Spellbinding performance of a career-defining record: Corinne Rae Bailey, at Ladbroke Hall, reviewed

You won’t see two more contrasting shows this year than Corinne Bailey Rae performing her album Black Rainbows and Brian Eno presenting work with a symphony orchestra. One had music that did everything; one had music that did very little. But both were overwhelming and filled with joy of rather different kinds. When Bailey Rae last made an album, in 2016, it was gentle, tasteful, soulful R&B, the kind the young professional couple in a prestige Netflix drama listen to before their lives are overturned by a vengeful nanny. Black Rainbows,by contrast, from earlier this year, was an abrupt embrace of everything: from scuzzy garage punk to psychedelic soul to

How Trojan Records conquered the world

When Trojan Records attempted to break into the United States music market in the early 1970s, it hit an insurmountable barrier: the company shared its name with America’s most popular brand of condom. ‘It was a case of commercial coitus interruptus,’ says Rob Bell, at the time the label’s production manager. In America, Trojan signified rubber, not vinyl. The label proved to have greater staying power in the UK, where it was at the forefront of popularising Jamaican music. Founded in 1968 as a joint venture between Chris Blackwell’s Island Records and Lee Gopthal’s Beat & Commercial, from a Willesden warehouse Trojan introduced the music of Desmond Dekker, Lee Perry,

Tom Jones is as nuanced a vocalist as Ian Paisley

Grade: C Revisionism has been extraordinarily kind to Tom Jones, ever since he barked his way through Prince’s ‘Kiss’ with the kind of subtlety you might expect from someone who is about to nut you in the mouth. That enormous fruity bellow is one part threat, one part music hall. He was repackaged as someone whose roots supposedly lay in R&B, but I don’t remember Sam Cooke singing ‘It’s Not Unusual’ or ‘What’s New, Pussycat?’. What Tom does, with everything, is belt it out, with bombast and bravado and the faint whiff of faggots and peas. He is as nuanced a vocalist as the late Revd Ian Paisley. This, his

The rancid meanderings of a long-spent wankpuffin: Justin Bieber’s Changes reviewed

Grade: D– For my first review of popular music releases in 2020 I thought I’d deposit this large vat of crap over your heads. This is the fifth album from Canada’s androgynous, tattooed bratlette — purveyor of corporate trap dross to the world’s pre-pubescent thots, skanks and wannabe hos. Trouble is, even for the dumbest of the world’s unter-mädchens, Bieber’s schtick has long since worn a little thin. So his new album is called Changes, which is the only echo of David Bowie you will find within. But as Justin puts it on the title track: ‘Tho I’m goin thru changes, don’t mean that I’ll change.’ No indeed, well put.