The Week (US)


- Doomin’ Sun

It’s a shame that this posthumous album “can’t escape the reality it exists in,” said Jeff Ihaza in Rolling Stone. DMX was poised for a comeback when he died at 50 in April, but the album that the charismati­c New York rapper had been working on “feels cold in its new context,” because it’s a commercial product more than an artistic statement. Guest features abound, with Jay-Z, Nas, Snoop Dogg, Usher, Alicia Keys, and U2’s Bono among them. Taken on their own terms, many tracks are strong, as longtime collaborat­or Swizz Beatz “offers up some of the most dynamic production of his career,” while DMX “seems genuinely energized.” As on previous DMX releases, the music “still layers his gruff, chant-like vocals over hard-knocking beats smeared with vaguely gothic overtones,” said Mikael Wood in the Los Angeles Times. “It’s heartening to hear how much belief DMX had left in his signature approach.” And though “not every track connects,” the late rapper “sounds remarkably driven—a man with life, not death, heavy on his mind.”

Melina Duterte and

Ellen Kempner “sing like sisters who know each other’s secrets,” said Jon Pareles in

The New York Times. Duterte, who records bedroom pop as

Jay Som, might seem an odd partner for Kempner, who fronts the guitar band Palehound. But their new indie-rock alliance works because both 20-somethings are “breathy-voiced” songwriter­s whose music “can be fragile or bruising, offering both vulnerabil­ity and resolve.” On this first Bachelor album, “each song builds its own soundscape, by turns transparen­t, dense, introverte­d, and clamorous.” Some sound like Palehound: “unassuming but affecting,” said Ben Salmon in PasteMagaz­ine .com. Other tracks make full use of Duterte’s “lush” production work. “Spin Out,” for example, “unfurls in shimmering slow motion.” The album shines most, though, “when Bachelor sounds most like Bachelor.” Just listen to the rhythmic opener, “Back of My Hand.” Or to “Stay in the Car,” which “veers back and forth between bouncy poprock and Pixies-style guitar squalls.”

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