Welcome to the very first Jake’s Take’s New Music Reviews of 2017!
Let’s get the party started.
Trent Harmon EP by Trent Harmon
I was very fortunate to meet Trent Harmon last year when I visited the American Idol set during Top Five week. He was very gracious, humble and had two spectacular performances: “Chandelier” and “Sharp Dressed Men.” I was a little surprised that Dot Records and Big Machine Records dropped Trent’s EP with no fanfare. But, it is worth every penny! Trent showed why he won the final American Idol season by revisiting his star-making performances including “Chandelier,” “Sharp Dressed Men,” and “Drink You Away.” Also on this EP is the remix of Keith Urban co-penned tune: “Falling” and new single: “There’s A Girl.’ I said it before, and I will say it again, Trent Harmon is a strong vocalist and his voice is currently needed in the music industry right now. I hope that he releases a sturdy album later this year. Congrats, Trent! Your EP is my first Album of the Week of 2017! A+
Tracks to Download: “There’s A Girl,” “Drink You Away,” “Chandelier,” & “Falling.”
ForMe+You by Austin Mahone
For the past few years, five men have been racing to be their generation’s “Justin Timberlake.” While Justin Bieber, Nick Jonas, and Shawn Mendes have solidified their candidacy, Cody Simpson, and Austin Mahone seem to have disappeared from the pop culture Rolodex. Thankfully, Austin Mahone had made his return to pop music when he released his latest EP, ForMe+You, on December 30. However, in my humble opinion, Mahone came back “too little, too late.” While there are some pop/rap team-ups on the record like “Lady” (with Pitbull), the common theme in Top 40 music is EDM with elements of either pop, R&B or rap. Sadly, he is missing his “Let Me Love You” or “24K Magic.” Austin’s label needs to guide him more in this direction otherwise, his rivals will help him fade back into obscurity. C-
Track to Download: “Pretty & Young” & “Lady”
ReAniMate 3.0 by Halestorm
Earlier this week, Joan Jett’s “I Hate Myself for Loving You” was blasting at my CrossFit gym: CrossFit 913. My dear friend and coach, Brady Mora, told me that this was not Ms. Jett but rock group Halestorm covering the tune. It turns out that the cover was a part of the rock band’s cover album: ReAniMate 3.0. Throughout the six-track EP, Izzy Hale, Arejay Hale, Joe Hottinger, and Josh Smith slayed through numerous eras of rock such as 90s grunge (“Fell On Black Days”), 90s pop rock (“Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover”), and present day rap rock (“Heathens”). The band does a splendid job covering these tracks, and Lzzy Hale has one of the greatest voices in modern day rock music. Sorry, it took me so long to discover you, but Halestorm, you are one badass band! A-
Tracks to Download: “I Hate Myself For Loving You,” “Heathens,” & “Still of the Night.”
Ed Sheeran surprised fans today by dropping two new and diverse singles from his upcoming studio album: ÷ (Divide). Up first, “Shape of You.” I think this is the male equivalent of Sia’s “Cheap Thrills.” The dance-pop beat is very catchy, and the Steve Mac and Johnny McDaid-penned lyrics are superb. The second single that he dropped was “Castle on the Hill.” “Castle on the Hill” is the result of Sheeran’s team-up with our generation’s songwriter guru: Benny Blanco. The tune has U2 elements and will send listeners’ hearts soaring. Both songs are impeccable and are positive signs of things to come. Congratulations, Ed, both singles are my first two songs of the week! A+
“Nice Boy” by Madeleine Dopico
Jake’s Take always prides itself to introduce artists who might break out big in the music industry. One woman who might be the first “Artist to Watch” of 2017 might be Madeleine Dopico. After listening to “Nice Boy,” listeners might think that the Brooklyn-based vocalist might have been either Sia or Paloma Faith’s little sister. Ms. Dopico’s songwriting and vocals shine, which could force her colleagues to step up their game for the coming year. Currently, “Nice Boy” has over 200,000 Spotify streams, and I believe that if this song is heard on either alternative or pop music radio stations, Ms. Dopico might have a fantastic 2017 ahead of her. A-
“Stuck” by GRUMBY featuring Sola Fide
Another Brooklyn-based music act that might make it to the center stage of music this year is jazz/future/soul producers GRUMBY. This duo along with fellow songstress Sola Fide just elevated trance music to the next level as their collaboration, “Stuck,” will hypnotize its listeners all throughout its three-minute and 36-seconds length. The production is smooth, and Ms. Fide’s voice is just as sweet as a lollipop. I have a sneaky suspicion that this duo could be in demand during the summer’s music festivals. B
I do not own any of the clips that are featured in the article. They belong to the artists and their respective record labels.