ALBUM OF THE MONTH: Dark Hearts by Annie (October 2020)

WORTH A LOOK?: ****1/2

OUT: 16/10/20

TRACKLIST: In Heaven; The Streets Where I Belong; Dark Hearts; Miracle Mile; Corridors Of Time; Forever ’92; American Cars; Mermaid Dreams; Stay Tomorrow; The Countdown To The End Of The World; The Bomb; The Untold Story; It’s Finally Over

Anne Lilia Berge Strand released single The Greatest Hit with house producer/soon-to-be boyfriend Tore Kroknes in 1999 and, two years later before they could release an album, he died from a congenital heart defect.

  • Read on for reasons including how Dark Hearts contains some of the most thrilling music of the year

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GIG REVIEW/ALBUM REVIEW: Melanie C Colour and Light Live

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

WHEN?: 1/10/20

SETLIST: Who I Am; Blame It On Me; Good Enough; Escape; Fearless (with Nadia Rose); Overload; In And Out Of Love; Into You; Nowhere To Run; Here I Am; End Of Everything; High Heels (with Sink The Pink); I Turn To You

‘The 10-year-old in my head has absolutely collapsed. While 27-year-old me feels the same,’ says south London rapper Nadia Rose (pictured above left) as she joins Melanie C onstage during this internet gig to preview the latter’s new album out today.

  • Read on for reasons including details of Melanie C’s tour next year including a London gig

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ALBUM OF THE MONTH: Faith by Hurts (September 2020)

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

OUT: now

TRACKLIST: Voices; Suffer; Fractured; Slave To Your Love; All I Have To Give; Liar; Somebody; Numb; Redemption; White Horses; Darkest Hour

‘When we started making the album, we knew we wanted to give it everything. We decided to confront our demons, excavate the pain and show you it all. It was difficult, at times impossible, but once it started to come together, we felt like nothing could stop us. We knew we were making something special. Something we were going to be immensely proud of,’ says lead singer Theo Hutchcraft.

  • Read on for reasons including where to see Hurts on tour next year including London gig details

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ALBUM OF THE WEEK: Beyond The Pale by Jarv Is (week beginning 19/7/20)

WORTH A LOOK?: ***1/2

OUT: now

TRACKLIST: Save The Whale; Must I Evolve?; Am I Missing Something?; House Music All Night Long; Sometimes I Am Pharaoh; Swanky Modes; Children Of The Echo

The first Pulp album we fell in love with (His’n’Hers) contains a track that pinpoints the exact moment when summer dies (David’s Last Summer), ‘the whole sound of summer packing its bags and preparing to leave town’.

  • Read on for reasons including how Cocker’s new band Jarv Is bring the best out of him since his 90s rise

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ALBUM OF THE MONTH: SAWAYAMA by Rina Sawayama (July 2020)

WORTH A LOOK?: *****

OUT: now

TRACKLIST: Dynasty; XS; STFU!; Comme Des Garçons (Like the Boys); Akasaka Sad; Paradisin; Love Me 4 Me; Bad Friend; Fuck The World (Interlude); Who’s Gonna Save You Now?; Tokyo Love Hotel; Chosen Family; Snakeskin; Tokyo Takeover

Renowned for his encyclopaedic pop knowledge and his hits-filled back catalogue plundered in last year’s film Rocketman, none other than Elton John last month named this the ‘strongest album of the year this far’.

  • Read on for reasons including why you should get ready to fall in love with SAWAYAMA

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FILM REVIEW and ALBUM REVIEW: Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga starring Will Ferrell

WORTH A LOOK?: ****1/2

OUT now on Netflix

This film is well-timed because in the 65-year history of the Eurovision Song Contest it has been held annually apart from 2020 when Covid-19 caused its cancellation.

  • Read on for reasons including why we shed a little tear at this film’s surprising and moving conclusion

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ALBUM OF THE MONTH: Chromatica by Lady Gaga (June 2020)

WORTH A LOOK?: ****1/2

OUT: 29/5/20

TRACKLIST: Chromatica I; Alice; Stupid Love; Rain On Me; Free Woman; Fun Tonight; Chromatica II; 911; Plastic Doll; Sour Candy; Enigma; Replay; Chromatica III; Sine From Above; 1000 Doves; Babylon

Madonna will be fuming at our Mother Monster (or the ‘monsta’ from ‘monstagigz’) as final track Babylon draws on Madge’s hit Vogue and with it Gaga crowns a triumphant and euphoric return to pop’s dancefloor.

  • Read on for reasons including where Gaga is due to play in London next

ALBUM OF THE MONTH: Okta by KEiiNO (May 2020)

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

OUT: now

TRACKLIST: Take Me Home; Black Leather; Would I Lie To You?; Spirit In The Sky; Dancing In The Smoke; Roar Like A Lion; Praying; Colours; Louder; Bed With The Wolf

A year ago in Tel Aviv Norwegian trio KEiiNO won the Eurovision Song Contest televote eventually finishing sixth overall with our favourite song of that year’s competition, the soaraway pop smash Spirit In The Sky.

  • Read on for reasons including our thoughts on this album’s four new tracks

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MINI ALBUM OF THE MONTH: Unfortunate: The Untold Story of Ursula the Sea Witch by Fat Rascal Theatre (May 2020)

WORTH A LOOK?: ****1/2

OUT: now

TRACKLIST: Nasty; We Didn’t Make It To Disney; Unfortunate; Female Role Models; To Be King

‘My mother ate my father with lemon, lightly fried’ is a line from our titular protagonist Ursula in a parody musical that we’ve yet to see but are loving this song selection from.

  • Read on for reasons including what Fat Rascal Theatre is doing next – Covid-19 permitting

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ALBUM OF THE MONTH: Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa (April 2020)

WORTH A LOOK?: *****

OUT: now

TRACKLIST: Future Nostalgia; Don’t Look Down; Cool; Physical; Levitating; Hallucinate; Pretty Please; Love Again; Break My Heart; Good In Bed; Boys Will Be Boys

Spring 2020 was expected to see much-anticipated album releases from the likes of Lady Gaga, Sam Smith and Rumer but concern over how they they would land during a global coronavirus pandemic saw plans for them shelved, leaving the way clear for Dua Lipa’s sophomore collection.

  • Read on for details of where to see Ms Lipa on her UK tour in 2021

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