This year, Christmas appears to be the music-filled gift that keeps giving. Who knew that, after a year of being everywhere, what was needed was another spin on this immensely popular Hollywood musical? From sing-a-long cinema screenings, school plays to this new take on the soundtrack, it seems we just can't get enough of The Greatest Showman.

The Reimagined album is just that: popular artists putting their own spins on the most popular tracks. Opening with Panic! At The Disco and their rip-roaring The Greatest Show, Brendon Urie's vocals soar - this really is his thing - followed by Pink and A Million Dreams (and the sweetest guest spot by her daughter Willow in the Reprise). It's also fabulous to hear from Kesha with an emotional performance of This Is Me, as well as a remix of the original with Missy Elliott.

There isn't a weak cover on this album, and it's hard to choose between both versions of the Greatest Show: Panic's or Pentatonix, where it is so easy to forget that there are no instruments involved. The five-piece a capella group have such rich tones, it's shameful they don't get more air time.


(Review by Rachel Howdle)


Mischievousness abounds in the lightly sardonic opening track to Amy Rigby's first album in 12 years. The American singer-songwriter, otherwise known for working in a duo with her husband Wreckless Eric, opens with the unusually-titled From philiproth@gmail to, an imaginary email from the late Philip Roth, one of America's most revered novelists to Bob Dylan, who won the Nobel Prize that many thought should have been Roth's. It's full of thuddy bass and cutting lyrics like "As you step out onto the Nobel stage, spare a thought for the man who labours on the page".

Rigby is best described, in the most simplistic form, as a modern, female Tom Petty type. Her music makes you feel. It digs deep into your soul with its fantastically inventive lyrics about desperation but also hope, and its grungy, dirty, slightly sticky guitar-heavy and kind of country-esque sound. Her observational writing is apparent on every single track from the punchy Playing Pittsburgh to New Sheriff, on which she refers to herself as Breaking Bad's antihero Walter White. A true masterpiece.


(Review by Lucy Mapstone)


Bryan Ferry has sometimes been guilty of fetishising the past. But this is no bad thing. His recent excursions into the roots of jazz have seen him reinterpret his old standards as free-wheeling jazz instrumentals. This might sound self-indulgent but the former Roxy Music leader, 73, is at his most forward-thinking when he's looking back.

Inspired by his work on the soundtrack of the Sky Atlantic/Netflix series Babylon Berlin, Ferry now embarks on a comprehensive reinterpretation of his back catalogue through the lens of jazz. Slap bang at the centre of Germany's post-World War One Weimar Republic, Berlin Babylon tells a tale of police and pornographers set against the backdrop of Berlin's 1920s jazz scene. And despite Ferry's clearly retrospective aim, Bitter-Sweet feels incredibly fresh - a testimony to the sheer modernity of jazz.

His music bends itself to the free-flowing feel of the genre. Often whimsical and lilting, tracks like Sign Of The Times and Dance Away feel a natural fit for the style's loose, improvisational nature. Where his younger voice would climb from a whisper to a piercing falsetto, it now rasps a little. Bitter-Sweet sees Ferry in his element, and it's a joy to hear.


(Review by Alex Green)


Phoenix is a fitting name for an album that very easily could have never happened. A delayed follow-up to her debut record, a very public spat with ex-boyfriend Calvin Harris and a long-running feud with her former label, Jay-Z's own Roc Nation, the road to Phoenix has not been easy.

Given Ora has had six years to write and refine Phoenix, it's not entirely unfair to expect fireworks. But if you're looking for pyrotechnics, look elsewhere. The 28-year-old's highly anticipated second LP is a perfectly serviceable collection of pop songs, but it lacks any real sort of kick. First Time High marries glossy production with a feel good dancehall swing while Summer Love, featuring the world-conquering Rudimental, is a decent crack at a drum and bass anthem. Elsewhere, though, Ora achieves less.

"Over the hills and far away, anywhere that's not LA," she sings on Anywhere, an album opener that stabs blindly at introspection. There are no bad songs on Phoenix and there's certainly enjoyment to be had here. But was it worth the wait? Not so much.


(Review by Alex Green)


What's the best way to mark 30 years in the business? Well, according to Take That, it's to release an album of reworked hits and a smattering of new tracks. Odyssey may sound like a cop-out to some, but it's actually not all that bad, truth be told. Sure, some of the reimagined versions of their classics fall short - we could have done without the "Odyssey Version" of Everything Changes, which sounds oddly laboured, like it was just a box to be ticked, and some don't sound any different from the original.

But there are a number of actually pretty decent reworkings, the more anthemic-sounding Relight My Fire being one example. The way some tracks blend together with new outros into intros is a nifty little way of seaming together the new and the old: a fresh orchestral ending to Shine opens up into classic belter Never Forget. It's genius.

As is often the case, the sort-of-compilation-but-not album really just leaves you wanting more, which is a positive way to look at it. Take That - now down to just Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Howard Donald - do still have it. The three new songs prove they are still at the top of their game (single Out Of Our heads is a new classic) and highlight the fact that these three have plenty of years left in them yet.


(Review by Lucy Mapstone)