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Dec 15, 2017







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Maroon 5, Red Pill Blues (Interscope Records)

With 15 years in the books and five albums to show for it, this L.A. band is at their Some Girls stage of detachment from the little people, in other words all they need to know is that a cultural epiphany exists and they’ll appropriate it without knowing what it really means, the same way the Stones jumped on the disco bandwagon, a move that would have ended their careers right then and there if they weren’t so widely beloved. Maroon 5 isn’t, though, and their misunderstanding of the alt-light scare-tactic buzzword in this album title has YouTube’s comedy space in an uproar. It’s hard to describe the songs using a lot of nice words, but we’ll proceed: “Best 4 You” finds the space between overproduced neo-deep-house and Sting and makes a soft enough landing; “Denim Jacket” is their bread-and-butter Coldplay nicking; “Bet My Heart” is vanilla Kendrick-ness. The use of Snapchat filters on their faces doesn’t help their cred, even if it’s, you know, cute. D — Eric W. Saeger




Robert Plant, Carry Fire (Sub Pop Records)
CD Reviews: 11/16/17

11/16/17
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



Robert Plant, Carry Fire (Sub Pop Records)

As I recall, when last we left the former Led Zeppelin singer, I was bitching about something to do with his stealing tunes from 1920s cigar-box bands. It bugged me (and many other people) that he was still getting away with the same sort of larceny his old band had made into a brand back in the ’70s, thinking they were going to get away with ripping off song after song, from “Stairway to Heaven” on down. I suppose we can just let it go at this point, what with statutes of limitations and all, and lest we forget, Plant’s solo output in the 1980s boasted the best beach vibe in history. That’s what “The May Queen” is, to a limited extent, if a more unplugged, folksy version, a smooth but husky Zeppelin III-ish jangle-fest with a sneaky, irresistible hook. But then it’s on to Phil Spector Wall of Sound vibes in such things as the Cardinals-style alt-country tip “New World” and the mopey “Dance With You Tonight” (which ends with a meta nod to the coda of “Battle of Evermore”). Nothing much to love here, but at least it’s not a microwaving of Al Jolson or something, not that I shouldn’t reserve space for it. If it matters, his backing band The Space Shifters added viola/fiddle player Seth Lakeman for this, as well as guest cellist Redi Hasa for temporary depth. B- — Eric W. Saeger





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