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P
Pa
February 25, 2021

Lucy Spraggan, Willie Nelson and Bonnie Tyler deliver this week’s new albums

Sports

P
Pa
February 25, 2021

ALICE COOPER

— DETROIT STORIES

As far as tributes go, Alice Cooper’s Detroit Stories is an impressive one. The 15-track album is an homage to his hometown, the city in question. But listening to it, you get the sense that this is far more than simple nostalgia, wrapped up in Cooper’s signature tones.

Tracks like Our Love Will Change The World and $1000 High Heel Shoes certainly perk up the ears with an audible departure from the signature Alice Cooper sound. But then the entire album listens like a road trip through the journey that informed his own musical makings in the city — often credited as the birthplace of Motown.

Fans will love what is effectively a 15-track rollercoaster that leaves you wanting more. And you can almost see fans chanting along to the track Detroit City 2021, hands in the air. Hopefully it also won’t be too long before the album can be enjoyed live. 7/10 (Review by Leigh Morrison)

LUCY SPRAGGAN

— CHOICES

A year without touring has been challenging for the talented singer-songwriter, who gets surprisingly little radio airplay but has an army of devoted fans. The now super fit Spraggan launched health and lifestyle sideline Fully Rewired but, thankfully, also found time for song-writing.

The sixth album has finally arrived and, once again, Spraggan lays bare her feelings in a way which takes listeners through an often cathartic emotional rollercoaster.

Many will remember Spraggan from her funny and touching original songs on The X Factor in 2012, including the booze-soaked tales of Last Night (Beer Fear), but in the beautiful Sober she shares the shame which made her give up alcohol so she could learn to like herself more.

Heartbreak Suites tells of introspective hotel stays after the breakdown of her marriage while the sexy bass heavy Flowers shares the thrill of meeting someone new. Spraggan comes out fighting for the single Animal, which is sure to be a noisy crowd singalong when touring begins again.

The album closes on an inspirational note with the gentle Choices (Don’t Be Afraid) and the jaunty Why Don’t We Start From Here — which is sure to be popular when Spraggan is finally back in front of her fans. 9/10 (Review by Beverley Rouse)

STORIES FROM THE CITY, STORIES FROM THE SEA — PJ HARVEY

Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea holds a unique place in the history of Polly Jean Harvey. Though it lacks the awesome rawness of early triumphs Dry and Rid Of Me, or the dizzying brilliance of her war opus, Let England Shake, what it does have is tunes, and it has them in abundance.

It’s no coincidence that her fifth record, while among her most pedestrian, also remains among her most commercially successful to date. Twenty-one years on, the record that won Harvey the first of two Mercury Prizes has been reissued along with a string of demos — some of which, intriguingly, are a far cry from the more restrained versions that ended up in the final cut.

The ear-bleeding Kamikaze and a pleasingly unhinged rendition of The Whores Hustle and the Hustlers Whore offer the willing a little glimpse of what Stories… might have been had Harvey taken the reins off a little. Here’s a better suggestion, though — just go and stick Rid Of Me on at full volume instead. 6/10 (Review by Stephen Jones)

WILLIE NELSON

— THAT’S LIFE

Making your 72nd studio album a homage to your friend Frank Sinatra? Nice work if you can get it, and Willie Nelson can tell you how. The veteran country outlaw is no stranger to standards, and in 2018 recorded My Way, a collection of songs associated with Sinatra.

That’s Life was recorded at Hollywood’s Capitol Studios, where Sinatra created many of his most loved albums between 1956 and 1961. These are not country versions, Nelson crooning them backed by piano, vibrant brass arrangements and lush strings, although as always, the maverick is doing it his way.

The 87-year-old glides through You Make Me Feel So Young, is joined by Diana Krall on I Won’t Dance, and sounds jaunty on I Got You Under My Skin. The title track is the most country, with steel guitar and harmonica solo, while the heartbreaking A Cottage For Sale — written in 1929 — is a highlight.

That’s Life won’t replace the Sinatra recordings, but stands as a strong album in its own right, and to reclaim the legacy of Ol’ Blue Eyes from the swarms of recent mediocre Rat Pack tribute acts. 7/10 (Review by Matthew George)

BONNIE TYLER — THE BEST IS YET TO COME

One of the most distinctive voices in music returns with her 18th studio album. Tyler’s career has already lasted 40 years with huge hits including Lost In France, Total Eclipse Of The Heart and Holding Out For A Hero and an appearance for the UK in the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest.

She may no longer top the charts, but The Best Is Yet To Come shows Tyler can still produce a great album by belting out a series of strong songs in her husky Welsh voice. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable listen, especially for anyone with a fondness for the 80s, and Hungry Hearts is so catchy it would have the hardest of hearts humming along.

It takes a brave person to cover the brilliant 10cc classic I’m Not In Love, but Tyler does a decent job of bringing something different. The Best Is Yet To Come may be a slightly optimistic title, but Tyler is still jolly good. 7/10 (Review by Beverley Rouse).