Jake’s Take Music Reviews: Week of May 20, 2016

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

Welcome to another exciting edition of Jake’s Take’s Music Reviews!

This week, we have a lot of material to chug through! So let’s get this party started.

Did Meghan Trainor make the right move by switching to Hip-hop/R&B? (Album cover property of Epic Records)

Did Meghan Trainor make the right move by switching to Hip-hop/R&B? (Album cover property of Epic Records)

Thank You by Meghan Trainor

Last year, Meghan Trainor took the world by storm with her smash single: “All About That Bass” and self-titled debut album. Hoping to continue her momentum to superstardom, Meghan traded in her signature doo-wop sound for a progressive Pop/R&B/EDM bravado. This was a huge risk for Ms. Trainor and after listening to the album, I believe that there are some potential hits such as “NO” and “Me Too.” However, I was a little less than impressed with Ms. Trainor’s overall album. While Thank You had a diverse group of co-writers such as Jason Derulo, Nash Overstreet, The Elev3n and Ryan Matthew Tedder and collaborators such as Yo Gotti, LunchMoney Lewis, R. City and her mother, Kelli, something was missing in this album. The missing ingredient—the sense of positivity that was sprinkled all throughout Title. I missed smiling after listening to Ms. Trainor’s music, but I do wish that Epic Records CEO LA Reid let Meghan go back to her fan-favorite sound instead this polarizing sound when she records her third album. B-/C+

Tracks to Download: “NO,” “Me Too” & “I Love Me.”

 

Jennifer Nettles Playing with Fire

Jennifer Nettles’ “Playing With Fire” is a fiery country album. (Album cover property of Big Machine Records)

Playing with Fire by Jennifer Nettles

Jennifer Nettles had a solid solo debut record and is back after two years with an intriguing sophomore album: Playing With Fire. Nettles showcases all shades of her firecracker-like voice all throughout the 12 tracks. From heartbroken purple in “Stupid Girl” to pink cherry lemonade on “Sugar,” Ms. Nettles’ fans will not be disappointed with the tracks that are featured on this album. However, the best surprise on this album is Ms. Nettles with her fellow Jennifer and current Las Vegas headliner: Ms. Jennifer Lopez.  “My House” brilliantly blends both artists’ points of view together and is a contender for the best duet of 2016. Congrats, Ms. Nettles! Playing with Fire is my Album of the Week! A+

Tracks to Download: “Playing with Fire,” “Hey Heartbreak,” “Drunk in Heels,” “Sugar” & “My House.”

Fallen Angels by Bob Dylan

One of the greatest singer-songwriters of all-time, Bob Dylan, is back with his 37th studio album. This album, Fallen Angels, pays homage to several of influential figures who played a role in creating the Great American Songbook: Harold Arlen, Sammy Cahn, Carolyn Leigh and Johnny Mercer.  Like his previous album, Shadows in the Night, a bulk of the 12 covers were at one point covered by Frank Sinatra. One of Fallen Angels’ best qualities is Jack Frost’s production capabilities. Over the past few Dylan albums, I was disappointed that the “Blowin’ in the Wind” singer-songwriter’s unique voice was muffled because of the overwhelming focus of Dylan’s signature gritty tone. I believe that Mr. Dylan continues to provide the road map for multiple generations of musicians on how to enter the twilight era of their careers. A-

Tracks to Download: “All the Way,” “Melancholy Mood,” “It Had To Be You” & “That Old Black Magic.”

If I’m Honest by Blake Shelton

The four-time winning Voice coach released his tenth studio album. What I have come to expect from Oklahoma’s native son is either a solid album filled with half-dozen radio-friendly singles (his 2013 …Based on a True Story album) or an album that has one or two catchy tracks and then a bunch of D-list songs (his 2014 Bringing Back the Sunshine album comes to mind). If I’m Honest focuses on his high profile divorce with country queen Miranda Lambert and his passionate relationship with fellow Voice coach Gwen Stefani, who duets with Shelton on “Go Ahead and Break My Heart.”  Like most Blake Shelton records, songwriters Aimee Mayo, Busbee, Chris Lindsey, Zach Crowell and Craig Wiseman do most of the heavy lifting. However, this marked the first time since his 2010 EP: Hillbilly Bone, that Shelton co-penned tracks any of his tracks. All in all, If I’m Honest is 100 times better than Bringing Back the Sunshine and perfectly marks a new chapter in his recording career. B

Tracks to Download: “Straight Outta Cold Beer,” “Came Here to Forget,” “Every Goodbye” & “Go Ahead & Break My Heart

 

Ariana Grande Dangerous Woman

Ariana Grande is a “Dangerous Woman.” (Album cover property of Republic Records)

Dangerous Woman by Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande has become a Dangerous Woman in the music world. Her impeccable vocal range combined with the innate ability to attract a diverse group of collaborators such as Hip-hop artists Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj to powerhouse vocalists Andrea Bocelli and Jessie J makes her one of the hottest acts in today’s music industry. Dangerous Woman is filled with superb songs penned by a mix of veteran hitmakers such as Max Martin, Johan Carlsson, and Savan Kotecha while showing off rising up-and-comers including Victoria Monet, Ilya, and Twice as Nice. I am going to make a bold prediction that Dangerous Woman is going to give Beyonce, Sia, and Adele a run for their money when the 2016 music award season comes around because it is not going to be impossible to ignore this superb album. A-

Tracks to Download: “Dangerous Woman,” “Greedy,” “Into You” & “Side to Side.”

 

Celine DIon and Lindsey Stirling The Show Must Go On

Welcome back, Celine! We’ve missed you! (Album cover property of Sony Records Canada)

The Show Must Go On” by Celine Dion feat. Lindsey Stirling

2016 has been a rough year for Celine Dion. The “My Heart Will Go On” singer and Las Vegas headliner lost the love of her life, Rene Angelil, and her brother, Daniel, in the span of two days. After mourning both of their deaths, Ms. Dion is preparing for her first televised performance at this weekend’s Billboard Music Awards. For her performance, Ms. Dion is expected to perform her take on Queen’s “The Show Must Go On,” which will feature support from YouTube sensation and America’s Got Talent alum Lindsey Stirling.  This single gave me an adamant case of goose bumps, and I cannot wait to see Ms. Dion perform this song live on Sunday. A

 

Friend of the blog, Jessica Sanchez, is back with a brand new single that is my "Song of the Week." (Album cover property of LA Mic Studios & Jessica Sanchez)

Friend of the blog, Jessica Sanchez, is back with a brand new single that is my “Song of the Week.” (Album cover property of LA Mic Studios & Jessica Sanchez)

Call Me” by Jessica Sanchez

I love when friends of the blog release new music! American Idol alum Jessica Sanchez dropped her latest single: “Call Me” and it is one spectacular single. From the word, “Go!” listeners are instantly transported into their iPhone, where Jessica’s gorgeous vocal range coos in their ears. I firmly believe that this single is one of Jessica’s best pieces of post-Idol work, and it is my Song of the Week! A+

Brym Al Mar (Dimond Saints Remix)” by Haana with the Dimond Saints

Jake’s Take prides itself by introducing readers to new artists. This edition, I proudly introduce you to triple threat Haana and Oakland-based duo Dimond Saints. Haana specializes in mixing traditional Nordic melodies with impromptu instrumental music with cutting-edge electronic sounds. Meanwhile, the Dimond Saints always bring out the passion that resonates in listeners’ body, mind, and soul in every track that they touch. Earlier this week, the Dimond Saints dropped a remix to Haana’s “Brym Al Mar.” This remix features a rich string section and a hypnotic lute solo that would enchant trance lovers and provide perfect yoga music. B+

Brand New” by Zolo

Another rising artist that is gaining a lot of ground in the R&B/Hip-hop genre is Zolo. The UK born-New York City transplant has been entertaining crowds since 2012 and opened for Far East Movement and Ludacris; Zolo is turning into a master of blending different musical genre that will satisfy movers and shakers everywhere. His latest single, Brand New,” showcases slick beats and sturdy raps that will make a strong case for one of Hip-hop’s catchiest song of the summer. A–

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

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Copyright 2015 Jacob Elyachar