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October 21, 2020

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Icon music review: Taylor Swift's Folklore

While unlikely to go down as the artist’s best album, there is more than enough creativity, artistry, and variety to keep the Swifties happy

Folklore-Taylor Swift
Reviewed by Craig Hoffman

Country and pop-crossover megastar Taylor Swift dropped Folklore her eighth studio album in July. The indie-folk style record was written and recorded by Swift while in quarantine. The artist did her best to stay productive in 2020 despite chaos in the world.

“Most of the things I had planned this summer didn’t end up happening, but there is something I hadn’t planned on that DID happen…” Swift wrote. “And that thing is my 8th studio album, folklore [sic]. Surprise.”  

Icon book review: The Hollows

Journey back to 1926 Ohio, Bronwyn County, and solve a questionable death

Review by Robert McCool
Journey back to 1926 Ohio, Bronwyn County, and solve a questionable death.

Ah, summer. The visceral sun, the weight of humidity. Why not cozy up and chill out in 1926 in the rural Bronwyn County and the Appalachian time of coal country?

In her second book based  in this location, Jess Montgomery(The Widows) blesses us with a gem of a story in “The Hollows” (Minotaur Books, ISBN 978-1-250-18454-2).

Icon music review: There’s a lot here to like if not completely love

The Chicks' “Gaslighter” is a powerful anthem full of hope and strong vocals

Gaslighter-The Chicks
Reviewed by Craig Hoffman

Gaslighter is the eighth studio album by American country music group The Chicks. It was released on July 17, 2020, by Columbia Records. It is the first work issued by the group since their name change from the Dixie Chicks.

The band changed their name to The Chicks after the group received criticism for being tacitly connected to American slavery.  “We were literally teenagers when we picked that stupid name,” said founding group member Martie Maguire, talking about when the Dixie Chicks name was selected back in 1989.

Icon movie review: Palm Springs enters like a breath of fresh air

Clocking at 90 minutes, it is a fun romp that might make you think a little. If nothing else, it’s possibly the best direct-to-video movie we could have hoped for in quarantine

Around the world, people have been practicing varying levels of social distancing since March. Movie theaters closed in mid-March and in some cases have reopened slowly, but with a dearth of new films to offer customers. Major studio releases, particularly TENET, have been pushed back, or in limited cases movies like TROLLS: WORLD TOUR were released directly to Video-on-Demand (VOD).

The summer movie season has seen a drought of good new movies.

Music review: The Album (Teyana Taylor album)- Teyana Taylor

American singer Teyana Taylor debuted her new album in June.

The Album (Teyana Taylor album)- Teyana Taylor
American singer Teyana Taylor debuted her new album in June. 

Reviewed by Craig Hoffman
She stars in the VH1 reality television show Teyana and Iman, with her husband, NBA player Iman Shumpert. Taylor got an early start in the music business at age 15 as the choreographer on Beyoncé’s popular single, “Ring the Alarm.”

She is credited on this current work as a producer along with several others, including Timbaland and Kayne West. 

Book review: Read this book and never look at a tree in the same old way again

This Pulitzer Prize winning novel will plant seeds long after it's over

Review by Robert McCool
Richard Powers' (Gain, The Goldbug Variations) 11th novel is titled “The Overstory”, ISBN 978393635522, and it displays his powerful storytelling in  his best effort to date.

Barbara Kingsolver (The Poison Bible; Unsheltered,a Novel) has called the book, “Monumental.... A gigantic fable of genuine truths.”