A blog about music from Canada and beyond.

Long reads, short reads and bite-size bits.

Music Review: Mary J. Blige - Strength of a Woman

Music Review: Mary J. Blige - Strength of a Woman
The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul has always mined personal issues for her best work. This is the r&b diva known for such deeply confessional numbers as “Not Gon’ Cry” and “No More Drama.” For her 13th studio album, Blige had the biggest real-life drama to draw from: divorce from her longtime manager-husband Martin “Kendu” Isaacs. She doesn’t pull her punches, attacking him for his infidelity in the scathing “Set Me Free.” “How could you believe I wouldn’t fight back,” she tells him on “Telling the Truth,” a club number produced by Canada’s Kaytran...

Music Review: Sheryl Crow - Be Myself

Music Review: Sheryl Crow - Be Myself
It’s been nearly a quarter of a century since Sheryl Crow launched her career with Tuesday Night Music, a rock-pop album that included such infectious songs as “All I Wanna Do.” She went on to record another seven albums, which cumulatively sold over 35 million copies worldwide. Now Crow has reunited with Jeff Trott, who co-wrote early hits “If It Makes You Happy” and “My Favorite Mistake.” The reunion pays dividends, returning the “Everyday is a Winding Road” singer to her ’90s rock-queen glory. Songs like “Roller Skate,” “Rest of Me” and exub...
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Music Review: John Mayer - The Search for Everything

Music Review: John Mayer - The Search for Everything
The seven-time Grammy winner has done his best to deny that he’s still fixated on Katy Perry. “I wouldn’t say it started as a breakup record,” says Mayer, whose relationship with Perry ended in 2015. Yet most of the songs on this 12-cut compilation, which includes two four-track EPs released earlier this year plus four unreleased tracks, are full of longing. Asked point blank if one new number, the shimmering “Still Feel Like Your Man” was about Perry, Mayer answered “who else would I be thinking about?” The songs, mostly rock and blues ballads...
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Music Review: Ed Sheeran - Division

Music Review: Ed Sheeran - Division
He’s one of music’s most unlikely stars. An unassuming redhead from tiny Hebden Bridge in northern England, Ed Sheeran has a knack for crafting infectious pop songs in a variety of styles. The 26-year-old’s ambitious third album follows the mathematical titles of his previous bestselling releases, Plus and Multiply, but outdoes them both with better songs and more diverse sounds. Along with the chart-topping singles “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill,” the album has catchy ballads like “Perfect” and feelgood anthems of hope including “What ...
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Music Review: Alicia Keys - Here

Music Review: Alicia Keys - Here
Her last album was called Girl on Fire and Alicia is still red hot. This summer, the 15-time Grammy winner made headlines by choosing not to wear makeup at an awards show. On her sixth studio album, Keys continues to boldly speak out, tackling topics from the human condition to global politics on tough hip-hop tracks and spare acoustic ballads alike. She’s also released a companion short film titled The Gospel that deals with police brutality. That outspokenness is the backbone of confessional numbers like the dancehall-flavored “Girl Can’t Be ...
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