You might be tempted to buy your friends or loved ones some new music or videos just in time for the holidays. Before you do, let us help you separate the worthy from the waste of money with our Tuesday Taste.
D'Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah.
With a gap between albums that would make Axl Rose blush, D'Angelo is finally back on the scene with new music, and people are pretty excited about it
. At one point — around 1995 when his debut Voodoo
took the world by storm — he was considered the baddest man in R&B and neo-soul. Will people still care about him in 2014? They probably should, judging by the sound of this one called "Really Love." I recommend you skip the first 1:30 of intro to get to the goods:
The Kinks, The Anthology 1964-1971.
The Brit-pop pioneers are criminally under-appreciated, and this five-disc set of their early years is a great introduction to a band who should be held in the same esteem of the Beatles, the Stones and the Who. They wrote "You Really Got Me," dammit! And this great tune:
Charli XCX, Sucker.
The British star's sophomore album brings a bit of rock riffage to the mix that matches well with her snotty attitude, a nice contrast to the princess-like propriety of Ms. Swift's brand of pop. If you're looking for something for a young pop music fan, this can work:
MOVIES & TV
The mainstream releases that will garner most of the attention of less-discerning film fans this week include the latest Woody Allen flick, Magic in the Moonlight
, which got raked over pretty good by critics
for its hard to believe chemistry (or lack thereof) between the 54-year-old Colin Firth and 26-year-old Emma Stone. Bad Woody can be very
bad. The Maze Runner
is another wannabe dystopian-future teen flick, so if you haven't had your fill of those yet, go to town. And, of course, there's the reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
out on vid today, but the less said about that, the better.
If you're looking for something with a bit more to offer, though, consider these flicks:
The Skeleton Twins
features long-time Saturday Night Live
co-stars Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, but this story of estranged twins forced into a reunion offers more drama than you might expect, along with some laughs. You might never look at Hader as merely "Stefon" anymore. Here's the trailer:
This Is Where I Leave You
is a slam-dunk on paper. Based on a best-selling novel by Jonathan Tropper, it stars an unbelievable cast including Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda and Adam Driver. The actual film isn't all that it could have been
, often leaving its cast with too little to do, but there are moments when it lives up to its potential — particularly when Driver is on screen. Here's a look: