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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ALBUM OF THE MONTH: Manchester Calling by Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott (March 2020)

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

OUT: now

TRACKLIST: The Only Exercise I Get Is You; If You Could See Your Faults; Somebody’s Superhero; Big News in a Little World; You and Me (Were Meant To Be Together); The Outskirts Of The Dancefloor; So Happy; A Good Day Is Hard To Find; Fat Of The Land; All Of My Friends; The Prison; House Party 2; He’s Got What I Had; New York Ivy; MCR Calling; My Legal High

Over 30 years ago on BBC Radio One’s much-missed Round Table single review show star Cyndi Lauper misheard the lyric of The Beautiful South’s brilliant Song For Whoever as: ‘I love you from the bottom of my pants OK.’

  • Read on for reasons including how to see Heaton and Abbott on tour this Autumn (coronavirus permitting)

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ALBUM OF THE MONTH: Hotspot by Pet Shop Boys (February 2020)

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

OUT: now

TRACKLIST: Will-o-the-Wisp; You Are The One; Happy People; Dreamland; Hoping For A Miracle; I Don’t Wanna; Monkey Business; Only The Dark; Burning The Heather; Wedding In Berlin

It seems a very Pet Shop Boys moment that, as the UK leaves the EU, the duo’s ‘Berlin album’ enters this country’s chart at number three.

  • Read on for reasons including how this is the Boys’ best album for 14 years

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ALBUM OF THE MONTH: Fairytale (International) by Saara Aalto (December 2019)

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

OUT? now

TRACKLIST: Every Christmas Day; Christmas Without You; Let It Go; Starry Skies; Can I Keep The Pictures?; Fairytale Of New York

Aalto won our Best Album monsta last year for her Wild, Wild Wonderland LP and, although its follow up is only half a dozen tracks long, it signposts an interesting future for her singing original songs.

  • Read on for reasons including why live is where Aalto always excels

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ALBUM OF THE MONTH: Don’t Know What’s Cool Anymore by Alphabeat (November 2019)

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

OUT: now

TRACKLIST: Shadows; I Don’t Know What’s Cool Anymore; Back Of My Bike; Goldmine; Sing A Song; Sometimes; Now You Know; The Answer; I’d Rather Die

‘Got a UK deal before we finished school, Moved to East London and tried to be cool,
Top ten felt like picking a cherry, Wearing free sneaks in the pub with Katy Perry.’

  • Read on for reasons including why you should see Alphabeat live in the UK in April

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ALBUM OF THE MONTH: Charli by Charli XCX (September 2019)

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

OUT: now

TRACKLIST: Next Level Charli; Gone (with Christine and the Queens); Cross You Out (ft Sky Ferreira); 1999 (with Troye Sivan); Click (ft Kim Petras and Tommy Cash); Warm (ft Haim); Thoughts; Blame It On Your Love (ft Lizzo); White Mercedes; Silver Cross; I Don’t Wanna Know; Official; Shake It (ft Big Freedia, Cupcakke,Brooke Candy & Pabilo Vittar); February 2017 (ft Clairo & Yaeji); 2099 (ft Troye Sivan)

Charli XCX is arguably best known for a song she wrote for Icona Pop (I Love It was a UK chart topper and a US top 10 in 2012) and a feature with co-write on Iggy Azalea’s US number 1 Fancy two years later.

  • Read on for reasons including Christine and the Queens, HAIM, Lizzo and Troye Sivan

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ALBUM OF THE MONTH: Singles Party by Shakespears Sister (July 2019)

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

OUT: now

TRACKLIST: Break My Heart; Heroine; You’re History; Run Silent; Dirty Mind; Stay; I Don’t Care; Goodbye Cruel World; Hello; My 16th Apology; I Can Drive; Bitter Pill; Pulsatron; Bad Blood; It’s A Trip; All The Queen’s Horses; C U Next Tuesday; Stay (Acoustic)

In their heyday Shakespears Sister supported Prince and headlined Glastonbury but their 15 minutes of fame was over far too early.

  • Read on for reasons including where to hear new songs All The Queen’s Horses and C U Next Tuesday

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