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Sound Check

11/5/2014

Taylor SwiftTaylor Swift

“1989”

Big Machine

With “1989” there is, finally, no doubt about where Taylor Swift’s future lay. The soon-to-be 25-year-old got her start in country but has been slowly phasing those influences out of her music with each successive release, and “1989” is her first full-throated pop album. Swift is a good singer; anyone who says otherwise is allowing their disdain for all things young and popular to blind them. But she’s yet to release anything that really has any meat to it. Opening track “Welcome to New York” is a saccharine-sweet fellating of America’s most narcissistic city that feels like little more than a white-girl aping of Jay-Z’s “New York State of Mind.” Even the album’s first single “Shake it Off” comes off as a bit too earnest, rather than truly being the “fuck ‘em all” anthem it’s intended to be. CV

Jerry Lee LewisJerry Lee Lewis

HIV

“Rock & Roll Time”

Vanguard

Jerry Lee Lewis is 79 years old and arguably a better musician than he is a human being. But as one of the original voices of rock ’n’ roll, he’s always going to be afforded a platform from which to speak. Thankfully, “Rock & Roll Time,” Lewis’ first album in nearly five years, is also one of the most personal albums the rocker has ever released. There’s not an original song on the entire album — he covers everyone from Bob Dylan to Johnny Cash to Kris Kristofferson to Skynyrd — but Lewis reinvents each song and makes them indelibly his own. Despite the album’s title, “Rock & Roll Time” is really more of a reminder that Lewis has a 60-year relationship with the country music charts, as every track on the album is buoyed by Lewis’ comfortable twang. His voice carries none of the glint and fire of his younger days but instead is warm and deep, slathering each song in an endlessly listenable, down home drawl. CV

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