Arts

Album reviews: Kesha's much-anticipated Rainbow is packed with her best work yet

The lyrics to a lot of the songs on Rainbow scream raw honesty – there is no shortage of swearing – and you get the sense this is a new Kesha

Kesha

Rainbow

PROBABLY one of the most anticipated releases of the year, Kesha's album Rainbow does not disappoint. It's her first solo music released since being entangled in a legal battle with former music producer Dr Luke, and the message is very clear: Kesha is back and, in my opinion, she's produced an album packed with her best work yet.

Woman and Learn To Let Go have already been released. But there are gems galore still to be unleashed, like the album's title track, which you can bet will top singles charts.

The lyrics to a lot of the songs scream raw honesty – there is no shortage of swearing, for extra punch – and you get the sense this is a new Kesha. There are plenty of other treats, like the Dolly Parton collaboration on Old Flames (Can't Hold A Candle To You), showing Kesha's musical talent has no end.

9/10

Kerri-Ann Roper

Martine McCutcheon

Lost And Found

MARTINE McCutcheon is back after a 17-year musical break with Lost And Found, an unapologetic pop piece that reminds you that yes, she really can sing and that she's more than just Tiffany from EastEnders and Hugh Grant's feisty love interest in Love Actually.

McCutcheon takes you on a comfortably familiar journey with her ballad-heavy record, her musical style and vocals straight out of the 1990s – fixed in time, but pleasingly so. Unsurprisingly, it's not the most daring record but McCutcheon provides a welcome break from the current charts fodder of heavily-produced tracks.

The album gets a bit saccharine a few songs in. Duet with husband Jack McManus, Stay With Me, sounds like it belongs on a Disney soundtrack. But McCutcheon pulls it back with the commanding Paradise and upbeat Archive. A pared-back cover of Every Breath You Take shows the power of simplicity, something all too rare in 2017.

7/10

Lucy Mapstone

Paul Draper

Spooky Action

FOURTEEN years after Mansun went up in flames, former lead singer and voice of a generation Paul Draper returns with his debut solo album Spooky Action. After making his name with the iconic band, Draper's vocals have never left the airwaves. But can he step away from the band's radio-friendly sounds and beat his own path.

Spooky Action has a dark line of pop running all the way through it like the lettering in a stick of rock. Don't Poke the Bear is a spaced-out psychedelic introduction, as the familiar strains of Draper's rich tones layer over a tangle of guitars. Grey House's opening melody is reminiscent of I Can Only Disappoint You, with a dirtier edge, soon turning into a more Depeche Mode-style dark pop. Feeling My Heart Run Slow, first performed live in 2014, feels like he has come home.

9/10

Rachel Howdle

Rat Boy

Scum

TWO years after whispers were first heard of an impressive Essex teenage musician who went by the name of Rat Boy, a debut album – boasting 25 tracks – has arrived. After such a long build up, Scum sees the 21-year-old, real name Jordan Cardy, explode 24 months of work out at once.

Much like a toddler who has just learned how to walk, Cardy refuses to sit still and ditches any intention of straddling one or two genres as he noisily flicks from cheeky Jamie T-esque social commentary to some less convincing MCing.

Its length is explained through the presence of imaginary underground radio station, Scum Radio, which offers links every few tracks. Voiced by Grand Theft Auto voice actor Lloyd Floyd, the station pokes fun at Donald Trump but, novelties and opportunistic political comments aside, the album is best when it crashes at the ears with swagger.

6/10

Joe Nerssessian

Elvis Presley

The 50 Greatest Hits

IT HAS been nearly 40 years since the death of Elvis Presley, but there is a reason his most famous tracks are still dug out for every Christmas party, karaoke night and road trip. Marking the anniversary, this 50-track compilation guarantees a wave of nostalgia and will certainly have listeners singing along to the best-known hits, including classics Jailhouse Rock, Return To Sender and Suspicious Minds.

For the ultimate fan, there is little on offer in the way of early career hits and his many movie tracks. This album is definitely an ode to Elvis the rocker, rather than the crooner, country and gospel singer – but if the aim is to recruit new fans, or to just get everybody involved in a car singalong, this record is an absolute essential.

6/10

Francesca Gosling

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