Jake’s Take’s New Music Reviews-Week of February 3, 2017

Welcome to the first Jake’s Take’s New Music Reviews for the month of February! We have a lot of material to go through so let’s get this party started.

(Album cover property of Rockin’ R Records & Big Machine Label Group)

Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope by Reba McEntire

I admit I do not listen to a lot of gospel music. It could be because of my Jewish faith, or it could be that every other word in the song could be Jesus.  However, when one of my favorite country artists of all-time releases a gospel album, I will give it a listen.  Reba’s 29th studio album is split into two parts. The first half is dedicated to classic hymns including “Oh Happy Day,” “Amazing Grace,” and “Softly & Tenderly,” a collaboration with Kelly Clarkson and Trisha Yearwood. The second half of the album featured new material that was written by talented songwriters such as Jessi Alexander, Chris DuBois, Ashley Gorley, David Barnes, and Neil Thrasher. As always, Reba opened her soul to the listener, and her voice wraps them up with a warm welcome hug. This is a strong record, and I think this would be a great present for Valentine’s Day or Easter. B+

Tracks to Download: “Oh Happy Day,” “Amazing Grace,” “Sing It Now,” & “Back to God.”

J’ouvert by Wyclef Jean

Hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean is going to have an impeccable 2017. This summer, Haiti’s proud son, will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of his 1997 studio album, The Carnival, by releasing his third volume. Before he released that highly anticipated album, Wyclef dropped a lengthy EP that has over 14 tracks! J’ouvert is a loose collection that showcases all his music profiles: pop, rap, and reggae. Also, Wyclef Jean also introduces listeners to the next generation of hitmakers such as Young Thug, Walk the Moon, T-Baby, and Farina as they make cameos throughout the album. I am looking forward to hearing what Wyclef Jean has in store for us this summer. If J’ouvert is a sturdy indication of the things to come, he will be one of the most talked about artists of 2017. B/B+

Tracks to Download: “The Ring,” “I Swear,” “If I Was President 2016,” & “Holding on the Edge.”

 

(Album cover property of The Kin)

Modern Primitive by The Kin

Friends to the blog, The Kin, dropped their “final” album: Modern Primitive. To be honest with you, Modern Primitive is one of the strongest alternative rock albums I have heard in the past three years. Starting from “Warpaint” and concluding at “Underneath It All,” Isaac, Thorald, and Shakerleg take the listeners on a joyride that encompasses all edges of the emotional spectrum.  The lyrics are impeccable, and the quality production level makes it an excellent overall listening experience. Isaac stated in my interview with them, the trio has stated they have no plans in recording another one, and it said that it was “Your move, fans.” I believe that both music lovers and the Kin fan base want to hear the follow-up album. Congrats, guys! Modern Primitive is my Album of the Week! A+

Tracks to Download: “Warpaint,” “Falling Pieces,” “Ashes,” “Anchor,” & “Lighthouse.”

Beauty & The Beast” by Ariana Grande & John Legend

Next month, Disney will release a live-action adaptation of its beloved 1991 animation film: Beauty & The Beast. The title track has been performed numerous times and while the extraordinary Dame Angela Lansbury still has the best recording of the song, Ariana Grande and John Legend gave a good effort to contemporize the Oscar-winning tune.  Don’t get me wrong, they were great vocally and gave me chills, but it did not match the elegance and warmth of Angela Lansbury’s version. B

(Album cover property of Mercury Nashville & Interscope Records)

Stay in the Dark” by The Band Perry

My heart has a special place for Kimberly, Reid, & Neil Perry’s music. The trio is one of my favorite bands right now. Their latest single, “Stay in the Dark,” is a fantastic piece of ear candy that blends pop and country music together. Kimberly’s voice has gotten stronger, and their vocal harmonies are superb. One of my favorite songs of 2017 so far! A

Believer” by Imagine Dragons

The Super Bowl is this Sunday, and one of the highly anticipated ads is Nintendo’s very first commercial. The legendary video game developer will reveal more footage of its latest gaming console: Nintendo Switch. This ad will be accompanied by Imagine Dragons’ latest single: “Believer.” The song is Imagine Dragons at their finest. Slick production from producer extraordinaire Alex da Kid, fine vocals from lead singer Dan Reynolds, and superb musicianship from guitarist Wayne Sermon, bassist Ben McKee, and drummer Daniel Platzman. I have a strong feeling that this song is going to take over some of the Billboard charts in the future. A-

 

(Album cover property of Epic Records)

I Don’t” by Mariah Carey featuring YG

Over the past few months, Mariah Carey’s personal life has been talked about on every entertainment news and tabloid talk show. The harsh media spotlight shined on the talented singer-songwriter as she debuted her controversial reality show Mariah’s World, finalized her divorce with Nick Cannon, and managed the high-profile break-up with billionaire businessman James Packer.  Her latest single, “I Don’t,” addresses that highly publicized break-up.  If you listen carefully to the lyrics, you can hear the scorn in Ms. Carey’s legendary voice, and I believe that she has come out stronger from these events. If this single is any indication, then we can expect a very robust album is coming soon.  I cannot wait to see Ms. Carey perform with Lionel Richie at the Sprint Center this April. A

 

(Album cover property of Fandom Records & Island Records)

Testify” by Citizen Four

R&B pop group Citizen Four has been on my radar since their debut last year. The Island Records signed group have skyrocketed across social media, and opening for Sabrina Carpenter has expanded their fan base.  Citizen Four combines the sound of reggae and adds their unique flavor of bubblegum pop that creates an irresistible piece of ear candy that can satisfy their fan base. I strongly predict that we are going to be hearing about Josh, Austin, Conner, and Carson for years to come. Bravo, boys! “Testify” is my Song of the Week! A+

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Copyright 2015 Jacob Elyachar