Music Review - April 2023

by BTM

Tue, 04 April 2023

bahrain music review  april 2023


Verdict: A return to form for the pop icon.

What’s the story? 
Trustfall is the ninth studio album by American singer P!nk. When asked about the tone of the album, she replied saying that it would be “very honest”. Trustfall incorporates elements of a wide variety of sub-genres, namely pop rock, Americana, country music and folk.

Worth a listen? 
Bouncing back after the relative stumbles of her late-2010s efforts, P!nk recaptures her spirit and voice on the cathartic Trustfall. The set is a motivational therapy session that hinges on themes of change, self-acceptance, loss and love, reminding listeners (and herself) that everything will be OK if there’s faith in the face of fear and the unknown. Buoyed by this spiritually liberated energy, P!nk pushes her vocals to higher highs with shiver-inducing results, backed by some of the most thoughtful messages in her catalogue. As with past releases, she blends sentimental moments of introspection with grand pop highs, tugging the heartstrings one minute and inspiring physical release the next.

Paramore’s sixth studio album, This Is Why, feels like the band is bending time, merging the emo-punk of their youth with the hard-won pop craftsmanship they’ve embraced as adults. Darkly serendipitous, the group’s six-year absence since their last effort also coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic, a period of bleak reflection but one which also gave the band’s core trio of vocalist Hayley Williams, guitarist Taylor York, and drummer Zac Farro time to refocus. In Williams’ case, it also gave her the space to record two solo albums. Those albums found her pushing the creative envelope of her sound, embracing an arty, experimental style that still made room for poetic, confessional lyrics. It’s a balancing act she and Paramore also continue to perfect here, albeit with a much tougher, rock-oriented approach. 

Queen of Me is a relentless pop album, bedecked in flashy baubles and slathered in shiny digital effects, all designed to bring Shania Twain firmly into the pop mainstream. The change is deliberate. Twain collaborates with producers and writers who have worked with such 21st century superstars as Justin Bieber, Pitbull and Halsey, all in an effort to give Queen of Me a fresh, sparkling sheen. Nevertheless, the end results feel curiously constrained, and despite the best efforts of Auto-Tune and modern technology, the music is over-produced and her voice over-processed. That don’t impress me much. 

Cracker Island marks something of a retreat for Gorillaz, moving the virtual group away from the excess of The Song Machine, a multi-part series of collaborations that sometimes threatened to collapse upon its own weight. Guests are still featured on Cracker Island – collaboration is one of the chief reasons Damon Albarn launched the group at the dawn of the millennium – but he limits the numbers here, giving the record an appealingly streamlined feel. Balancing bright, colourful electro-pop with a slight air of melancholy is hardly a new trick for Albarn, yet there’s a clean, efficient energy propelling Cracker Island that gives the album a fresh pulse.