Hardly a heart­break

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Music -

LADY An­te­bel­lum’s suc­cess dipped a lit­tle in 2014 when its sixth stu­dio al­bum, 747, man­aged to churn out only one chart-top­ping sin­gle, Bar­tender, but didn’t make much of a dent oth­er­wise.

The main prob­lem was the al­bum lacked its usual sta­ble of catchy tunes.

Its mem­bers Hil­lary Scott, Charles Kel­ley and Dave Hay­wood took time off the band and fo­cused on their solo projects. Three years later, Lady A is back with re­newed vigour.

Heart Break is a re­turn to the trio’s brand of toe-tap­ping, coun­try-pop num­bers. Scott sings about en­joy­ing a night in town with­out need­ing a man in the fresh, bouncy ti­tle track.

Driven by trom­bones and trum­pets, lead sin­gle You Look Good is a fun and ex­u­ber­ant piece, in­tro­duc­ing lis­ten­ers to a side they’ve never heard be­fore.

The band gets de­cid­edly in­spi­ra­tional with mid-tempo tracks

The Stars and Army. The Stars serves an en­cour­age­ment to those who ever ques­tioned their self­worth while Army is a beau­ti­ful trib­ute to the loved ones who lifts us up in our lives, with Kel­ley singing emo­tively: “If I’m a sol­dier, she’s an army.”

Of course, Lady A wouldn’t be Lady A with­out its sig­na­ture poignant break-up songs. Hurt is a bal­lad about never quite get­ting over a break-up, rem­i­nis­cent of its 2010 cross­over hit Need You Now. It’s the al­bum’s most out­stand­ing track, boast­ing a strong melodic hook in the cho­rus and breath­tak­ing har­monies.

Heart Break marks Lady A’s re­turn to form. – Ken­neth Chaw GRAMMY-win­ning New Zealan­der Lorde cre­ated Roy­als and the rest of her de­but al­bum in her teen years. Now, at 20, she’s back with a sopho­more re­lease just as ex­cep­tional, and with a grow­ing sound. Melo­drama finds Lorde part­ner­ing with Jack Antonoff, the fun. gui­tarist and song­writer-pro­ducer who worked on Tay­lor Swift’s 1989. He helps Lorde ex­pand her sound on the new al­bum, keep­ing what was best about 2013’s moody Pure Hero­ine, with a few ex­tra lay­ers.

Tracks like Li­a­bil­ity and Writer In The Dark are beau­ti­ful tunes, high­lighted by the pi­ano, that show­case Lorde’s over­all growth – son­i­cally, vo­cally and lyri­cally. Sober and Su­per­cut are beat-laden win­ners; Hard Feel­ings/Love­less is re­veal­ing; and Sober II (Melo­drama) is eerie and epic.

This 11-track set is as grand as Lorde’s name. – Mes­fin Fekadu/ AP

Sinead Har­nett Chap­ter One Rinse

AF­TER hours R&B forms the foun­da­tion of the lat­est mix­tape from singer-song­writer Sinead Har­nett. The eight-track col­lec­tion comes in the wake of four rel­a­tively un­der­stated EPs.

Chances are you would have heard soul­ful col­lab­o­ra­tions on more col­lab­o­ra­tions with the likes of Dis­clo­sure and Rudi­men­tal. But to date, the Lon­don-based songstress’ solo projects have been rel­a­tively un­der the radar.

That lack of main­stream at­ten­tion is cu­ri­ous, es­pe­cially when one con­sid­ers the fact that Har­nett makes the kind of smooth and sul­try mu­sic that ought to go well with a pop crowd de­sen­si­tised by Drake’s sen­ti­men­tal odes.

If any­thing, Chap­ter One isa gor­geous of­fer­ing that brings to­gether slow-burn­ing num­bers with a dash of mild EDM in­flu­ences. Cou­pled with some pretty solid song-writ­ing, and you have your­self one of the year’s finest R&B re­leases.

Stand-out tracks in­clude the su­per chill Heal You, uber sexy Un­con­di­tional and sassy Don’t Waste My Time. Sinead ex­cels at im­bu­ing emo­tions in her vo­cal de­liv­ery, while hav­ing ex­cep­tional tonal con­trol. This songstress could do with more at­ten­tion – and some ra­dio air­play. – Ch­ester Chin

Photo: Hand­out

Lady An­te­bel­lum Heart Break Uni­ver­sal

Lorde Melo­drama Uni­ver­sal

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