Weekly Capsule Reviews: 20/08/2017


This week: Kesha

Classics: Bruce Springsteen

Kesha: Rainbow [Kemosabe/RCA, 11/08/2017]

Overdoing the not-needing-a-man defiance, would you blame her? Country music doesn’t need a lift or a “revival” but leave it to the mainstream aficionados to do it anyway. Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Kesha—good girls stay good. If only the boys realised. It’s nice to hear music and Kesha in the same sentence after the long court debacles and legal issues. And it’s nice to hear it this thought out—plenty of [self-]examination. (7/10)


Bruce Springsteen: Born in the U.S.A. [Columbia, 04/06/1984]

Springsteen could always perform the simultaneous commercialism and commercial-bashing with poise and passion, neither underselling the other, and both making pure sense in the studio and on the fly. Born in the U.S.A. was always that exact statement. His mix of Americana-loving (never loathing, as much as the hippies could only wish he conveys) and patriotic anti-jingoism was always this record’s/his charm. And at no point does he flounder on where he came from, where the music industry is/was, and, forgive me, who he is—the longing (that makes sense), the gratefulness, and making the most of youth and “growing old” before the US of A snatches both from right under your nose. But he likes it that way, and so do most of the red-white-and-blue brigade. It gives them—and the rest of us—a talking point for the rest of their/our days. What is making the most of youth and “growing old”? The former is squeezing every ounce out of those three-minute records; the latter is realising that that was all futile bollocks but worth the ride anyway. But if those records constitute standing up for the needless loss of our brothers at Khe Sahn, I can put up with the bollocks long after I should pack it in. No surrender. (9/10)

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