Depeche Mode, Spoon & Pitbull Lead The Albums Of The Week - March 17
Thu, 16 Mar 2017 15:03:10
Classic artists line the airwaves in this week of album releases. Depeche Mode and Conor Oberst are dropping eagerly awaited albums and in doing so have fuelled speculation of SXSW performances. Spoon are back, they're big and they're loud, while Real Estate and Pitbull please their fanbases with the kind of releases that remind why they're MVPs in their genre.
So, without further ado, and with deep bows to those we don't have time to mention, here are ARTISTdirect's albums of the week:
Depeche Mode — "Spirit" — Columbia Records
Depeche Mode return with the most politically charged album of their career. Renowned for pouring synth innovations over doom and gloom with elements of sex and and a kind of wanderlust, here the band have brought almost all their focus in on the current political climate. There's confusion, conflict and concern — and the instrumental passages are as stirring as the lyrical content that moves as far Left as possible, ultimately crying out "Where's the Revolution?" This is dark stuff — but as always there are moments of light and fans will be pleased to hear some of the more stadium-minded elements like "So Much Love", "No More (This Is the Last Time)", and "Cover Me", which are the poppier, most easily digested tunes on offer.
Spoon — "Hot Thoughts" — Matador Records
Spoon's ninth studio album is a collection of tunes that further cements the quality of the band. There's a rock bite to the passages of disco, and disco breaks to the foundation of rock — nothing ever really deviates from the strutting shape of the band that first set out on this path, but that's kind of the magic here. Lyrics toy around subjects, like the nuanced and somewhat sexy title, but instrumentation is set on dance, and "Hot Thoughts" is a roundly successful album that does what the band intended — it entertains, it shifts enough weight to remain intriguing in parts, and it demands replay.
Conor Oberst — "Salutations" — Nonesuch Records
Oberst, the balladeer, is back with a collection of songs that continue a body of work that add weight of evidence to his lyrical prowess. A companion piece to last years Ruminations, this album is a broader, more lush sounding release. Recent weeks have seen the release of videos from the album that show all the wit and range of the man as a solo performer — the kind of video that we so enjoyed from Bright Eyes on "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning" when stories were told and subtle nods to former versions of self were shared. Oberst, here, is friendlier than he's been in some time — and it's refreshing to see the writer in a good place, reminding us of his ability with the pen.
Real Estate — "In Mind" — Domino Recording Company
Real Estate return with a crisp, neatly tucked-in album that brings efficient angles to their guitar based pop. Elements of gentle psychedelia wash over the album, so many passages create notions of things, rather than complete ideas. The senses are toyed with, and we leave with many more questions than answers, and it's a heady, pleasing result. What Real Estate have always done well, they explore very well here. Tracks like "Darling" and "Two Arrows" are touching as they are infectious, serving as reminders to the hearts that beat in all of us, even those who may not always agree. It's a warm, mature album, and one of the most interesting issues of the season.
Pitbull — "Climate Change" — Mr 305inc
When listening to Pitbull is there anything else you could ask for beyond the sense of gaining entry to the kind of party to which you'd usually be denied access? Well, here we go again on a collection of tracks that delivers what Pitbull always delivers. This time, one of the biggest-selling singles artists of Latin America brings in a bunch of pals — Robin Thicke, Joe Perry, Travis Barker — all these old-time club attendees rallying to pour the fizz, dance on the off beats and celebrate the kind of aspirational lifestyle that they've always dreamt of. A high point of the process is "Freedom" which tweaks the Soup Dragons' rave-pop hit "I'm Free" and will most definitely make you smile.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff