The Washington Post

Chvrches, Alan Jackson, Asia Argento: Critic’s Notebook

Notable recordings from the world of pop music.


Lauren Mayberry of Scottish electro-pop trio Chvrches performs at Virgin Mobile FreeFest.

Chvrches

This Scottish electro-pop trio has charmed the American indie congnoscenti, but its icy-sleek debut album, “The Bones of What You Believe,” feels more like a shot across the bow of the Disney Entertainment Industrial Complex. That’s largely because 20-something lead singer Lauren Mayberry sings in the voice of a stung tweenager, but can still emote with a sophistication that should speak to bruised hearts of all ages.

Alan Jackson

When Alan Jackson releases something as humble and handsome as “The Bluegrass Album,” he’s doing more than shoring up his cred as country’s highest-grossing traditionalist. He’s also flaunting his ability to bend an entire genre to his will, slowing the breakneck tempos of bluegrass down to a leisurely stroll – and without breaking anything resembling a sweat.

Asia Argento

“Total Entropy” – the debut album from the daughter of Italian slasher-flick auteur Dario Argento – is actually a 12-year-old, 17-track collage of discheveled torch songs, hallucinogenic Serge Gainsbourg tributes and itchy dance tracks about sex, mortality and breakfast foods. Sung mostly in Argento’s androgynous, cigarette-scorched rasp, it’s funny and frightening in a way that so many dreams are and so many albums are not.

Chris Richards is The Washington Post's pop music critic. He has recently written about the best recordings and lyrics of 2015.
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