Critic’s Notebook: Danielle Bradbery, Lil St. Louis, Rutherford Chang


Country newcomer Danielle Bradbery got her start on “The Voice.” (Courtesy of Big Machine Records)

Notable recordings from the world of pop music.

Danielle Bradbery

The road to country-music stardom is lined with 10,000 open-mike nights — unless you’re lucky enough to kick-start your singing career on reality television.

It worked for Carrie “ ‘American Idol’ winner” Underwood. It worked for Kellie “ ‘American Idol’ loser” Pickler. And now it’s working for Danielle Bradbery, a 17-year-old Texan who won “The Voice” last summer.

The best songs on Bradbery’s eponymous debut album either mimic Kacey Musgraves’s small-town claustrophobia (“The Heart of Dixie,” “Young in America”) or tap the smart melodies of songwriter Sarah Buxton (“Endless Summer,” “Yellin’ From the Rooftop”). And while Bradbery has a voice that’s sweet and assertive, she has room to grow. She’s no Miranda “third place on ‘Nashville Star’ ” Lambert. Not yet.

Lil St. Louis

Keenly aware of his resources, this Missouri rapper refuses to waste his breath — or our time. Check out the title track of his exciting and ornery new mix tape, “Young & Reckless,” where he repeatedly truncates the word “reckless” to “reck-leh.” His grim street narratives are nothing new, but as an editor, this guy is a shrewd micro-manager. What gets left out is what keeps us listening for what’s next.

Warning: This song contains explicit lyrics.

Rutherford Chang

Every Black Friday sends fresh ripples of Beatlemania across the universe. But this year, there’s no need to blow your holiday budget on a pricey boxed set when you can simply send loved ones a link to Rutherford Chang’s “Side 1 x 100.”

The conceptual artist has enjoyed a flare of attention for the recording, which layers the sounds of 100 vinyl copies of the “White Album” on top of one another. The music starts as one coherent chorus, but as different pressings begin to slide out of sync, the pile-on gets noisy. And fascinating.

By “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” the music sounds like a recent Paul McCartney concert spilling out of an urban stadium, echoing off neighboring skyscrapers. And by the time it reaches “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” it’s My Bloody Valentine in hysterics.

Chris Richards became the Post's pop music critic in 2009. He has covered D.I.Y. house shows, White House concerts, go-go and Gaga.
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Veronica Toney · November 25, 2013