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25 February 2024

Two male singers and a side project

Elvis Presley (SUPPLIED)

By Miranda Smith

There's a little bit of everything for everyone this week, with releases from legendary artists to the experimental, and one young man, who's probably known for another incident other than his music. Will his latest effort make him regain the public's faith? Read on.

Elvis 75: Good Rockin' Tonight by Elvis Presley: Elvis Presley has been gone for more than 30 years, but he lives on in what's become the music industry's most exhaustive reissue series. It seems like every anniversary of the King eating a peanut butter and banana sandwich is reason to dip into the vaults, but occasionally the sonic spelunking yields something worthwhile; the new Elvis 75: Good Rockin' Tonight is one of them.

The four-disc package – commemorating what would have been Presley's 75th birthday on January 8 – offers an overview that hits all the right marks, including every one of his 30 chart-topping singles.

It also trolls deep enough to appease the aficionados looking for Presley's first recording (1953's My Happiness) and less-celebrated but still noteworthy tracks, like his version of the Orioles' Crying in the Chapel, Bob Dylan's Tomorrow Is a Long Time, and Joe Babcock's I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water.

All 100 tracks have been previously released, but the sound is crisp and bright. And the inclusion of Junkie XL's A Little Less Conversation remix from 2002 is a nice touch.

Blakroc by Blakroc: Considering the Black Keys' shimmering blues-rock, few would have guessed that the duo would spark a revival of rap rock.

Blakroc, the group's rap-leaning side project, is a surprising foray for members Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney. But the pair's adept knowledge of hip-hop aesthetics on its self-titled album is even more shocking.

Mixing nasty guitar leads with cavernous beats, the Black Keys have crafted a dark, sprawling opus that's convincing in its commitment to a unique sound. Stellar guest spots by Jim Jones and Raekwon certainly don't hurt matters.

Graffiti by Chris Brown: Some still question whether Chris Brown can regain his career footing, but his third album, Graffiti, is a solid step in that direction. Brown co-wrote the majority of the album, a forward-moving fusion of R&B, pop, rock and Euro-dance.

He still knows how to party: In addition to single I Can Transform Ya, he cuts loose on the pumping What I Do and the disco-etched Pass Out.

Switching gears, the singer taps into his R&B/pop origins on Sing Like Me and Take My Time. Brown brings his vocal skills to the forefront as he navigates the depths of lost love and redemption on the poignant ballad Crawl and the revealing Fallin Down.

While listeners can't help but be reminded of his fall from grace, Brown also shows us on Graffiti that he's still a formidable talent.

All albums are out now from Dh65


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