THE LATEST ALBUM RELEASES RATED AND REVIEWED
FRANK TURNER – BE MORE KIND
★★★★★ DON’T Worry, the opening track on English folk-rock singer-songwriter
Frank Turner’s seventh album is a statement for the anxious times we live in, telling us: “don’t worry if you don’t know what to do.” It sets a theme for the album.
Whilst there are a few non-political songs, it’s when Turner sticks with politics that his songwriting ability and musicianship shines through.
On the track named after Donald Trump’s presidential campaign slogan (Make America Great Again) he offers the US some rousing “suggestions from the special relationship”, such as: “let’s make America great again/by making racists ashamed again.”
It could be the most political album from Frank Turner in a while, and may well be his best yet.
PLAN B – HEAVEN BEFORE ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE
★★★★★ THE third studio album from Plan B, real name Ben Drew, is everything you could hope for: staying true to the sounds that defined his early days, but he also ventures effortlessly into new sound territory.
Grateful is a strong opener on the album – easy on the ear and equally catchy. Other stand-out tracks include Stranger, Heartbeat and the already released title track.
It’s A War will also no doubt be a hit with fans. Then you’re thrown straight into Plan B at his best with Guess Again – which is kind of what the entire album keeps you doing.
JANELLE MONAE – DIRTY COMPUTER
★★★★★ UNTIL now, Janelle Monae’s public persona has been androgynous android but there’s been a hormonal surge in the system and there is rage in the machine in this, her third studio album.
Her sound continues to cross genres from hip-hop to funk, with more in between. Make Me Feel is unmistakeably inspired by her mentor and hero Prince, as is the sense of her revealing raw sexuality but there’s also a strong statement on the state of the nation, the closing track Americans, takes a swipe at the American dream, while Crazy, Classic Life says everything might be a mess but let’s party anyway.
The musical landscape is mostly upbeat and celebratory, but lyrically, there is plenty of power, intelligence and strength.