Tue, 03 October 2023
Carly Rae Jespen
The Loveliest Time
Verdict: A consistent, ambitious album of positive pop.
What’s the story?
The Loveliest Time is the seventh studio album by Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen. It serves as a companion piece to previous album The Loneliest Time, featuring songs from recording sessions for that album. Her creativity was stimulated by the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting her to transform an old office space in her Los Angeles residence into a home studio. The recording sessions produced over 65 B-sides, which Jepsen decided needed to be put forward for a new album.
Worth a listen?
Jepsen has got a song for just about every kind of love: With its skipping rhythm and breathy vocals, Weekend Love lives up to its name. When shouting from rooftops isn’t enough, there’s Stadium Love, where she backs the head-over-heels choruses with arena-sized beats and a sizzling guitar solo. Though Jepsen is known for her songs about love at first sight, she’s getting her groove back on the disco of Shy Boy, one of The Loveliest Time’s brightest highlights. She balances gorgeous, heart-tugging pop songs with more daring moves and the result is a fresh-sounding mix of hip-hop-tinged beats, spiky guitars and saxophone.
The Chemical Brothers
For That Beautiful Feeling
The 10th album from the Chemical Brothers is all about moments of dancefloor euphoria, when the music elevates the club-goer into a state in which anything seems possible. This is familiar territory for the Grammy-winning duo, and the record delivers the type of festival-sized rave psychedelia they mastered back in the 1990s. While the pair have always crafted journey-like albums with continuous listening in mind, the singles are often the highlights, and For That Beautiful Feeling was previewed by several tracks that deliver concentrated doses of the sort of bliss the set intends to create.
ÁTTA – Icelandic for ‘eight’ – is Sigur Rós first album in 10 years. Inspired by the idea of unity in the face of overwhelming turmoil – climatic, socio-political, viral, and otherwise – the persistently warm and majestic, nearly hour-long ÁTTA often resembles a series of ambient, gradually expanding and subsiding, amorphous sound shapes more than songs. While not the project’s most mind-bending or boundary-pushing album, it’s their most stunningly gorgeous, and a successful, timely countermeasure to the symbolic cover art depicting a rainbow in flames.
Threaded together loosely as a concept record about life on tour, on stages, and in perpetual motion, Road finds Alice Cooper half a century into his weird and fantastical rock & roll nightmare but sounding fresh and invigorated as ever. Always the showman, Alice uses Road to bring the on-stage power of his band’s live show to record, with songwriting contributions from various members of the group and a gritty production style that has a live-in-the-studio feel. Though they were recorded in the 2020s, moments like the winkingly self-aware opener ‘I’m Alice’ or the sleazy riffage and pounding backbeats of ‘Welcome to the Show’ could pass for vintage Alice Cooper.