The Listener

Ranges from the slight to the first-rate: Neil Young’s Homegrown reviewed

11 July 2020 9:00 am

Grade: B+ Neil Young has been mining his own past very profitably for a long time now, disinterring a seemingly…

Contains the loveliest new song I've heard in decades: Bob Dylan's new album reviewed

27 June 2020 9:00 am

Grade: A ‘Rough’ in terms of the mostly spoken vocals, but only ‘rowdy’ if you’re approaching your 80th birthday, which…

Skates on the edge of parody: The 1975's Notes on a Conditional Form reviewed

6 June 2020 9:00 am

Grade: B+ Just what you wanted. An opening track that matches banal piano noodling to an address by Greta Thunberg.…

Beautiful voice, pretentious album: Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters reviewed

9 May 2020 9:00 am

Grade: C+ Where did they all come from, the quirky yet meaningful rock chicks who don’t have a decent song…

Haunting and beautiful: Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus’s Songs of Yearning reviewed

11 April 2020 9:00 am

Grade: A It has taken 33 years — during which time this decidedly strange Liverpool collective have put out only…

The last great purveyors of a vanishing art form: Green Day’s Fathers of All... reviewed

7 March 2020 9:00 am

Grade: B+ It is an eternal mystery to me why Britain has never had much time for power pop, seeing…

Grimes has talent – but not for writing songs: Miss Anthropocene reviewed

29 February 2020 9:00 am

Grade: B The old axiom no longer applies. In modern popular music, it is possible not only to gild a…

The rancid meanderings of a long-spent wankpuffin: Justin Bieber’s Changes reviewed

21 February 2020 10:00 pm

Grade: D– For my first review of popular music releases in 2020 I thought I’d deposit this large vat of…

The cult of Trifonov is doing the pianist no favours

16 November 2019 9:00 am

Grade: B– Deutsche Grammophon have decided that Daniil Trifonov’s new Rachmaninov piano concertos with the Philadephia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin…

Woke slogans welded to incompetent grunge: Neil Young’s Colorado reviewed

9 November 2019 9:00 am

Grade: B- Horribly woke boilerplate slogans welded inexpertly to the usual incompetent Crazy Horse grunge. Young and his pick-up band…

Patently insincere: Kanye’s Jesus is King reviewed

2 November 2019 9:00 am

Grade: B– Kanye West has found Jesus Christ. Lucky old Christ. If I were Christ I’d have hidden out a…

Imagine ZZ Top stuck in a lift with Gary Numan: Sturgill Simpson’s Sound & Fury reviewed

12 October 2019 9:00 am

Grade: A– The outlaw country genre has shifted a little over the decades since Waylon and Willie, with each proponent…

Proggery beyond parody: Iggy Pop’s Free reviewed

28 September 2019 9:00 am

Grade: D+ Pleasant memories — of hearing ‘Raw Power’ for the first time and later the amiably shambolic chug of…

Great title – shame about the songs: Lana Del Rey’s Norman Fucking Rockwell reviewed

7 September 2019 9:00 am

Grade: B+ Get the razor blades out, Ms Misery is back. Only the truly affluent can immerse themselves in such…

Needed a shot of Stolichnaya: The Tchaikovsky Project reviewed

31 August 2019 9:00 am

Grade: B+ I’m not sure about ‘Projects’. Aren’t those what ageing rockers produce, in a haze of sedatives, when their…

Reliably odd but the deranged proggery grates: King’s Mouth by The Flaming Lips reviewed

10 August 2019 9:00 am

Grade: B- So a queen dies as her giant baby is being born. The baby grows very big indeed and…

Hideously tasteful elegies to useless country singers: Bruce Springsteen’s Western Stars reviewed

6 July 2019 9:00 am

Grade: B– The first Springsteen song I ever heard was ‘Born To Run’, back when I was 14. I clocked…

Much as I admire Morrissey’s refusal to conform, I don’t much like his music

8 June 2019 9:00 am

Grade: B Rock stars who utter something a little gamey, something a tad right-wingish, are usually coerced by the lefties…

It made me want to go to sleep and never wake up: Vampire Weekend’s Father of the Bride

11 May 2019 9:00 am

Grade: B– One of the things not to like about Vampire Weekend, other than their cloying preppiness, Ezra Koenig’s ingratiating…

Maybe the best thing this skag head’s ever done: Peter Doherty & the Puta Madres reviewed

4 May 2019 9:00 am

Grade: A Old skag head’s back, then — older (40 now!), probably none the wiser, still a very good songwriter.…

Thick 12-year-olds listen to Ariana Granda, smart ones to Billie Eilish

13 April 2019 9:00 am

Grade: A– If your 12-year-old daughter’s a bit thick, she probably likes Ariana Grande. Come on, dads — you’ve got…

Magnificently incoherent: Royal Trux’s White Stuff reviewed

9 March 2019 9:00 am

Grade:A Royal Trux are back — kind of. Singer (if that’s what you want to call what she does) Jennifer…

The only way to avoid Ariana Grande’s drivel is to move to Iran

2 March 2019 9:00 am

Grade: D Among the many reasons for moving to Iran is this vapid, talentless, derivative, hyperbolically oversexed drivel aimed at…

However irritating they are, the Dandy Warhols can write songs

9 February 2019 9:00 am

Grade: A– I’m here to make you feel old. It’s now nearly 20 years since the pleasing, laconic, Stones pastiche…

It’s Christmas. You don’t want Götterdämmerung. You want a waltz-operetta

15 December 2018 9:00 am

Grade: A– 1898: two Parisiennes and a housemaid secretly invite each other’s partners to the Paris Opera ball and… c’mon,…