music-feature-bruce

Is the new Bruce Springsteen album a loud bash of teenage feelings?

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SHARK SANDWICH – Fast Album Reviews for Those on the Go

September 23, 2016 – Vol. 24 

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Music reviews come in all sizes, but you’re busy and do not have time for flowery language… or sentences, really.

Spinal Tap gave the world the greatest album review of all time:

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Welcome to our “Shark Sandwich” — razor-sharp reviews that sum up an album in five sentences or less.

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Bruce Springsteen – Chapter and Verse

Bruce (“Mr. Springsteen,” if you’re nasty) is gearing up to release his autobiography, Born to Run, on September 27th, and Chapter and Verse is the “audio companion.” It’s a journey through the Boss’s extraordinary life, so of course “Born in the USA” and “The Rising” are there, but come on, you know why you are paying attention to this compilation. You want to hear what he sounds like as a teenager, and the first couple tracks scratch that itch. More than anything they are examples of youthful abandon, and a counterpoint to “Born to Run.” Shit, though, who doesn’t love “Born to Run”?

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Born to Run” (call me a nostalgic, classic rock stooge all you want)

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Beach Slang – A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings

We Shark Sandwiched (new verb!) Beach Slang recently, and I am going to acknowledge that based on their recent EP of covers, I was a little let down by A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings. They seem intent on making things extra gritty (particularly in the vocal production department), and I normally don’t have a problem with that, but Beach Slang has such great pop smarts. This is on full display on tracks like “Spin the Dial” and “Young Hearts,” though, so that is cool. It’s not often that I gravitate toward the poppier, maybe mellower side of things in rock and roll, but such appears to be the case with Beach Slang.

Rating: 3 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Spin the Dial”

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Warpaint – Heads Up

Is it fair to call Warpaint the darker, moodier cousins to Haim? Probably not, but Warpaint kind of sounds like if Haim had grown up on bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees. I’m digging myself into a critic hole here… Heads Up is a really smooth, listenable, shadowy listen that is perfect for a rainy day or looking at the fall foliage at midnight.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “New Song”

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Idina Menzel – Idina.

Go ahead, and get it out of your system, so I don’t have to… let it goooo. Sorry, it couldn’t be helped. Honestly, though, you could no more divorce Idina Menzel’s Disney/Broadway influences from her new album than you could remove the borough of Queens from the Ramones. It’s not a complaint, and Menzel turns in a perfect serviceable pop album full of high notes, and dramatic instrumental sweeps. Can you believe I name-checked the Ramones in a review of Idina Menzel?

Rating: 3 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Queen of Swords”

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Dwight Yoakam – Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars

Life-long rebel Dwight Yoakam has turned in a bluegrass album of covers and reworkings of his own songs. It is a gas to hear this new versions of “Guitars, Cadillacs,” and “Sad, Sad Music,” but the one track everyone is talking about is his version of Prince’s “Purple Rain.”   For good reason, too, as it is a total reworking of a classic; a fitting elegy from one musician to a fallen brother. Yoakam’s roots of American music run deep, and after seeing them both in the same column, I am calling for a collaboration between Bruce Springsteen and Dwight Yoakam, post-haste.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Purple Rain”

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All artists are available on iTunes, Amazon, GooglePlay, and wherever else better music is sold, streamed, downloaded, or performed on tour.

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NewsWhistle music contributor Chad Werner is “ahead of the curve, behind the times.” You can contact this rock n’ roll sphinx at chad@newswhistle.com (e-mail) or @scooternotmoped (Twitter).

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Lead-In Image – Composite

  • Album and sleeve – Courtesy of  imagefactory / Shutterstock.com
  • Main album cover – Courtesy of Blablo101 / Shutterstock.com
  • Album collage – Courtesy of Beach Slang (Polyvinyl Records); Bruce Springsteen (Columbia); Dwight Yoakam (Warner/Sugar Hill); Idina Menzel (Warner Brothers); and Warpaint (Rough Trade Records).