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The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS - Eoin But­ler

CHANCE THE RAP­PER ft. TY DOLLA SIGN Bless­ing (Reprise) ★★★★ Live on Jimmy Fal­lon

The birth of his daugh­ter last Septem­ber seems to have thrust Chance the Rap­per into the grips of a reli­gious fer­vour. And though it’s an odd thing for a non­be­liever to ad­mit, that has in turn prompted several of my per­sonal high­lights from this past mu­si­cal year. From his bravura turn on Kanye’s spir­i­tual Ul­tra­light Beam back in Fe­bru­ary to this ex­tra­or­di­nary ren­di­tion of the up­lift­ing clos­ing track from his Color­ing Book mix­tape ear­lier this week, the Chicago na­tive’s God-both­er­ing per­for­mances really have been enough to make me shout ‘Praise the Lord’. Vo­cal back­ing here is cour­tesy of An­thony Hamil­ton, Raury, D.R.A.M. and an en­tire freak­ing gospel choir.

NIALL HO­RAN This Town ★★ Capi­tol Records

Recorded at Frank Si­na­tra’s old stomp­ing ground of Capi­tol Stu­dios in Los Angeles, This Town is the first new ma­te­rial Niall Ho­ran has shared since One Di­rec­tion went their sep­a­rate ways. Hopes may have been high for the Mullingar man’s solo ca­reer, but this is a flat, stodgy and unin­spired ef­fort. God­damn, why does this keep hap­pen­ing? It’s like Mikey Gra­ham all over again...

SOLANGE Cranes in the Sky ★★★★ Columbia

“I tried to drink it away,” sings Solange Knowles on this track from her A Seat at the Ta­ble al­bum. The source of her con­ster­na­tion, ap­par­ently, is the re­cent spate of anti-black vi­o­lence in the United States. And she’s got a point. African-Amer­i­can men have in­deed been on the re­ceiv­ing end of a shock­ing num­ber of sense­less at­tacks: on street cor­ners, dur­ing rou­tine traf­fic stops and while rid­ing el­e­va­tors.

JOHN BROWN ft. ANGELINE MOR­RI­SON Café Song ★★★

This charm­ing song from Dublin singer-song­writer John Brown re­minds me just faintly of Paul Brady’s The Is­land. Hap­pily, his pre­oc­cu­pa­tions are just a lit­tle more bour­geois than war and de­struc­tion. Caf­feine, news­pa­pers and ogling wait­resses? Sounds like a Satur­day to me.

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