NARAS’s manifesto says the Academy will choose Record of the Year based on artistry alone, “without regard to sales or chart position.”
Eminem’s shock value has softened by dint of familiarity, but The Marshall Mathers LP 2 still features tantalizing moments of vintage performance.
Relaxed but never lazy, Wise Up Ghost is a groove-driven album that pops with attitude.
The Electric Lady is a lengthy but never boring tribute to bounce and grind.
The album pits Knopfler’s guitar against a seafaring rabble of strings, flutes, and the occasional pennywhistle, and the result is far more fun than this arrangement might suggest.
Didn’t It Rain is filled with straight-faced American blues with a tilt toward the Crescent City.
The two-disc Rhythm & Blues would work if both halves of the album weren’t each encrusted with the same indistinguishable cheese.
Don’t Look Down is a vaguely hip-hop-inflected homage to ‘90s pop, not so much uninteresting as underwhelming.
Behind the curtain, a very rich and talented man is grasping hard for something new to say.
Cole’s palpable sense of responsibility is matched by his slick but convincing critiques of hip-hop’s culture of conspicuous consumption.
Watching Dirty Projectors open for the National is both annoying and edifying.
Adrian Younge Presents Twelve Reasons to Die recounts the spaghetti-western origin myth of Ghostface’s longtime alter ego Tony Starks.
Volume 3 is a disappointment in its near-fundamentalist adherence to its own script.
LL Cool J’s Authentic offers plenty of lyrical pleasures across 12 rather dense tracks.
Prisoner of Conscious is a volley of rhymes that run from word association to extended polemics.
Little French Songs is a modestly scaled disc from an otherwise larger-than-life celebrity.
Except Sometimes is a strange little collection of jazz semi-standards with a strong tilt toward Broadway.
Lay a few James Brown records on that drummer and call me in the morning.
Peyroux remains such a beguiling singer that it’s hard to care if her albums often sound the same.