Album review overview 2023 week 46

Photo (c) Jorge Fakhouri Filho

Dozens of new albums arrive at Maxazine’s editorial staff every week. Way too many to listen to them all, let alone review them. It ensures that too many albums are left behind. And that’s a shame. That is why today we post an overview of albums that arrive at the editors in short reviews.

Billy Porter – Black Mona Lisa

Billy Porter is best known to the general public for his role as Lola in the musical “Kinky Boots'”, for which he rightly received a Tony Award. That will certainly change with this truly phenomenally good album. Porter rivals Bruno Mars with “Black Mona Lisa”. He might even knock him off the dancing throne. Listen to the rock-solid production. The music is real, no protools, people play this. There isn’t a single weak song on this album. It’s dancing until you drop, there’s nothing you can do about it. “Black Mona Lisa”, “Stranger Things” on which Porter gives a showcase of his capabilities as a singer and the extraordinarily good duet with Lady Blackbird “Children (what time it is)” are the undisputed highlights of this album. A great idea for a Christmas gift this! (Jan Vranken) (9/10) (Universal)

The McDades – The Winter Collection

The McDades are a Canadian band formed by the McDade family, originally from Edmonton, Alberta. Formed in the early 2000s, the group is known for their unique blend of Celtic, folk and world music. Shannon Johnson, Solon McDade and Jeremiah McDade form the core of the band, with roots going back to their Irish and Scottish heritage that they try to convey on “The Winter Collection”. The album opens with their “Dreaming On A Yuletide Night”, which immediately gives you the best song on the CD. Also nice is their version of the famous “The Little Drummer Boy” in a world music version. For fans of Celtic folk, this is a refreshing album for Christmas. (Norman van den Wildenberg) (6/10) (Free Radio Records)

Andre 3000 – New Blue Sun

After more than 15 years of absence, André 3000 returns with a new album. He still collaborated with other artists, such as recently on the Killer Mike album. Now their own new album, entitled “New Blue Sun”. The album is an instrumental record dominated by flutes and digital wind instruments. The opening track, “I Swear, I really wanted to make a ‘Rap’ Album but This Is Literally the Way the Wind Blew Me This Time,” is a reference to the surprising direction the album has taken. André 3000 has said that he is inspired by artists such as Laraaji, Brian Eno, Alice Coltrane, Steve Reich and Pharoah Sanders. An ayahuasca trip during which he turned into a panther also played a role in the creation of the album. (Jan Vranken) (7/10) (Epic Records)

DJ Masquerade – Christmas Latin Dance Party Volume 2

Okay, we are aware that there are Latin dance enthusiasts who also celebrate Christmas. Especially in South America, where Christmas is an important celebration. But the mix of Christmas music and Latin dance is so illogical, even after listening to Dj Masquerade’s second edition of his “Christmas Latin Dance Party” 3 times. Apparently we missed part one, but we are not very sad about that. Simple dance tunes that will certainly do well in the clubs, but with a Christmas bell incorporated in some songs here and there. Perhaps the lyrics are about The Christmas Angel or tell the story of Mary and Jesus, but in fact there is no coherence between Christmas and the simple Latin dance. Had the album been called “Summer Latin Dance Party” and released in July, it would have been appropriate. For now, it looks like a cheap marketing ploy to cash in on the success of Christmas albums. Completely missed the point. (Norman van den Wildenberg) (3/10) (J & N Records)

Temic – Terror Management Theory

The new melodic prog-metal band Temic consists of acquaintances: Fredrik Bergersen, Eric Gillette, Simen Sandnes, and Diego Tejeida. Their debut album is called: “Terror Management Theory”. Besides a few rests, there are plenty of twists, details and changes of styles in the music. Not all twists and outros are sublime. The contrasts between the subdued parts and the metal parts could have been greater in terms of volume, the contrast between low and high is also quite small. This makes the tracks less alive. The sound of the cymbals is a bit chilly. Pros: Fredrik regularly touches me with his voice. The (layered) vocals and the music are in balance. There is a lot of cool guitar playing, the bass and guitars often sound nice and heavy. The drumming is dynamic. The keys sometimes come to the foreground. There are various (industrial) sound effects. The closing song ‘Mothallah’ is surprising because of the choir singing and the special ending. (Esther Tamerus-Kessel) (7/10) (Season of Mist)

Palehorse – Hunting Grounds

Metal with an apocalyptic look at our current civilization. Someday it won’t be like that. Ten new tracks from that metal band that takes an example from bands like Nuclear Assault and Anthrax. The mix is, for the genre, kept nice and light with lots of cutting guitars and less pounding bass. “Skeleton Shuteye” is special and striking, with cool unison riffs and therefore the best album on this well-sung album. Good to do this. Nice for Christmas. (Jan Vranken) (7/10) (Indie Records)

Olga Tañon – Tañon Con Mas Power

Olga is a singer/songwriter from Puerto Rico who has even won two Grammy Awards in her career. She certainly won’t repeat that for this album. This album is just not good. It really isn’t. Production-wise it doesn’t sound like anything, it looks like a demo made by that keyboardist on TikTok who plays “Another Brick in the Wall” on an organ at a wedding. If you really want to, you can probably dance to it painfully, but this is actually possible not be seriously released. The artwork is also of unprecedented quality. Also something for Christmas! (Jan Vranken) (3/10) (Olga Tañon)

Ashley Sienna – I Am

Ashley is an alternative pop singer who transforms her dreams into songs in her songs.On “I am” she does this for the first time in an entire album. Produced by Inverness who once Bego for himself, that didn’t work out so well, and now he writes and produces for others. the album clicks like a dime a dozen. The songs are dominated by cool retro organ sounds as if you were listening to a gothic horror film. “444” is actually the only song that seems to have any commercial potential. Ashley will probably have to rely on a second album. Then she will definitely break through. Maybe something for Christmas? (Jan Vranken) (4/10) (Ashley Sienna)

Plain White T’s – Plain White T’s

Once started as an emo-punk band from Chicago, the band has now evolved into a kind of emo pop band. No more anger, no angular, sloppily played guitars, this time the band tries with neatly smoothed guitar riffs under plastic syths and drums that play neatly in time. Some Green Day-like vocals over it. Punk and rebellious? No, it’s that they just shout ‘shit’ out loud on purpose, something that is not allowed in the US of A. Phew. The music is certainly not bad, but quite mainstream, catchy tunes for teenagers with, but also without, pimples. For each his own. Quite nice for Christmas. (Jan Vranken) (6/10) (Fearless records)

Gerard Joling – This is Me

Gerard Joling has released a new album under the title “This is Me”. Good to know, too many people in the Netherlands apparently have no idea who Gerard Joling is. Seventeen brand new Joling songs. Cosy, cheerful, no nonsense, no fuss, nice straight forward tunes. Great for the football canteen with lots of beer, or on Aunt Marjan’s eighty-fifth birthday. “This is the Time” with the inevitable Donnie will be a huge hit. Music to accompany a large hair salon meal. That doesn’t have to be anything more. (Jan Vranken) (3/10) (ENL records)

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