Wednesday, May 18, 2022

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Sound Check


Kurt CobainKurt Cobain
“Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings”

Here is possibly the worst thing that “The Home Recordings” does: It comes very, very close to making Kurt Cobain boring. Cobain was, as anyone who knew him or saw him live will attest, a fascinating individual. But all “The Home Recordings” — the musical companion piece to the HBO documentary “Montage of Heck” — has to offer are the absolute dregs of Cobain’s life. The simple fact is that there are no more hidden gems to be mined from Cobain’s musical career. All of the Nirvana tracks that are worth hearing are out there already, in better forms. So what “The Home Recordings” instead gives listeners are snippets of Cobain dicking around. There are a couple early demos of Nirvana songs, but everything else is so unformed and disconnected, there is absolutely no wonder why we have not heard it before now. CV

CeeLo GreenCeeLo Green
“Heart Blanche”

How much you like “Heart Blanche” will ultimately depend on what you choose to focus on. On the one hand, CeeLo Green remains a magnificent vocalist, with some of the best funk/pop sensibilities on the planet. Bearing all of that in mind, tracks like the poppy “Est. 1980s” serve as effective CeeLo delivery methods. On the other hand, if you spend too much time looking into subtext, a number of the songs fall flat. Lead single “Robin Williams” comes off as a cheaply ineffective salute to a number of departed comics (and Philip Seymour Hoffman), and “CeeLo Sings the Blues” is one of the most self-delusional tracks to come from someone not named Kanye in the past 10 years. But, again, all of it sounds amazing. Sometimes, that is enough. Not often, but sometimes. CV

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