Saturday, November 27, 2021

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Sound Check


cd Icona PopIcona Pop

“This is…Icona Pop”

TEN/Big Beat

Icona Pop is intriguing, because it’s a band that seemed to have more potential than might first be evident. Take, for example, its now ubiquitous hit, “I Love It”: Replace the synth beats with a guitar, and put that song in the hands of, say, Bikini Kill, and it’s the next great pop-punk anthem. And, while the rest of the album proves that the breakout single was a serendipitous one-off, “This is…” is certainly not the worst thing to come out this year. The album is coated in the saccharine-sweet gloss of violently vocalized Sisterhood. It’s “Girl Power” writ large. The only other place on the album where it really, truly works, though, is “My Girlfriend,” where the Scandinavian duo take Tupac’s thuggish classic “Me and My Girlfriend,” have a unicorn barf all over it, then pull out the bits they like best. CV


Prep Iowa

cd Elton JohnElton John

“Diving Board”


Remember when Elton John was at the top of his game? I’m talking about the “Madman Across the Water”/“Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” days. Even if he was never quite the most influential musician of the ’70s, he was certainly in the photo. Then he became Captain Fantastic and started chasing one pop whim after another, becoming the biggest act in the world, but losing a little truth and soul in the process. Well, it can be happily reported that Elton John, circa 1974, is once again alive and well. “Diving Board” is nothing short of triumphant and is easily John’s strongest studio work in nearly four decades. “Oscar Wilde Gets Out” and “Take This Dirty Water” are the most impressive tracks on the album, but the entire thing is a musical rebirth that demands attention. CV

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