Albums: New music from Taylor Swift, Blue and Tegan & Sara, plus a classic Communards re-release

Taylor Swift – Midnights


POP princess Taylor Swift has got bassier, more explicit and craftier on her latest album Midnights – and it is worthy of the astronomical hype.

Folklore and Evermore are tough albums to follow, particularly when she has also punctuated the last few years with new recordings of her older tracks.

Midnights, however, is equal measures surprising, comfortable and invigorating.

Songs like Lavender Haze, Maroon, and You're On Your Own, Kid are sure to stoke the fires of the many fan theories about Swift and her personal life online.

Despite some uneven tracks, such as her joint effort with Lana Del Rey, Snow On The Beach, the record manages to immerse the listener in brilliant songwriting and a mature sound.

Swift is the internet's darling, and the faith people of all ages have in her work is not misplaced.

This record is self-aware, self-deprecating and offers honest insight into Swift's experiences.



THE final album by Jimmy Somerville and Richard Coles was seen by many simply as a pop record at the time of its original release, but has subsequently revealed itself as a complex and layered album full of political statement and raw emotion.

Their stand-out cover of Gloria Gaynor's Never Can Say Goodbye is now obvious as the brave choice it always was.

There are songs of protest and anguish like Victims, about a young man dying of Aids, and the duo remember gay rights activist Mark Ashton in For A Friend, which is both synth-poppy and moving at the same time.

As well as the political side, there are the pop tunes many will remember fondly, like There's More To Love (Than Boy Meets Girl).

A second disc features remixes including a driving 10-minute version of Never Can Say Goodbye from The 2 Bears.



IT'S 21 years since Simon Webbe, Duncan James, Antony Costa and Lee Ryan released their first album, All Rise, as boy band Blue.

However, their sixth album retains the same catchy tunes and positive vibe which made Blue so popular in the early 2000s.

Their mix of soul and pop won't appeal to everyone but their mature voices sound great and there are some fabulous tunes including the rousing opener Haven't Found You Yet, romantic This Could Be Love and lively title track.

Dance With Me is another floor-filler although it's hard not to smile at the line "If you're sexy and you know it, clap your hands".

There are a few other cheesy lyrics but maybe that shows Blue don't take themselves too seriously and are just enjoying life which comes across in all 10 tracks.



THE latest indie-pop offering by identical twins Tegan and Sara unearths the duo's innermost feelings, but comes without any standout songs.

On their 10th studio album Crybaby, the Canadians bring together their typically subversive songwriting style with an openness also seen in their 2019 memoir High School.

The near-constant presence of a low, heavy beat throughout the album, and frequent electronic background vocals, represents the layers of concealment adopted by the women to hide away their vulnerabilities.

Overcoming these concerns becomes the central focus of many of these songs, which feature lyrics that seem to bubble up from below.

But despite having the ingredients for a genuinely moving piece of work, Crybaby includes too many tracks lacking in dynamism and variety.

Much of Crybaby fails to differentiate itself from its indie-pop contemporaries, and the record feels a little like a missed opportunity.