By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
Welcome to another exciting edition of New Music Releases!
This week, the second generation of Pop Wars reaches its crescendo as Justin Bieber’s comeback album is up against One Direction’s “potential final album.”
Meanwhile, Kylie Minogue celebrates the holidays as she released her first Christmas album and A Great Big World continues to make their mark on the music world!
Finally, I will introduce you to four acts that you need to keep an eye on as 2015 winds down.
Purpose by Justin Bieber
Let’s start out with Mr. Bieber! This young man’s personal life exploded over the tabloids last year (and the past few months) and his hi-jinks definitely caused problems for his professional life. However, the “What Do You Mean” singer that has captured the hearts of millions of girls around the world and polarized music aficionados, dropped his fourth studio album that might have the chance to put his career back in the forefront in the mainstream music industry. There are some brutally honest tracks on the album such as the Ed Sheeran-Benny Blanco co-penned “Love Yourself” (Could this be about Selena?) and “No Pressure,” which features a cameo from Big Sean. I think that Justin picked the right songwriters, producers and collaborators for this project. Because, if he plays his cards right…there might be some Billboard or American Music Awards in the future. B+
Tracks to Download: “Love Yourself,” “No Pressure,” “What Do You Mean” & “The Feeling”
Made in the A.M. by One Direction
While I am not exactly the biggest fanboy of One Direction, I admire the evolution of their sound. Yes, I could not stand their teeny-bop stage (“Live While We’re Young” or “Best Song Ever”) …but as the guys matured and began to write their own material, I was interested in seeing where Harry, Louis, Liam and Niall would end up as both songwriters and musicians. As we near the great One Direction extended hiatus (prepare to see Directioners walking around with 1D black arm bands for a while), the quartet delivered a superb album that features a variety of sound such as 80s synthpop (“Never Enough”), pop jazz (“Olivia”), arena pop (“Drag Me Down”) and EDM meets Alternative (“What a Feeling”). I think fans would be satisfied with the results that the quartet produced with longtime collaborators Julian Bunetta, Jamie Scott, Ed Drewett and Wayne Hector. Hopefully, an extended hiatus will be enough time for the guys to recharge their batteries and prepare a new chapter in their individual careers. A-
Tracks to Download: “Never Enough,” “Drag Me Down,” “Olivia” & “Perfect”
Kylie Christmas by Kylie Minogue
It seems like every major artist in the industry has a clause in their recording contract that they must record a holiday album. I never thought that Kylie Minogue could record a holiday album, but Kylie Christmas proved me wrong. The sultry songstress delivered intriguing takes on signature Christmas tracks such as “Winter Wonderland,” “Let It Snow” and “Santa Baby.” However, the most surprising aspect of the album are the collaborations. While Ms. Minogue soared on “Only You” with The Late Late Show host James Corden and brought listeners to Sydney Harbor with her sister, Danni, in “100 Degrees,” Iggy Pop seemed out-of-place when he provided vocal support on “Christmas Wrapping” and her duet with the Chairman of the Board was not my cup of team. I hate to say this…but as much I am a huge Kylie Minogue fan, Kylie Christmas was a major disappointment and let down. C-
Tracks to Download: “Only You” & “100 Degrees”
When the Morning Comes by A Great Big World
Two years ago, Chad King and Ian Axel took the music world by storm with their Grammy-winning collaboration with Christina Aguilera: “Say Something.” Now, the NYC-based duo is back with When the Morning Comes, an uplifting pop rock album that will put a smile on music lovers’ face. King and Axel’s superb lyrics brilliantly weave current events, social commentary and precious memories together! Once the lyrics combine with King and Axel’s impeccable instrumental arrangements, listeners will receive chills. Congratulations, A Great Big World! When the Morning Comes is my Album of the Week! A+
Tracks to Download: “All I Want Is Love,” “Kaleidoscope,” “Hold Each Other,” “Oasis,” “Come On” & “Won’t Stop Running”
“Home Tonight” by Roger Jackson
One country artist that had the pleasure to see grow over this year is Roger Jackson! Earlier this year, the Cordele, Georgia country rocker dropped his self-titled EP and I was taken aback by his talent. His latest single, “Home Tonight,” has a Sam Hunt twist to it…but Roger’s ability to hook the listener to the single definitely shines through as he transported us to either an outdoor concert or hoedown in Nashville. Good job, Roger! B+
“Be Your Man” by Rah Rah
Canadian Indie rock band Rah Rah is preparing to celebrate their tenth anniversary this year! In honor of this special occasion, the group released a brand new music video for their single: “Be Your Man.” After watching this video and listening to their music, I only had one thought: “Why have I not heard of them?” The group’s harmonization on the chorus was exquisite and Marshall Burns has probably one of the best voices in the Indie rock industry right now! I hope that other radio stations and media outlets feature their music in the future. A-
“Show Me The Way” by Korbee
Los Angeles-based duo Korbee is preparing to set the music world on fire! Tom and Jenn Korbee’s explosive new single: “Show Me The Way” has superb vocal hooks and an unbelievable beat that will knock everyone’s socks off! Congrats, Korbee! “Show Me The Way” is my Song of the Week! A+
“Nothing At All” by Minor Soul
Minor Soul’s Jack and Max Wagner close out this week’s edition of New Music Releases with their new single: “Nothing At All.” While there are numerous songs out on the radio that talk about sex, drugs and rock and roll, Minor Soul’s “Nothing at All” is exactly the track that listeners should be asking for! From their smooth acoustic guitars to their ear candy-like lyrics, “Nothing at All” should launch Minor Soul into the big leagues. Way to go, guys! B+
I do not own any of the clips that are featured in this edition of “New Music Releases.” They belong to the artists and their respective record labels.