HARRY STYLES – SELF-TITLED
While Zayn Malik is busy reinventing himself as a hipster, One Direction bandmate Harry Styles seems keen on being the new Robbie Williams. He’s certainly channeling RW on his first single, Sign Of The Times, which has topped the charts in a whopping 84 countries. Make no mistake; this is no kiddie pop album, more like “boy band survivor morphs into adult artiste”. The fact Harry demands to be taken so seriously means, sadly, most of the fun has been scrubbed away. “Turgid” and “tr y-hard” are words that spring to mind. On Ever Since New York he sounds like a bargain-basement Ed Sheeran; a baying busker who makes you think, “If he ever writes a decent song of his own he could be get somewhere.” Still, Harry is getting sexier as he ages and that’s definitely the right direction.
DUA LIPA – SELF-TITLED
At age 21, British “it” chick/model Dua has been waiting in the wings for her moment for some time. Her first single came out back in 2015 but it’s only now we’re getting her longtouted, long-awaited debut album. Has it been worth the wait? Does she live up to the hype? Well, she has a secret weapon up her sleeve in the song Be The One. It should easily catapult her into the big time. Coming across like early Madonna, this track was not penned by Dua. Similarly, Madonna’s big early hits were conceived by others, but Dua is involved in the bulk of the album. If she can write her own songs as good as Be The One she may well snatch the Queen Of Pop crown sometime soon.
GORILLAZ – HUMANZ
So begins the musical pushback against Trump starting with the world’s most successful virtual band. On their fourth album, Murdoc, Noodle, Russel and 2D call on a stellar cast of supporting talent including Mavis Staples, De La Soul, Rag’N’Bone Man and Grace Jones to help get their message out. As on Saturn Barz (Spirit House) this whimsical project of Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett attempts to take a few steps forward. These are edgy, nerdlike grooves made to impress folks who believe Star Wars is the greatest movie of all time. Gorillaz chasers might want to get their hands on the Super Deluxe Vinyl Box Set edition containing 14 individual pieces of different coloured 12” vinyl, plus a 54-page art book. Fan-tastic!
LP – LOST ON YOU
Often all it takes is one song to create a star. By that same measure, the artist can wind up a one-hit-wonder if there’s nothing else as catchy in their repertoire. American indie lesbian performer Laura Pergolizzi – aka LP – is currently at those crossroads. Her breakout single Lost On You is the sort of thing Celine Dion might have tackled if she was born in Calabria not Canada. It’s a song that packs a heart-tugging emotional punch. Like Sia, who turned her songwriting into a profitable side career as a pop star, LP has written hits for Rihanna, Cher and Christina Aguilera. Her album’s second single, Other People, suggests she might just write another timeless classic, or ten, before her time is done.
TAKE THAT – WONDERLAND
Hard to believe that a few decades back Take That were a five-piece, British boy band whose debut music video saw them wearing leather jockstraps, smearing each other in jelly and f lirting with the gays. Nowadays the band has been reduced to a trio. Robbie Williams comes and goes depending on his f luctuating solo success. Their original gay manager is gone and they’re now more like a “man band” that mums adore. Lead That-ter Gary Barlow can still concoct a decent tune – the anthemic single Giants is the best thing they’ve done in a long time. But Wonderland will leave TT forever as the UK’s biggest pop act of all time to never quite cut it overseas.
WATCH HARRY’S SIGN OF THE TIMES VIDEO