By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
We are nearing the halfway point of 2015.
After listening to countless of songs, Jake’s Take has created a countdown worthy of $10,000 Las Vegas Blackjack!
In this countdown, you will find a diverse group of artists that are just beginning their musical careers, Top 40 favorites and music legends that have produced impeccable tracks so far this year!
21. Zedd & Selena Gomez: “I Want You to Know”
The millennials’ answer to David Guetta teamed up with then-girlfriend Selena Gomez to deliver a club banger that kicked off his sophomore album: True Colors. Selena’s vocals brilliantly blended well with Zedd’s excellent production. The collaborators also received star-studded assistance in the form of co-writers Ryan Tedder and Kevin Nicholas Drew, which helped the track land at the number one charts for both the US and Japan music charts.
20. American Authors: “Go Big or Go Home”
One of Jake’s Take’s favorite bands lands at our number 20 spot with their new single: “Go Big or Go Home.” American Authors front man Zac Barnett’s vocals continue to drive the band to the top, while James Adam Shelley’s banjo, Matt Sanchez’s drums and Dave Rublin’s bass play a huge role in the track’s feel-good vibe. This single could be a contender for the title of “2015’s Song of the Summer.”
19. Britney Spears & Iggy Azalea: “Pretty Girls”
The Internet exploded in pure delight when one of the Queens of Las Vegas teamed up with Australia’s hottest MCs! Britney and Iggy delivered a brilliant combination of sass and sultriness in this 80s synth pop. Fans should also give kudos to Little Mix members Jade Thirwall, Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock & Jesy Nelson, who were originally going to use the song for their third studio album…. until they gave it to Ms. Spears!
18. Barenaked Ladies: “Duct Tape Heart”
The Canadian alternative rock quartet blasted back onto the music scene with a powerful tune called “Duct Tape Heart.” Co-written by founder Ed Robertson and Better than Erza founder Kevin Griffin, Robertson’s recognizable vocals made imaginative listeners smile as they visually imagined the music video for the track.
17. Matt McAndrew: “Counting on Love”
Will Matt McAndrew be the big breakout star that The Voice desperately needs? After listening to his first single with Republic Records, I strongly believe that answer is “Yes.” The Season Seven Team Adam finalist’s pop rock edge brought Jason Evigan, Sam Martin and Ammar Malik co-penned tune to life and peaked at #15 on the iTunes charts.
16. The Hunts: “Make This Leap”
Another one of Jake’s Take favorite bands descends their way into this countdown with the inspirational “Make This Leap.” The sibling septet’s superb harmonies and sweet folk rock melodies captured the attention of their listeners and secured the group’s career in the music industry.
15. Reba McEntire: “Going Out Like That”
The country legend released one of her best girl power songs in years in the form of “Going Out Like That.” Ms. McEntire’s fiery and passionate vocals combined with Tony Brown’s production and the lyrics from Rhett Akins, Ben Hayslip and Jason Sellers transformed “Going Out Like That” into a mandatory country firecracker track that should be in every iPod in the country!
14. Leona Lewis: “Fire Under My Feet”
“Fire Under My Feet” marked Ms. Lewis’ first single for Island Records & Def Jam Recordings! After nearly eight years with Syco Music, Ms. Lewis showcased that she was ready to leave Simon Cowell and her label mates behind in a fiery vocal presentation that rekindled her passionate fanbase. Hopefully, she will release more material like this in her upcoming fifth studio album: I Am.
13. Jason DeRulo, Stevie Wonder & Keith Urban: “Broke”
One of the best surprises that came out of the So You Think You Can Dance judge’s fourth studio album was his collaboration with Stevie Wonder and fellow FOX judge Keith Urban! “Broke” featured Keith Urban on guitar and music icon Stevie Wonder on vocal and harmonica support! Also, highlighted—Jason DeRulo’s impeccable vocal and songwriting abilities.
12. Florence + The Machine: “Delilah”
In all honesty, “Delilah” is the centerpiece of Florence + The Machine’s third studio album: How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. The track showcased Ms. Welch at her finest vocally and also sets Ms. Welch and her frequent songwriter collaborator, Isabella Summers, up as this generation’s “Bernie Taupin and Elton John.”
11. Brian Wilson feat. Sebu: “Runaway Dancer”
YouTube sensation (and friend of Jake’s Take) Peter Hollens declared that music legend (and his musical hero) Brian Wilson is the God of Harmony! For the iconic Beach Boy’s 11th studio album, Mr. Wilson teamed up with the next generation of artists and recorded newly penned tunes from the music legend and longtime collaborator Joe Thomas. Among the tracks that were featured on No Pier Pressure was “Runaway Dancer.” Mr. Wilson and Capital Cities frontman Sebu Simonian brilliantly weaved their vocals together in this neo-Disco meets Jazz world tune. It is a shame that this tune has not received the recognition it deserves!
10. Christina Aguilera: “Anywhere But Here”
One Broadway soundtrack that captures the imagination of fans and music lovers alike is Finding Neverland: The Album. Six-time Grammy winner Christina Aguilera gave listeners chills when she transported them to Neverland with her powerful interpretation of Gary Barlow & Eliot Kennedy’s fantastic song.
9. The Mowgli’s: “I’m Good”
Since their inception, the Mowgli’s music continues to put a smile on their fan base’s faces! In addition to being one of Jake’s Take’s favorite bands, the group’s sophomore album, Kids In Love, remains one of my favorite albums of the year! The centerpiece of Kids In Love is “I’m Good.” Between their signature harmonies and the strong lyrics, “I’m Good” is the epitome of a feel-good song!
8. Alabama Shakes: “Don’t Wanna Fight”
All hail Brittany Howard! The Alabama Shakes front woman commands listeners’ attention on the lead single of their sophomore album: Sound & Color! In addition to Howard’s superb vocal performance, Zac Crockwell’s fantastic licks from his bass guitar propelled the song into the stratosphere.
7. Drew Six featuring Grace Maher & D Major Pi Ca$0: “The Bull (Remix)”
Who knew that a song that focused on a mechanical bull could turn into a must listen track? Kansas City-based singer-songwriter Drew Six delivered a hot tune that features awesome vocals from Six, a seductive Grace Maher and a bombastic freestyle rap from D Major Pi Ca$0!
6. Rihanna, Kanye West & Sir Paul McCartney: “FourFive Seconds”
When I heard that Paul McCartney collaborated with Rihanna and Kanye West, my first thought was “WTF!” I was worried that these two controversial music icons would not sound great with the legendary singer-songwriter. However, after hearing the track…I was pleasantly surprised with the song! The three-minute and eight-seconds song showcased the “Diamonds” singer at her strongest vocally and the harmonies between her and Kanye would make their respective fanbases smile. Also, Mr. McCartney did an impeccable job providing the music for this track…although I wished that he sang on this track, because it would have taken this song to another level of excellence.
5. Adam Lambert: “Ghost Town”
“Ghost Town” marked a set of firsts for the American Idol alum. The single marks Adam’s first official single for his new record label: Warner Bros. Records! “Ghost Town’s” production is just impeccable and I think that both veteran and new Glamberts alike would be extremely satisfied with the Max Martin-Sterling Fox-Lambert penned track.
4. Kiesza: “Stronger”
What I admire about this track is that Finding Neverland: the Musical creators Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy were able to let their artists have their input on the song that they recorded. For Kiesza, she transformed a show tune into an EDM pop track that featured superb vocal gymnastics and an outstanding beat that will empower the listener.
3. James Taylor: “Angels of Fenway”
Ever got a goose bump when you first listened to a track? That’s the feeling that I felt when I first listened to music legend James Taylor’s homage to the Boston Red Sox. Mr. Taylor’s phenomenal storytelling captured the imagination of the listener and transported the major events of the iconic baseball teams’ historic moments at Fenway Park.
2. Pentatonix: “Stars”
My friends, Scott, Mitch, Kirstie, Avi and Kevin, released the most empowering track of the year! The A cappella quintet’s brilliant arrangement of Barlow and Kennedy’s Finding Neverland: the Musical tune will bring tears to the listeners’ eyes and rekindle dreams that were forgotten a long time ago.
1. Kelly Clarkson & John Legend: “Run Run Run”
The former Duets coaches reunited for a track that was pure vocal perfection! Both Kelly Clarkson and John Legend’s flawless harmonies brought the house down with their future Grammy-nominated duet that made music lovers scream with delight!
I don’t own any of the clips that are featured in this article! They belong to the artists and their respective record labels.