Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
Nicki Minaj, ‘Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded’
Nicki Minaj botched her Grammy performance so bad earlier this year, when she weirdly channeled “The Exorcist” while hawking new single “Roman Holiday,” that even that desperate attempt at shock couldn’t be “saved.” Her sophomore outing is just as confused and ridiculous and stupid. And it’s also completely addictive. Named after Minaj’s alter ego, the rapper launches on that schizo lead single with some snappy flair and fierce flow, swapping personalities like wigs and shoehorning “O Come All Ye Faithful” into the spastic mix. She keeps the crazy coming on “Come on a Cone,” hilariously cutting into a cappella, and then swags out on punchy boaster “HOV Lane.” By the end of the unintentionally comical “Sex in the Lounge,” it seems that Roman’s been exorcised – at least by the sound of the disjointed disc, which completely goes off into clubland. “Starships,” redundant-by-way-of-Katy-Perry, breaks into a hooky chorus that embraces the flying-things-are-inspiring motif. Yeah, it’s awesomely bad. And so much of the album’s conventional last half – a scattered collection of hit hopefuls that rip off pop-queens du jour – falls into the same black hole. “Roman Reloaded” is a hot mess of the highest order. Grade: C+
Bonnie Raitt, ‘Slipstream’
Seven years have passed since Bonnie Raitt released an album, but don’t expect her to catch up to the trends just to give us something to talk about. “Slipstream” falls back on the veteran’s longstanding hybrid of blues, rock and weepies, out to prove nothing but her place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. No song does that better than the sad stunner “Not Cause I Wanted To,” a touching breakup ballad that has Raitt baring her heartache in a devastating gesture of closure – the flip side of her iconic lament “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” Raitt’s sound hasn’t progressed much since the release of that masterpiece over 20 years ago, more than halfway into her career – and, because of her timelessness, that’s just fine. “Right Down the Line” offers a delicious reggae change-up on the Gerry Rafferty classic (FYI: The video features gay and lesbian couples in love); “You Can’t Fail Me Now” emphasizes the snuggly warmth of her voice over a gospel-tinged track; and “Ain’t Gonna Let You Go” is a six-minute jam session – a showcase for her bang-up slide guitar skills. Her biting commentary on celebrity, “Marriage Made in Hollywood,” serves both as a pointed reflection on society and the tragic effects of addiction. And she goes out on a high note: “God Only Knows,” a life-affirming prayer sung over a few piano notes. It makes you wish Raitt would come around more often. Grade: B+
Morgan Page, ‘In the Air’
The most impressive bit on A-list mixer Morgan Page’s third full-length is with talented singer-songwriter Greg Laswell: “Addicted,” a lingering heartbreaker. Not to say that the other 12 tracks, featuring an eclectic lineup of known-names and underground artists, don’t cut it; all are particularly strong. Tegan and Sara return to the dance floor for the pulsating innuendo of “Body Work,” and again on “Video,” the stronger – and more original – of the two. The title track, featuring a soothing vocal from Angela McCluskey, stands out for its evocative sense of free-spiritedness – hey, xylophone! – gracing the driving house beat. These flourishes elevate an album that, though listenable and quite innovative, circles itself one too many times.
Katy Perry, ‘Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection’
Katy Perry’s ubiquitous sophomore disc had enough ear candy on it to cause a cavity, from pop-doozy “Teenage Dream” to the galvanizing “Firework.” And it even got creative with whipped cream. But once was enough. Her Lolita shtick on “Dressin’ Up” doesn’t “come alive” as she promises, and the same goes for “Wide Awake,” a forgettable mid-tempo. Both are so last Friday night. “Part of Me” is far from any teenage dream, but it’s not a bad fist-raising breakup anthem. Better, as far as special-edition tracks, is the acoustic makeover of “The One that Got Away.” Sure, it’s no “Hummingbird Heartbeat,” an overlooked “Teenage Dream” track, but then again, not much beats suggestive bird references set to an ’80s chirp.