New Music Releases: Week of August 28, 2015

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

 Welcome to the final August 2015 edition of New Music Releases!

To commemorate this edition, I have picked some of the best new material from veteran (and rising) music acts in the industry

Without further ado, let’s get the party started!

Bon Jovi Burning Bridges

Bon Jovi’s “Burning Bridges” is one of the most disappointing albums I have listened to all year. (Album artwork property of Mercury Records)

Burning Bridges by Bon Jovi

The world’s favorite New Jersey band entered a brand new chapter in their career. Burning Bridges marked the first album that does not feature founding member Richie Sambora. While I was hesitant about the quality of Bon Jovi’s sound without their resident rocker, Jon Bon Jovi and his creative team: Billy Falcon, John Shanks and Chris DeStefano created a brand new album that combines familiar sounds from Crush, Bounce, This Left Feels Right and The Circle. While “Saturday Night Gave Me Sunday Morning” and “We Don’t Run” are sturdy anchors for this album, there is a very thin and fine line between peppy stadium anthems and forgetful filler and sadly, there is a lot of the latter. I hope that Bon Jovi has enough time to go back to the drawing board and hire better songwriters like Diane Warren, Kara DioGuardi, Max Martin or Dr. Luke to prepare them for their upcoming 2016 studio album. C+

Tracks to Download: “We Don’t Run,” “Saturday Night Gave Me Sunday Morning” & “We All Fall Down”

The Great Unknown by Rob Thomas

It is hard to believe that it has been six years since Rob Thomas released a solo studio album. The Matchbox Twenty front man brilliantly blended Pop rock and alternative together in a superb third album that is equivalently good as Cradlesong! The tracks’ lyrics and the production beats (courtesy of Thomas’s collaborators Matt Serletic, Ricky Reed and Ryan Tedder) are sick and I strongly believe that the “Smooth” singer-songwriter’s latest album is not only his best album, but also The Great Unknown will challenge artists to improve their artistry, find out who they are as artists and help them branch out into different musical genres by finding the right songwriters and producers that can bring their sound to another level of excellence. Congratulations, Mr. Thomas! The Great Unknown is my Album of the Week! A

Tracks to Download: “I Think We’d Feel Good Together,” “Trust You,” “Hold On Forever,” “One Shot,” “Wind It Up” & “Pieces”

 

The Weeknd Beauty Behind the Madness

The Weeknd’s sophomore album, “Beauty Behind the Madness,” is probably the best R&B album of the year! (Album cover property of XO Records & Republic Records)

Beauty Behind the Madness by The Weeknd

R&B/Soul artist The Weeknd is one of the hottest rising stars in the music industry! The Canadian soul man previously collaborated with dance floor queens Ariana Grande and Sia, recorded a red-hot song for the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack and headlined the very first Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival. For his sophomore effort, the Weeknd co-wrote and co-produced his entire album with a diverse group of superb songwriters/producers that included Max Martin, Savan Kotecha, Mike Dean and Kanye West. In addition, keep an ear out for Labrinth, Lana del Ray and Ed Sheeran, who provided vocal support for three songs. All I have to say is that the Weeknd is killing it and he is definitely an inspiration for his fellow millennial artists, music industry employees and bloggers. I have a strong feeling that there might be a couple of awards in his future. Great job, Weeknd! A-

Tracks to Download: “Acquainted,” “The Hills,” “Can’t Feel My Face,” “Shameless” & “Dark Times”

Right Here, Right Now by Jordin Sparks

Another R&B/Soul artist that you also need to keep an eye on is Jordin Sparks! Like Rob Thomas, the American Idol: Season Six winner released new material for the first time in six years. I have followed Jordin since she first auditioned for American Idol and I am very impressed with her progression as an artist. However, there were numerous times that I was bored with Right Here, Right Now. While “Double Tap” and the title track kept me listening, there were some unnecessary tracks such as “Boyz in the Hood” or cameos (yes, I am talking to you J-Doe) that dragged the album down. Overall, I hope that Ms. Sparks promotes the hell out of this album and that she learns which collaborators can turn to and what types of songs she needs to record when it is time to produce her fourth studio album. B-

Tracks to Download: “Right Here, Right Now,” “Sihouette,” “They Don’t Give” & “Double Tap

 

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis pulled out all the stops in their successful comeback single: "Downtown." (Album cover property of Macklemore LLC)

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis pulled out all the stops in their successful comeback single: “Downtown.” (Album cover property of Macklemore LLC)

Downtown” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Eric Nally, Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee & Grandmaster Caz

Welcome back Macklemore & Ryan Lewis! The hip-hop duo had an explosive 2012-13 with their highly successful debut album that featured superb singles such as “Thrift Shop,” “Can’t Hold Us” and “Same Love.” The duo’s latest single, “Downtown,” features impeccable beats from Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee and Grandmaster Caz; a surprisingly fantastic vocal from Eric Nally (who could easily be Shakira’s long lost vocal double) and excellent production from Ryan Lewis. This could be a very strong contender for “the Best Song of 2015.” Congratulations, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis! “Downtown” is my Song of the Week! A+

Sign of the Times” by Cee Lo Green

The former Voice coach is on a roll with his latest single: “Sign of the Times.” This latest single is hybrid between a soulful Prince track and James Bond theme. Both Cee Lo’s superb vocal licks and synth-rock background music successfully drove the track and is an excellent precursor to his upcoming (and highly anticipated) Heart Blanche album, which is scheduled to drop November 13. I am looking forward to hearing his next singles. B+

 

Justin Bieber What Do You Mean

I strongly believe that Justin Bieber finally found the sound that will satisfy longtime fans and win over haters. (Album cover property of Def Jam Recordings)

What Do You Mean” by Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber has evolved as both an artist and person since he made his debut on YouTube. From his ingénue “Baby” days to being labeled a tabloid twit, I believe that he has finally gotten his act together and is starting to release the strongest music of his career with “What Do You Mean.” His tenor vocals that are highlighted in “What Do You Mean,” have matured in a way that would satisfy both fans and numerous haters alike. I also think that he has found the sound that could help him reclaim the pop charts. Finally, I have to give him and manager Scooter Braun credit for unleashing a massive social media campaign that hyped this track up to its potential. Between the support of Ed Sheeran and Larry King to Britney Spears and Ellen DeGeneres, I have a strong feeling that “What Do You Mean” is going to be creeping up to the top of numerous music charts. Good on you, Justin! B+

I do not own any of the clips that are featured in my article. They belong to the artists and their respective record labels.

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