Maybe he can't hit the high notes he way he used to, maybe he sounds a bit weathered, but the change in his singing has a profoundly humanizing effect, especially when heard in conjunction with his distinctive drumming and fuzzed-out guitars. Within these contours, it's possible to trace the distance between the three McCartney albums. Despite these signs of age, McCartney III isn't an album about mortality, it's about finding sustenance in rough times. McCartney nods to sadness and loneliness on "Deep Deep Feeling" and conjures a fleeting sense of wistfulness on "Pretty Boys," then balances these moments of sadness with the sweet "The Kiss of Venus," the sugar-coated rallying call "Seize the Day," and the vulgar jabs of "Lavatory Lil." Individually, these moments may not seem particularly eccentric, yet when they're collected as an album, they add up to a charmingly off-kilter record, an album that benefits from its modest origins and McCartney's willingness to not polish too many of his rough edges. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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World - Released December 18, 2020 | Capitol Records

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World - Released December 18, 2020 | Capitol Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 11, 2020 | Capitol Records

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Ambient/New Age - Released December 10, 2020 | Capitol Records

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Ambient/New Age - Released December 10, 2020 | Capitol Records

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Film Soundtracks - Released December 4, 2020 | Capitol Records

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Rock - Released December 4, 2020 | Capitol Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released December 4, 2020 | Capitol Records

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Film Soundtracks - Released December 4, 2020 | Capitol Records

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Film Soundtracks - Released December 4, 2020 | Capitol Records

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Capitol Records in the magazine
  • Katy Perry - If it ain't broke don't fix it
    Katy Perry - If it ain't broke don't fix it It comes as no great surprise that Smile, Katy Perry’s fifth album, doesn’t buck the trend of her previous work, which has been at the heart of the American pop scene for the last ten years.