New Recordings: R. Kelly, Shelby Lynne, Childish Gambino
Ratings: **** Excellent, *** Good, ** Fair, * Good
- Dan DeLuca
This little EP feels like more than a stopgap. Although its five songs clock in under 16 minutes, their depth and breadth belie its brevity.
Lynne recorded her last release, 2011's Revelation Road, by herself, and it was her most autobiographical and sparse album. Thanks, on the other hand, has the inviting accessibility of I Am Shelby Lynne, her sixth album (which, ironically, won her a Grammy for best new artist); the title track would fit neatly on that record. With the exception of the somber, bluesy ballad "Road I'm On," the songs on this EP are upbeat and optimistic. They effortlessly blend country, soul, and gospel in varying proportions in arrangements that use acoustic guitars, piano, pedal steel, and fiddle, and highlight Lynne's power and subtlety as a singer and writer.
- Steve Klinge
Because the Internet
Donald Glover acts the fool on NBC's Community. But Glover is also a true rapper who specializes in a daring honesty. His rap identity is the cocksure Childish Gambino. His album Camp - easily one of 2011's best - was street-smart and witty (sans snark), with subtly driving rhythms to propel his rhymes. Still, you had to wonder if hip-hop aficionados took him seriously.
Because the Internet should show them Gambino is for real. Guests like Chance the Rapper (often called Chicago's next big thing), Flying Lotus collaborator Thundercat, and songstress Azealia Banks appear on Internet, perhaps to lend hard-line cred, but Gambino doesn't need them. As a coproducer (with Ludwig Göransson, composer for Community), Gambino turns the suite-like album into a thrill ride of twitchy, ambient noise and grinding rhythms, as in the powerful "Shadows." He finds romance on the weird and weary "Telegraph Hill," and he shows the pensiveness of a Gil Scott-Heron on "3005."
- A.D. Amorosi
Top Albums in the Region
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1 1 One Direction Midnight Memories -
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4 5 Katy Perry Prism 10
5 7 Lady Gaga Artpop 7
6 10 Various Artists Now That's What I Call Music, Vol. 48 3
7 3 Garth Brooks Blame It On My Roots -
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SOURCE: SoundScan (based on purchase data from Philadelphia and Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks, Chester, Camden, Burlington, and Gloucester Counties). Billboard Magazine 12/14/13 © 2013
On Sale Tuesday
Zac Brown Band, The Grohl Sessions, Vol. 1 (EP);
The Texas Tenors, You Should Dream;
Dam-Funk & Snoopzilla, 7 Days of Funk;
Brendan Benson, You Were Right