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Mace & Crown | March 21, 2018

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Monarch Music Minute: Tori Amos, Living Colour, Dustin Lynch

Adam Flores | Senior Writer

Tori Amos – ‘Native Invader’ 💿💿💿💿💿

Courtesy Tori Amos

Tori Amos’ painful past as a victim of rape has been the cornerstone of her music. The classically trained turned pop/rock musician has released “Native Invader,” her 15th studio LP. The mezzo-soprano singer is known for her musical explorations of sexuality, feminism, politics and religion. “Native Invader” continues this trope with a focus on the present Trump-era state.

With songs such as “Broken Arrow” and “Up the Creek,” Amos is straightforward and critical in her evaluation of how our nation is engaging under the Trump presidency. “Broken Arrow’s” haunting chorus, “Rash and reckless won’t get us to / Where we want to be / Are we emancipators or oppressors / Of lady liberty?,” defines the sign of our times.

“Native Invader’s” title signifies turmoil from within and the perfect thesis for Amos’ urgent voice through the 13-track narrative. “Breakaway” showcases her emotively beautiful piano ballad aura as she melancholically states, “Inner conflicts now reign / Their intent: division till / There is no side to take.

If there was ever a time for Amos’ voice to assess and reflect on our present day condition, she has responded at the right time with an album that masterfully showcases her musical vision.

Stream the album on Spotify here.

Living Colour – ‘Shade’ 💿💿💿💿💿

Courtesy LC25 Productions

New York rock conglomerate Living Colour continue to offer their brand of eclectic rock musings with “Shade.” It is their sixth studio effort and first since 2009’s “The Chair in the Doorway.”

Appropriately titled, “Shade” delivers different hues of what the band has been known for since they burst on the rock/metal scene back in 1988 with their debut disc, “Vivid.”

As an African-American rock band, Living Colour still addresses racial injustice within rock and metal giving awareness to the reality of musical typecasts present to this day. “Program” incites their anthemic “I can say what I wanna, unidentified / I don’t care how you feel / It’s my agenda, I do what I want, do what I want / I don’t care who I upset.”

Though “Program” references the information war in the world today, it conflates the issues of racism and discrimination with the information battle in media.

Lead track “Freedom of Expression (F.O.X.)” sets the pace for an invigorating 13-track ride led by frontman Corey Glover’s brazen vocal prowess and guitarist Vernon Reid’s incendiary guitar chops.

“Shade” is a welcome addition to the rock/metal set boldly crossing the borders of race and genre stereotypes with no fear.

Stream the album on Spotify here.

Dustin Lynch– ‘Current Mood’ 💿💿💿💿

Courtesy Broken Bow Records

Tullahoma, Tennessee-native Dustin Lynch’s third studio compilation, “Current Mood,” further establishes the country singer as a major force in contemporary country. Singles “Seein’ Red” and “Small Town Boy” were previously released in anticipation of the new record, which contains 13 highly polished tracks showcasing Dustin’s infusion of traditional and contemporary country elements.

“State Lines” talks of continuing to feel the love in a relationship over long distances. “New Girl” tells of never settling for second best in a relationship. “Wish You Were Beer” relates to the hope that getting over a relationship is as fast as recovering from a hangover.

Lead track “I’d Be Jealous Too,” “Party Song” and power ballad “Back On It” cross over into pop music’s production vibe.

“Love Me or Leave Me Alone” features Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town briefly visiting the traditional country sound: raw and appealing.

Lynch takes us on a journey opening up to listeners and fans in ways he hasn’t before. Aside from his superb lyrical approach and voice, a more downhome approach in instrumentation and musical arrangements along with fewer elements in overall production could have made this collective a classic representation of the mood that is the current Nashville sound.

Stream the album on Spotify here.

Rating System:

– Face palm. 💿
– Eh… 💿💿
– We’re getting there. 💿💿💿
– I’ll listen to it twice, even. 💿💿💿💿
– Hell yes! 💿💿💿💿💿