Alicia Keys, Bon Jovi, Jim James & Common Lead Best Albums Of The Week
Thu, 03 Nov 2016 13:11:41
It's been a solid week for album releases - with urban artists like Alicia Keys and Common displaying the highest aspirations of their genre, and with legacy rock bands like Bon Jovi expressing the value of their roots. Jim James reps his people well and the indie spirit dreams about as high as shoegaze can ever perceive with an issue from the legendary Hope Sandoval.
Alicia Keys - "Here" - RCA Records
Alicia Keys has not been silent since the release of her last album Girl on Fire back in 2012, but fans will be pleased that she has returned with a collection of tunes that are as strong, if not stronger than anything we've heard from the artist. With a no-makeup campaign and a heartening approach to simply delivering the real deal, Alicia Keys leads herself and others into a place of experimentation, breaks from convention and contrasting tracks. Her single "Blended Family (What You Do for Love)", which features A$AP Rocky, is a classic example of the singer at her best.
Bon Jovi - "This House Is Not For Sale" - Island Records
Bon Jovi burst forth with their 13th full length studio album. The unapologetic, uncompromising album. "This House Is Not For Sale", sounds like a band eager to make a solid first impression, not capitalize on a history that has seen sales of 130 Million albums worldwide. Strong, sassy and as spirited as ever, Jon Bon Jovi and the lads from New Jersey returned to the studio where they recorded their first album to capture the spirit of the band today. In doing so they offer a portrait of uncompromising rock ‘n' roll that celebrates people, places and the genre from which the band emerged. Check out our interview with Bon Jovi.
Common - "Black America Again" - Def Jam
Uncompromising, solid and a call to cause, the new album, Black America Again, from Common absolutely cements the importance of the rapper. Social and personal issues are balanced with the ability of a true master and guest spots are shared by legendary Stevie Wonder on the title track. John Legend, Tasha Cobbs, BJ The Chicago Kid and Marsha Ambrosius and PJ turn up at various other points in an album that's surely set to be shortlisted amongst the year's best.
Jim James - "Eternally Even" - Capitol Records
The primary songwriter of My Morning Jacket issues another album from his catalog of solo ventures. The collection of material here shows why fans of James continue to champion his ability to craft a song. Taken from older jam sessions these new tracks were given shape, and new purpose with a vision of cohesion and easy access melody that will win new fans and please the die hards. The direction of Jim James remains on track and his momentum doesn't appear to be slowing any time soon.
Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions - "Until The Hunter"
Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions return with the third album in their cannon. Lead single "Let Me Get There" features Kurt Vile, and is a fair representation of the album's tone and ability. There may be few surprises, and few sonic challenges - but what Sandoval et al achieve here is a solid album of tunes that play well in sequence, but that can be extracted as individual elements to show why slow and steady will win the race. Her vocal abilities remain distinct and unchallenged at hitting the most atmospheric measure, and her ability to build an instrumental phrase hasn't been bettered by anything beyond these tunes.
Download Alicia Keys - "Here" from iTunes
Download Bon Jovi - "This House Is Not For Sale" from iTunes
Download Common - "Black America Again" from iTunes
Download Jim James "Eternally Even" from iTunes
Download Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions - "Until The Hunter" on iTunes
—The ARTISTdirect Staff