ALBUMS OF THE WEEK: Mellow Edition

I’m gong to pop through several 2020 albums that are smooth (but not always sad). Actually, they’re so smooth they’re slippery–they seem to pass through so quickly, I can’t get a feel for whether they’re just good, or if they’re truly great. But they’re good. No doubt about it. These are some tasty albums. And the other thing they have in common is that music sources I respect have rated them highly, several putting them on their “Best of 2020” midyear lists.

Let me know what you all think in the comments!

First, the one I’ve been listening to the most: Frazey Ford’s U Kin B The Sun. Frazey is a former member of the Be Good Tanyas, and she’s got an extraordinary voice. The music moves gently between Americana and acoustic funk–like the best ’70s R and B (think Al Green with Merle Saunders on keyboard). Of all the albums I’m reviewing today, I find this one the most fascinating. I keep going back to it, and every time I find new sounds buried under hypnotic and seductive vocals.

Yeah, this one is great. I’m confident about that.

Moving from hipsway to country, Steve Earle and the Dukes have come out with a full album about West Virginia coalmining–perhaps in response to Trump’s claims that he would rejuvenate the region so much we’d be sick of winning.

The songs here are traditional and feel as old as the Rockies themselves. This is Earle’s best work in years.

Perfume Genius rounds out this list. “Set My Heart On Fire Immediately” is a very hard album to hold on to. It is easily the most universally beloved album I’m writing about today and if you haven’t heard of it, you don’t read music sites.

There’s no doubt that this is a brilliant record–but my problem with art pop is I never find myself in the mood to put it on for a listen. I think it may be different with this one, but I”m still not sure.

Still, I’ve been through it three times already, so clearly it’s resonating in a major way.

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