Gordon Lightfoot Book, Music and More!

The home of music journalist Nicholas Jennings, author of Lightfoot, the definitive new Gordon Lightfoot biography from Penguin Random House.

Music Review: Lana Del Rey - Lust for Life

Music Review: Lana Del Rey - Lust for Life
By now, Del Rey's persona and esthetic are well established: a femme fatale who revels in moody numbers about bad boys. It’s been a successful formula where the 32-year-old singer’s blank stare reflected her music’s ennui. So what are we to make of Del Rey’s smiling face on her latest album? Has she found contentment? While the New York City native is still mired in toxic relationships, her concerns now about have more to do with the state of the planet. “When the World Was at War We Kept Dancing” finds her asking “Is it the end of America?” and “God Bless America—And All the Beautiful Women In It” is an ode to feminism. Best of all, there’s something close to joyful abandon on the Beatlesqu...
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Music Review: Alison Moyet - Other

Music Review: Alison Moyet - Other
She’s one of the greatest female singers ever to come out of the U.K. Six years before Adele was born, Alison Moyet was topping the charts with electropop duo Yaz. Blessed with a bluesy, soulful voice, Moyet went on to a highly successful solo career, exploring new styles with hits songs, including “All Cried Out” and “Invisible,” while selling over 23 million albums. A mother of three, the Grammy-nominated singer returned to her electronica roots with 2013’s excellent The Minutes . Working again with producer Guy Sigsworth (Björk, Madonna), Moyet continues making adventurous music on her ninth studio album. Some of the songs, like “Reassuring Pinches,” recall the meaningful electropop of “O...
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Music Review: Jay-Z - 4:44

Music Review: Jay-Z - 4:44
Jay-Z resides comfortably in the palace of hip-hop: a groundbreaking rapper and label owner, with 21 Grammy Awards and sales of more than 100 million records to his name. As Beyoncé’s husband, he is also one half of pop’s royal couple. But all has not been well on the homefront, if we’re to believe the superstars’ artistic output. His alleged marital infidelity became grist for Queen Bey’s mill on her hit 2016 album Lemonade. Then there was elevator video footage showing an altercation with sister-in-law Solange. Jay-Z addresses both subjects on his 13th solo album. Confessional and apologetic, it’s an impressive mark of maturation from the man born Shawn Carter. Ove...
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Music Review: Lorde - Melodrama

Music Review: Lorde - Melodrama
When the “Royals” singer first exploded on the charts with her debut album, Pure Heroine , she was only 17. Even then, she seemed much older. Now, four years on and with two Grammy Awards under her belt, Lorde (a.k.a. Ella Yelich-O’Connor) is back with more of her quirky, wise-beyond-her-years pop songs. The New Zealand singer-songwriter’s latest documents the current state of her life—wrestling with mixed emotions as she overcomes the loss of her first love and faces up to being single. She’s essentially journaling her personal dramas (the title is a playful knock on herself) and setting them to sounds that mix dance music, hip-hop and classic-pop influences. The album opens with “Green Lig...
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Music Review: Shakira - El Dorado

Music Review: Shakira - El Dorado
Hips don’t lie. Shakira proved that with her infectious, Latin-flavored dance hits that have helped make her an international superstar. Truth is, the Colombian diva certainly knows how to get hips-a-shaking. Married to Spanish soccer star Gerard Piqué, with whom she has two sons, the 40-year-old Shakira isn’t stopping on her 11 th studio. Sung mostly in Spanish with several English tracks, El Dorado kicks off with “Me Enamore (I Fell in Love),” a clip-clopping slice of pop electronica about the romance that led to her marriage. Then Shakira duets with 23-year-old Colombia heartthrob Maluma on the reggaeton jam “Chantaje (Blackmail),” playfully calling him “pretty boy.” She delivers two vers...
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Music Review: Serena Ryder - Utopia

Music Review: Serena Ryder - Utopia
Ryder’s breakthrough came with 2012’s Harmony , which featured two massive hits: the snappy love song “What I Wouldn’t Do” and the thunderous rock anthem “Stompa.” That album was forged out of a romantic breakup—as was this powerful followup. The Canadian star is now in a happy relationship with Trews frontman Colin MacDonald, who is now her fiancé. And her new album reflects those diverse emotional states. “Making [ Utopia ] has taken me to dark places, light places and places in the middle,” says Serena. “It’s my goal in life to find some kind of balance.” From the painful revelation of “The Flame” and the stark confession of “Rollercoaster” to the joyous “Electric Love” and the thumping “...
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Music Review: Harry Styles - Harry Styles

Music Review: Harry Styles - Harry Styles
The world’s gone wild about Harry. He’s already compared notes about going solo with Paul McCartney and been interviewed by Almost Famous director Cameron Crowe for Rolling Stone . The sensation surrounding the former One Direction member stems from this kaleidoscopic solo debut, in which he remakes himself from boy-band idol to grownup rock star. The album draws from influences ranging from the Beatles and Bowie to Prince. And yet Styles manages to make it personal with intimate confessions. There are hints of glam rock on “Only Angel,” in which he woo-hoos like T-Rex’s Marc Bolan, and soft-rock in “Sweet Creature,” which includes a “Blackbird”-like riff. “You can't bribe the door on your w...
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