see my post below
Phoenix - Ti Amo
It's Phoenix. and has the same strengths and weaknesses of all their albums. They continue their trend of short albums with simple pop songs and continue their trend of each album having 2 or 3 A-level songs mixed with a bunch of nice B-range stuff. This album takes a romantic-electronic dance music angle to it that is kind of new and I like but it's still distinctly them. I feel once this band has a few more albums under their belt and puts out a greatest hits it will completely replace all their albums and be one of the best compilations by a 00s-era band.
Lorde - Melodrama
An improvement on her debut in every way. She reminds me a bit of Kate Bush on some of the more oddball moments. She's still very much trying to toe the mainstream line here but I get the impression that she could really let loose with something more adventurous if she wanted and I hope she gets to that point in the future. As it is right now she's like the soul of Adele (yet she's not boring) crossed with the hooks of Taylor Swift (yet she's not a soulless automaton). And that makes for a good mix.
Big Boi - Boomiverse
I really liked Big Boi's first two solo albums. I wasn't as into the one he did with Phantogram but I thought this would return to the style of those two solo albums. This isn't very good though. Dumb hooks, bad guest spots, mediocre beats, awkward lyrics. Very weak effort. However there's a big exception with the song "All Night" which is such a dippy fun-in-the-summer type of pop song I can't help but love it and I've played it more times then all the other songs on this album combined. It's got a rinky-dink piano hook that makes me think of that Mungo Jerry "In The Summertime" song. It has exactly zero street cred and is perhaps vaguely embarrassing but I like it a lot.
Beach Boys - Sunshine Tomorrow
This RULES. If you're a Beach Boys fan get this. The stereo mix of Wild Honey sounds absolutely fantastic. Totally alters the sound of the album but in great ways. The rest of disc 1 and a big part of disc 2 contains highlights from the Wild Honey sessions and the Smiley Smile sessions. So it basically functions as the continuation of the Smile Sessions and you can hear the band's attempts to continue on after scrapping Smile come together. A few unreleased songs in various levels of completeness are here too. And we can't complain about another version of "Can't Wait Too Long" i love that song in all it's various iterations.
We also get songs from both attempts at recording the Lei'd In Hawaii album which was never released back in the day. It's pretty obvious why they didn't want to release it at the time, the show is full of weirdly stilted performances, but its historical importance to the band and the fact that they never sounded quite like this on any other live recordings makes it a very interesting listen. There's some live stuff from other shows that's pretty good too.
Also the version of Surf's Up on here is the same as the 1967 version on The Smile Sessions except for more including studio chatter. so don't get your hopes up too much (though if you havent heard this version before definitely make an effort to do so since it's fantastic).
Prince - Purple Rain Deluxe Expanded Edition
This also RULES if you're a Prince fan you need this. the 2nd disc is all previous unreleased and I don't know how widespread these songs were on bootlegs or if most of this is truly previously unheard, but either way most of this is awesome. And how could it not be? this is Purple Rain era Prince, he could record himself taking a dump and it would have been a funk-pop masterpiece. Now for the most part I wouldn't say these songs are better than the best songs on Purple Rain, the tracklist of that album is just too darn impeccable for that to be the case. But there's still plenty of great stuff here. That classic prince sound is in full effect, the hooks are catchy. What more can you ask for? I don't know if those extended jam songs need to be that long, but hey the grooves are great so I'm not complaining.
The 3rd disc has some single edits and B-sides. the full-length version of Lets Go Crazy (from the movie) is here and that's great. the B-sides here are fantastic, they don't count as unreleased material obviously but they've always been hard to get ahold of and shouldn't be overlooked since they're great. I hate when bonus tracks sequence the same song multiple times in a row in different versions and this disc is guilty of that. I'd say pick your fav version of each of the b-sides and alt-mixes and put them into a playlist with disc 2's outtakes for the ideal listening experience. Or maybe combine your favs with the main Purple Rain songs and turn it into an awesome double album.
A big mistake on the part of Prince's estate IMO, was putting all this out as bonus tracks though. They should have done what the Michael Jackson people did with his posthumous albums and put the unreleased stuff out as proper albums with singles and music videos and everything. Prince is a big enough deal that a new vintage Prince single could be a big hit if it was promoted right. If Michael Jackson's "Love Never Felt So Good" was a posthumous hit then one of the songs on here could have been a posthumous hit too. It's amazing that this even came out at all. GIVE US MORE. I want complete outtakes from every 80s Prince album dang it!
Ex Eye - Ex Eye
Saxophone prog-metal. First song reminded me of king crimson. a few sections are a bit too post-rock for my taste just layering big noisy metal soundscapes. But for the most part this is a great listen. My favourite recent metal album I've heard for sure.
Brockhampton - Saturation
I posted about this band last Spinning thread. My fav rap album of 2017 by far and they've already announced a follow-up merely a couple months later which I'm now really looking forward to.
Fleet Foxes - Crack Up
this album is has grown on me a lot. but it's such an difficult listen I don't think I'll have fully cracked it for a while. There's a great Song Exploder episode about the song "Mearcstapa" which I highly recommend. helped me dig into a lot of the approach that the album was going for.
Phil Collins - A Hot Night in Paris
HOLY SHIT IT'S A GOOD PHIL COLLINS ALBUM MY SEARCH HAS PAID OFF. Phil is behind the drum kit the entire time and doesn't sing at all. The general formula here is a Collins or Genesis hit rearranged for this Big Band approach. The vocal lines are mostly covered by the horns which gets a bit formulaic, but it's not really a problem. All the pop hits are pretty radically transformed so it's not at all as lame as you might expect from seeing "Sussudio" and "Invisible Touch" on the tracklist. Even "Hold on My Heart" is good in this version YES REALLY.
They do a fantastic extended version of "Pick Up The Pieces" by Average White Band, a version of "Milestones". And it's got that terrific version of Lost Endos. The band is super tight, the performances are great, Collins is clearly having a blast on the drums here. Too bad this was basically a one-off. I'd have loved to hear Collins continuing in this direction.