After a week-long break, Timely Tunes is back with a new track from Willie Nelson, a previously unreleased track from Prince, the return of the temporarily dormant LCD Soundsystem, and new music from Jason Isbell and Perfume Genius.
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Willie Nelson “God’s Problem Child” (From “God’s Problem Child”)
It seems that, often, lesser-known artists don’t get the attention they deserve until after they pass, while big stars are lauded for their earlier triumphs and the art they make later in life is all but ignored. Willie, at 84 years old, is still very much with us, and this new album does not feel like a grand final statement like the ones left behind by David Bowie or Leonard Cohen. Nelson’s voice still seems younger than his years, and this vibrant album is all the more reason to celebrate him while he is still with us. The title track features the voice of Nelson’s good friend, Leon Russell, on what would be his last recorded vocal performance before his death. The two are also joined by Jamey Johnson and Tony Joe White, who co-wrote the song. But it is Nelson’s unmistakable guitar playing that is the star voice of the track.
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit “Cumberland Gap” (From “The Nashville Sound”)
Jason Isbell has had an inspiring career. He was a dynamic guitarist and occasional vocalist in The Drive-By Truckers, arguably America’s greatest band over the past two decades, until alcoholism and other issues lead to him going solo. He could have easily drifted off into obscurity, or worse. Instead, he got sober, and has become one of the best songwriters working. He is an honest and compassionate outsider writing songs that are the antithesis of the songwriting-by-committee Nashville machine.
LCD Soundsystem “Call the Police”
LCD Soundsystem’s retirement in 2011 seemed awfully premature, and it turns out that James Murphy must have felt the same. If they HAD decided to stay gone, they would have left behind three classic albums and some of the most iconic singles of their era. Reforming always presents sizeable risks to your legacy. Fortunately, this new double A side single is fab as ever, and “Call the Police” is one of their greatest anthems yet.
Prince “Electric Intercourse” (From “Purple Rain” Deluxe Reissue)
What exactly is contained within Prince’s mythological vault of unreleased music? If this posthumous outtake from the “Purple Rain” sessions is anything to go by, there might be quite a few honest-to-god treasures. “Electric Intercourse” sounds of-a-piece with the rest of “Purple Rain”, which is to say, it’s brilliant. It’s hard to understand how something this good didn’t make the cut, but Prince’s batting average was higher than everyone else’s in the 1980s. He had genius to burn.
Perfume Genius “Sides” (From “No Shape”)
Mike Hadreas (Perfume Genius) just keeps topping himself. “No Shape” is another in a string of incredible albums by the young artist; a transcendent ascension above the debris of our current near-dystopia and a heavenly tribute to the love and devotion between he and his partner Alan Wyffels. “Sides” is a show-stopping duet with Weyes Blood’s Natalie Mering that sounds like it could fall apart and disappear into the ether at any moment.
TIMELY TUNES, VOL. 46
1. Kris Kristofferson “The Silver Tongued Devil and I”
2. Willie Nelson “God’s Problem Child”
3. Drive-By Truckers “Margo and Harold”
4. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit “Cumberland Gap”
5. Jackson Browne “Fountain of Sorrow”
6. New Order “Procession”
7. LCD Soundsystem “Call the Police”
8. Brian Eno “St. Elmo’s Fire”
9. Gloria Ann Taylor “World That’s Not Real”
10. Prince “Electric Intercourse”
11. George Michael “One More Try”
12. Perfume Genius “Sides”
13. Julee Cruise “Mysteries of Love”
14. Arthur “Blue Museum”
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