B+ Snoop Dogg
Bible of Love
A humble, peace-loving, family-centered Snoop Dogg emerges on the 32-track double album Bible of Love.
"I'm just a nobody trying to tell everybody about somebody who can save anybody," he raps in one song. On another: "The devil will show up/But we're going to keep on doing God's work/Yes, sir/Rebuke the devil."
Snoop doesn't perform on every track, preferring to showcase outstanding gospel performers such as The Clark Sisters, John P. Kee and Kim Burrell. Powerhouses Tye Tribbett's infectious "You" makes hearts race, and K-Ci's voice flutters like a butterfly on "No One Else."
When Snoop drops in, his nasally, precise, laconic flow works in beautiful counterpoint to gospel stars such as Rance Allen (a funky "Blessing Me Again") and B. Slade, who teams up with Snoop on the stunning "Words Are Few."
Some big music names have joined rap's doggfather, including Faith Evans (the show-stopping "Saved"), Charlie Wilson (the foot-stomping "One More Day") and Patti LaBelle, on a spirited "When It's All Over").
Bible of Love also shows off an elastic, big-tent version of gospel that can include flavors of soul, blues and R&B. Adding rap makes perfect sense.
Hot tracks: "Saved," "When It's All Over," "Blessing Me Again," "Words Are Few"
-- MARK KENNEDY
The Associated Press
B- Stone Temple Pilots
Stone Temple Pilots
When Stone Temple Pilots were rolling out grunge-tinged rock hits in the '90s, you could depend on the DeLeo brothers' raucous guitar work and singer Scott Weiland's unpredictability.
With Stone Temple Pilots -- the band's first album in eight years and its first since the deaths of Weiland and his replacement Chester Bennington -- Dean DeLeo's guitar riffs and the rhythm section of bassist Robert DeLeo and drummer Eric Kretz are as solid as ever. But something's missing.
That's not to put the blame on new singer Jeff Gutt, best known for his two stints on The X Factor, who has a strong voice and his own style. But the combination just doesn't have the same spark.
The new STP starts off well with "Middle of Nowhere," built on a massive wall of guitars and thunderous drums. Gutt's soaring vocals nicely play off Dean DeLeo's wailing guitar solos in "Guilty." The first single "Meadow" has plenty of grungy swagger and Gutt hits some Weiland-esque notes, but it never catches fire. Maybe it's the sweet harmonies and the mention of sunshine?
Oddly enough, the band seems to fare better when it sounds least like STP. The acoustic jangle of "Thought She'd Be Mine" sounds more like the '90s psychedelic pop of Jellyfish than the guys who did "Sex Type Thing." "The Art of Letting Go" conjures up '80s power ballads. Nothing wrong with that vein, especially when it results in catchy songs like "Finest Hour," but it's not quite on par with the heights of "Interstate Love Song."
The band is moving past its years of tumult and loss; maybe it's only natural that they gravitate toward more sweetness and peace.
Hot tracks: "Middle of Nowhere," "Thought She'd Be Mine"
-- GLENN GAMBOA
C Lil Yachty
Lil Boat 2
When Lil Yachty came on the scene as the Instagram prince of bubblegum trap rap, his music was sweet, silly and tinny. His mumbled fuzzy rhymes found focus (when focus was to be found; song structure and convergence aren't his thing) in X-Men, Xbox, cotton candy and "Peek a Boo." For all this warm, dippy weirdness -- and catchy tunes with an irresistibly slippery flow -- Yachty won platinum-plated status and a brand ambassadorship for youthful effusion and good guy-ishness.
Two years of mixtapes and "Teenage Emotions" later, Yachty -- at age 20 -- has lost the keen of teendom and replaced it with a chilly, more calculated synth-sound and an often unflattering sense of braggadocio. Though "Boom" and "Oops" (featuring 2 Chainz and K Supreme) are as charming and gooey as anything in Boat's saccharine past, "Get Money Bros" and "She Ready" are bitter and braggy in a boring adult fashion. Rather than having fun, all he seems to care about is cash. "I ain't here to conversate if it ain't about a dollar," he croon-raps on "Count Me In." Yachty could use a sugar rush to get his groove back.
Hot tracks: "Boom," "Oops"
-- A.D. AMOROSI
The Philadelphia Inquirer (TNS)
B+ Various artists
Debussy: Peaceful Piano
Claude Debussy wrote one of the most familiar and beloved of classical melodies -- the lovely, cascading "Clair de lune." Or, as he titled it, Suite begamasque: 3. Clair de lune.
No wonder it's the lead track on this two-CD compilation, a "greatest hits" of sorts, here played with depth and feeling by pianist Seong-Jin Cho.
Debussy's spacious, atmospheric and often meditative compositions have influenced jazz and New Age pianists and modern composers of minimalism and impressionistic works.
Peaceful Piano, released in observance of the centennial of the French composer's death, is aptly named. It mixes veteran Debussy interpreters (including Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli and Jean-Yves Thibaudet) with younger players (such as Seong-Jin Cho, Helene Grimaud) on Debussy favorites such as Preludes, Livre I: 1. Danseuses de Delphes [The Dancers of Delfi]), "Reverie") and Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune [Prelude to the afternoon of a faun].
Peaceful it may be, but the set is not without occasional dynamics and drama as Rafal Blechacz's intense Pour le piano: 2 Sarabande proves.
Hot tracks: all, especially "Clair de lune."
-- ELLIS WIDNER
Style on 03/27/2018
Print Headline: Snoop Dogg gives Gospel a go with impressive Bible