Us Weekly entertainment director Ian Drew reviewed two of this month’s most anticipated music releases: Gwen Stefani’s This Is What The Truth Feels Like and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ This Unruly Mess I’ve Made.
Last week, No Doubt frontwoman Stefani, 46, discussed her first solo album in nearly a decade (out Friday) with the New York Times, telling the newspaper, “I’m not going to say I’m not still picking up the pieces and every day isn’t a challenge. I’m still in shock. But it’s an awesome time.”
Meanwhile, Seattle rapper Macklemore explained his comments about Iggy Azalea and Miley Cyrus in his recently released disc’s closing track, “White Privilege II,” to Rolling Stone, saying, “I think that people get put into boxes, and the conversation around cultural appropriation — I was at the forefront of that, rightfully so. And that conversation also included Miley Cyrus and Iggy Azalea, and that's why their names are on the record."
Here's what fans can expect to hear on both new albums:
This Is What The Truth Feels Like
3 stars (out of 4)
Gwen Stefani is in a good place. Loaded with lines such as “now you’re all I see” and “thank you, for saving me,” her third solo disc is primarily one giant pledge of devotion to new love Blake Shelton.
As expected, Stefani also lobs a few grenades at ex Gavin Rossdale, charging in the searing “Red Flag” that “you spend the check before it even hits the bank.” Production-wise, her pop grooves show less ingenuity than her previous work. Guess she has other priorities now.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
This Unruly Mess I’ve Made
2.5 stars (out of 4)
It won’t have the same runaway success as 2012’s Grammy-sweeping The Heist, but this duo’s follow-up has its moments. “Growing Up” (featuring Ed Sheeran) is a wonderfully pensive open letter to Macklemore’s 10-month-old daughter, Sloane, in which the rapper vows to decrease his workload to avoid becoming only “a dad that’s living in FaceTime.” And they issue an astute thesis on race in “White Privilege II,” acknowledging their own appropriation of black culture while targeting Iggy Azalea. On the whole, though, the effort isn’t worth more than a couple of spins.
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