When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
In the digital age, it is possible to have a career before your debut album is even released? From her viral start in 2015, the dark, evocative pop of Eilish has been a constant on YouTube and streaming services. Just 17, Eilish has written an album of emotional wrenching songs that are quiet but forceful. Her R&B-ish delivery and underpinnings are cut with some giant confessional leaps in lyrics. With 800,000 pre-saves on Apple Music, Eilish is poised to push all the more elaborate, showy singers out of pole position by summer.
[LP/CD](Transmit South/Thirty Tigers)
Jay Farrar's career post-Uncle Tupelo has been one of ups and downs. However, as he grows older, he retains glorious control of a sound that is uniquely his. "Union" is brighter, bolder and less bluesy than 2017's stellar "Notes of Blue." This is his Cosmic American Music. "Devil May Care" is reminiscent of the classic Los Angeles roots renaissance, while the rumbling "The 99" feels like revisiting "Straightaways."
In fact, this is his strongest version of Son Volt since they burst through the gate with the now-classic "Trace" in 1995.
On his second "tribute" record, Steve Earle pays homage to another of his songwriting idols. As a mentor to Earle, hearing his phrasing on these should-have-been classics will summon some tears. These songs are made for covering (and he has previously been covered by Alan Jackson, Jimmy Buffett, Bobby Bare and Ricky Skaggs). However, in Earle's gruff embrace, they serve as a reminder that the best songwriters are true craftsmen who do more than write songs – they spin universal stories.
Canada's pop Americana answer to the Lumineers returns for round two. While "Hope" was more of that modern jangly, anthemic singalong rock, "Salvation" sees the group amp up the big beats and coat their woah-oh-oh's in a glistening pop sheen. After cranking out a couple of sure-fire singles, at least the verses feature some of that familiar acoustic guitar scratch.