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story.lead_photo.caption Album cover for Lydia Loveless' "Boy Crazy and Single(s)"

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Lydia Loveless

Boy Crazy and Single(s)

Bloodshot

Ohio-based singer-songwriter Lydia Loveless has a special touch with stories about messed-up relationships, desperation and dead ends. In her songs there's almost always someone doing something they shouldn't and regretting it later. She's a genius at capturing buzzed, late-night lust and the self-loathing that comes with the light of day.

But she's just as good at extolling the thrills of young love/desire and good-looking dudes in baseball uniforms, which is the gist of "Boy Crazy," the title cut from her five-song, 2013 EP, which is included here in full along with six nonalbum B-sides.

For those who missed the EP the first time around, now is a good time to investigate. It's a nice dose of Loveless' strengths -- heartache ("All the Time"), poppy vulnerability ("All I Know") and joyful sexiness (the title cut). The rest of this collection, a sort of placeholder followup to last year's excellent Real, gathers assorted Loveless nuggets.

The B-sides include the wickedly honest "Mile High," the honky-tonkish "Falling Out of Love" and lovely versions of Kesha's "Blind" and Elvis Costello's "Alison." Perhaps the best of the covers, though, is her pleading take on Prince's "I Would Die 4 U." Loveless injects an element of longing that strengthens her take on the classic.

Hot tracks: "Boy Crazy," "I Would Die 4 U," "Mile High," "All I Know," "Come Over"

-- SEAN CLANCY

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

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Macklemore

Gemini

Bendo LLC

It feels wrong to say Macklemore's latest solo album, Gemini, is better than This Unruly Mess I've Made, his 2016 project released with collaborator Ryan Lewis. That album saw Macklemore reflecting on dissecting white privilege, addressing police brutality, confronting the music industry.

The end result was neither fun nor easy to listen to, but Gemini is. That's thanks in no small part to a long list of the new set's featured guests, whose good-time vibes seem to put Macklemore back in the space that gave way to his and Lewis' 2012 smash single "Thrift Shop."

Undoubtedly, that song put Macklemore "in Obama's iPod" as the rapper boasts on the delightfully off-kilter "Willy Wonka," featuring Migos rapper Offset. There's the sticky sweet "Marmalade" with Lil Yachty, with its "Chopsticks"-esque piano and playful lyrics.

Macklemore's ruminating is limited to lighter fare, like on the guitar-driven "Intentions," where he runs down a laundry list of to-dos he has been falling short on.

So as it turns out, Macklemore is a regular dude who misses his youth, as on the starry, piano-driven "Good Old Days" featuring Kesha. He notices when his ex deletes photos from Instagram "like history didn't happen if we can't see it," as he raps on "Over It" featuring singer Donna Missal.

Macklemore may have stayed away from the heavy messages. But with everything going on the world, some fans might say Gemini is the perfect feel-good distraction.

Hot tracks: "Willy Wonka," "Good Old Days," "Over It"

-- MELANIE J. SIMS

AP

Album cover for Macklemore's "Gemini"

Style on 10/17/2017

Print Headline: Loveless is Boy Crazy; Macklemore lightens up

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