ALBUMS OF THE WEEK: Pink Planet by Pink Sweat$, Super Monster by Claud, and Beth Lee’s Waiting On You Tonight

Beth Lee gets top billing today. Starting with the title cut, Waiting On You Tonight is one of those albums where every song is tightly crafted, well written, and expertly performed. That first song recalls Juliana Hatfield–but at her least grungy. It’s more of the vocal quality and that incessant riff of the rhythm guitar in the background. And then the album moves to a ’60s soul/country hybrid, Yale St and a 45. Then we slow down for the waltz-like, “Playing Along.” There’s even a little bit of garage rock/punk (“Pens and Needles”) and Patsy Cline-ish country (“Understand Me”). And straight up pop (“It Was Enough”).

It all that sounds a little random, it isn’t. The songs flow together well, and Beth Lee is the common denominator: A great vocalist who knows how to deliver, track by track, and never disappoints. The album is a gentle, genrebusting ride–a portrait of an artist at the top of her game.

Of the three albums I’m writing about today, Claud’s “Super Monster” is the obvious bridge. It’s got some great guitar work (subtle, but great).  The songs are well-crafted, but with bedroom-pop smoothness (versus the variety on Beth Lee’s album), and the album is a good listen all the way through (even if it is a little overstuffed, like Pink Planet, below).

Claud is an artist to watch.

Runner Up: I’m going to admit two things about my runner-up album of the week, Pink Planet by Pink Sweat$: (1) There’s no reason I should like this album; and (2) It does get more than a little redundant by the end. But having said that, if you want some silky, easy-on-the-years modern soul, it’s about as good as it gets. Just pick your favorite 10-12 songs on the album, and skip the rest. That’s a sad commentary on most albums these days, in fact. The days of spotify and singles-streaming have led to overstuffed albums, because the more cuts an artist has out there, the more likely someone will find one in a random mix.

Make sure you listen to the album’s second half, where it picks up speed. My personal favorite is “Pink Family,” a sing-and-dance-and-clap along cut that forces you to dance.

Overall, a good album for the right mood.

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