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: Neko Case - Hell-On

Neko’s latest is a gem—self-produced and full of melodic charms and fairy-tale delights. “Bad Luck” is all soaring girl-group harmonies, while “Oracle of the Maritimes,” co-written with Laura Veirs, and “Gumball Blue,” one of two songs penned with New Pornographers bandmate Carl Newman, take listeners deep into the raven-haired siren’s rich, imaginative world.

  1482 Hits

Music Review: Lily Allen - No Shame

One of the brightest, most refreshingly original female singers to emerge from the UK in the last dozen years, Allen suffered several personal and professional setbacks, including her split from the father of her two daughters, a battle with substance abuse and the lukewarm response to her last album, 2014’s Sheezus. Allen has also been given a rough ride by the British tabloid press. But her’s fourth album is a triumphant comeback in which the 33-year-old “Smile” singer has taken control of her story with starkly honest confessional songs. On “Apples,” she sings quietly over a simple keyboard riff about how her breakup with her husband mirrors her parents’ divorce. And she tackles her bad p...

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  1931 Hits

Music Review: Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson - Apart

This five-song EP is the second recording collaboration between the indie rocker and the Hollywood actress, following their 2009 album Break Up. That album, according to Yorn, dealt with “an unraveling relationship,” while Apart  deals with what he describes as the love affair’s “aftermath.” Johansson, who released an album of Tom Waits covers with 2008’s Anywhere I Lay My Head, duets with Yorn on the Fleetwood Mac-like “Bad Dreams” and the chiming “Iguana Bird.” “It is always a pleasure to sing with Yorn,” says Johansson, “because our voices and stories complement each other.” Indeed they do. The dreamy “Movies” is a perfect example of the sensuous weave of their vocals over a moody, m...

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Music Review: Shawn Mendes - Shawn Mendes

He’s still only 19 but, with his third album, the Toronto-born pop star now sounds fully grown up. Gone are the innocent songs in favour of mature numbers with an edgier sound. Mendes had some help to pull off the transition. His friend Ed Sheeran co-wrote one of the album’s strongest songs, “Fallin’ All in You,” sung by Mendes in his mellifluous falsetto, while his mentor John Mayer produced “Like to Be You,” and provided a bluesy guitar solo to the catchy song, a duet with Julia Michaels, of "Issues" fame. Michaelsa also sings with Mendes on “Nervous,” a Bruno Mars-style funk number she also co-wrote. Other contributions include OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder’s co-write on the electro-ti...

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Janelle Monáe - Dirty Computer

She’s made two conceptual albums featuring her alter-ego, the time-traveling android Cindi Mayweather, and starred in two films: the Oscar-winning Moonlight and Hidden Figures. And yet a major commercial breakthrough has so far eluded her. But this could be Monáe’s moment. Working with Prince before he died in 2016, Monáe went on to create a strikingly personal album. The sensual “Make Me Feel” is a direct homage to Prince’s “Kiss,” while “Americans” resembles the free spirit of his “Let’s Go Crazy” and the finger-popping “Pynk” channels the Purple One’s sexually liberated anthems. Monáe, who has been romantically linked to actress Tessa Thompson, uses her new album to explore themes of femi...

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  1947 Hits

Music review: Juliana Hatfield - Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John

It may seem bizarre but Hatfield, best known for her 1993 alt-rock nugget “My Sister,” delivers a sincere, kick-ass tribute to her childhood hero. She scuffs up Newton-John’s “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” gives a punk edge to her “Totally Hot” and embraces the pure pop of “Physical” and “Have You Ever Been Mellow” in a most brilliant way.

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Music Review: Sting & Shaggy - 44/876

It’s an unlikely pairing—one is a member of English rock royalty, the other a Jamaican superstar—but it works. “We both have ridiculous names,” jokes Sting, born Gordon Sumner, while Shaggy, born Orville Burrell, cites the two musicians’ shared love of reggae music as the bond. The pair’s island-inspired album, named after the British and Jamaican dialling codes, is a sunny delight. It opens with the title track, a dancehall number featuring Shaggy, best known for hits like “Oh Carolina” and “Boombastic,” toasting about rice and peas and Sting singing about Bob Marley. There are moments of genuine fun, on the infectious “Don’t Make Me Wait,” and of pure drama, on the courtroom-themed “Crooke...

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  1953 Hits

Music Review: Jack White - Boarding House Reach

The “Seven Nation Army” rock hero’s latest is an odd delight, full of hip-hop beats, gypsy fiddle, funky organ, a Dvořák melody and a hilarious spoken word piece, “Abulia and Akrasia,” by Aussie blues revivalist C.W. Stoneking. The most Jack White track is the blistering rock of “Over and Over and Over,” originally written for the White Stripes.

  1917 Hits

Music Review: Neil Young + Promise of the Real - Paradox

Neil wears many hats–including that of filmmaker. His latest project, a western, sees the 72-year-old Canadian rocker join forces with his romantic partner Daryl Hannah (Splash, Kill Bill), who wrote and directed the movie. Available on Netflix and centred around a group of outlaws hiding out in the mountains, Paradox stars Neil, fellow music legend Willie Nelson, and Willie’s sons, Lukas and Micah, who are members of Neil’s backing band Promise of the Real. The movie’s soundtrack features Neil’s solo score together with solo and band performances. There are campfire-style renditions of blues songs like Jimmy Reed’s “Baby What You Want Me to Do” and Lead Belly’s “How Long...

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Music Review: Moby - Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt

On his 15th album, Moby returns to that organic-electronic mix of his 1999 breakthrough Play, employing frequent collaborator Mindy Jones to add to the dreamy feel of “The Tired and the Hurt” and Raquel Rodriguez to provide breathy accompaniment to “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” both anthems to the age of uncertainty.

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  1744 Hits