Pusha-T, “Daytona” (Good Music)
“Daytona” is newsworthy in all kinds of ways. It’s Pusha-T’s finest work since “Hell Hath No Fury,” his 2006 classic with duo Clipse. Also, praises be, it’s only seven songs and 21 minutes long! And like Jay-Z’s 2017 release “4:44,” which teamed the rapper exclusively with No I.D., “Daytona” is a taut, cohesive work that is a full-length collaboration with a single producer.
That producer is Kanye West, who — no matter what you think about his recent public statements in praise of Donald Trump and about slavery being “a choice” — makes it clear that he still has his wits about him as a sharp, inventive beat maker. Pusha allows West to guide the musical ship, and the rapper is on top of his game, whether catering to his hard-core fans on “If You Know You Know,” or wondering what was on the mind of then-incarcerated rapper Meek Mill on “What Would Meek Do.” West has a guest rap on that song, and it’s weak.
The producer and Good Music label head is also responsible for the dubious decision to use a picture of Whitney Houston’s bathroom the day she died as the “Daytona” album cover.
Finally, “Daytona” has also incited what promises to be an epic feud between Pusha and Drake. On the album’s “Infared,” Pusha again raises the charge that the “Hot Line Bling” star doesn’t write his own raps. Drake responded immediately with the clever clap back “Duppy Freestyle” and Pusha struck again with the brutal diss track “The Story of Adidon.” Don’t expect this to end anytime soon.
dan deluca, Philadelphia Inquirer
Snow Patrol, “Wildness” (Republic)
Even though Snow Patrol has been on hiatus for the past seven years, the influence of the “Chasing Cars” rockers from Ireland was still felt. Singer Gary Lightbody wrote songs with Ed Sheeran and One Direction. He co-wrote and sang a duet with Taylor Swift for her “Red” album. Guitarist Johnny McDaid co-wrote Sheeran’s smashes “Shape of You” and “Photograph,” as well as Pink’s hit “What About Us.”
But Lightbody, who has gone public with his battle with depression and alcoholism, felt he needed time away from the band to deal with his issues and find things to write about for Snow Patrol. And he found them for “Wildness.”
“I’m in the ruins, too,” Lightbody sings in the melancholy, but optimistic, piano ballad “What If This Is All the Love You Ever Get?”
Much of “Wildness” finds Lightbody offering advice to those searching for answers the way he has. He says the album is about “our communion with nature and each other” and “the loss of it.” The single “Empress” captures that mood best, a future singalong that centers on our similarities.
Snow Patrol also looks to break some new ground. “Don’t Give In” leans more toward Sheeran-esque acoustic simplicity than the band’s older work, while “A Dark Switch” sounds more like producer Jacknife Lee’s work with U2, crossed with Talking Heads’ angst.
What makes “Wildness” work so well is that Snow Patrol seems ready to chase something new now.
Glenn gamboa, Newsday
• Dave Matthews Band, “Come Tomorrow”
• Dierks Bentley, “The Mountain”
• Lily Allen, “No Shame”
• Sugarland, “Bigger”
• Lykke Li, “So Sad So Sexy”
• Get Up Kids, “Kicker”