Thursday, January 20, 2022

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Sound Check


cd Lady GagaLady Gaga



As she says in “Artpop’s” debut single, Lada Gaga lives for the applause. She’s a phenomenally talented artist and a truly top-notch product of her time. But when you are the great hype-machine’s hype-iest piece of hype, it can be really easy to lose sight of, well, anything else. So while “Artpop” is really fun and really great club music, there’s not much else there. This might seem like faint criticism in the face of someone whose previous hits aren’t exactly lauded for their emotional depth, but Lady Gaga has always hinted at the possibility of more, without actually delivering. “Swine” is the best track on the album because it’s the most adventurous, but “Sexxx Dreams” and “Fashion!” are by-the-numbers pop yawners. High-minded talk of revolutionizing pop aside, “Artpop” is perfectly acceptable pre-club prefunk background music, packaged as what passes for social commentary these days. CV



cd Sweet Hoffs Covers 3Susanna Hoffs and Matthew Sweet

“Under the Covers, Vol. 3”

Shout! Factory

After covering the ‘60s and ‘70s with the first two volumes, Hoffs and Sweet tread some very familiar ground in the third “Covers” album. Hoffs made her name in the ‘80s by fronting The Bangles, and Sweet’s first album would follow in 1986. And while the aesthetic of the album remains true to the series, the songs on volume 3 can’t help but sound a little more intimate. The conscious decision was made to leave The Bangles off the track list, but what did make the cut — everything from REM to The Go-Go’s to Echo and the Bunnymen — is given a heartfelt tribute. Hoffs’ voice has always been one of the most underrated to come out of the ‘80s, and it hasn’t diminished with the passing of time. She’s in her element on this album and is worth the price of admission all on her own. CV

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