Jake’s Take: New Music Reviews (The End of June 2017 Edition)

(Album cover property of Sony Music Entertainment)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com   

Missed Jake’s Take’s New Music Reviews? It’s back!

In this edition of Jake’s Take’s New Music Reviews, we will look at a battle between DJs (Calvin Harris and DJ Khaled) and two rising duos that specialize in the singer-songwriter category.  Plus, Adam Lambert is back with a new single, Simon Cowell’s gathering of British artists to pay homage to the Grenfell Tower Fire victims, and Jake’s Take will introduce readers to two artists trying to break into the music industry.

Let’s get this party started!

Grateful by DJ Khaled

DJ Khaled kicks off this edition of Jake’s Take’s New Music Reviews with his monstrous album: Grateful. This album marked DJ Khaled’s son, Asahd, debut as an Executive Director. With nearly two dozen tracks, the celebrated record producer recruited a ton of his past collaborators to help him, and Asahd build this album. Keep your ears out for the Carters (Jay-Z & Beyonce), Rihanna, Drake, Calvin Harris, Chance the Rapper, Alicia Keys, and Nicki Minaj, who all made cameos throughout this album. When I first looked at Grateful’s track list, I was worried that DJ Khaled would be lost in the sea of pop starlets and MCs. Grateful’s production was on point and kept my attention the entire time. I believe that Grateful not only set the standard when it comes to collaboration albums but also challenged all of the R&B/Soul/Hip-Hop artists to step outside their comfort zone and write an album that could be their last opus. Congratulations, DJ Khaled and Asahd, Grateful is this edition’s Best Album! A+

Tracks to Download: “Shining,” “To the Max,” “Wild Thoughts,” “I’m the One,” “Nobody,” & “I Love You so Much.”

 

(Album cover property of Alexander Jean Music)

High Enough by Alexander Jean

Last year, Mark Ballas and BC Jean ignited the singer-songwriter genre with their debut EP: Head High. This week, the couple released their second EP: High Enough. This five-song collection showcases the duo’s growth as both recording artists and singer-songwriters. BC’s vocals drive a majority of the record, while Mark continues to show both Alexander Jean’s fanbase and music lovers that he is one of his generation’s rising instrumentalists as his electrifying strumming has exponentially strengthened from Alexander Jean’s last go-around. The arrangements for all five tracks are impeccable and are ready to conquer any radio station that specializes in the singer-songwriter genre. A-

Tracks to Download: “Paper Planes,” “High Enough,” “(Expletive) You No One Loves You Like Me,” & “Wouldn’t Change Anything.”

Evolve by Imagine Dragons

It is hard to believe that Las Vegas rockers Imagine Dragons released their debut album, Night Visions, five years ago. Recently, the quartet of Dan Reynolds, Daniel Platzman, Wayne Sermon, and Ben McKee, dropped their third studio album. Evolve features more active tracks than in their first two ventures. Also, this album marks the first time that Imagine Dragons had worked with rising songwriters and producers such as Joel Little (“Whatever It Takes”), Justin Tranter (“Walking the Wire”), and the team of Mattman and Robin (“Believer”).  While some gems are destined for Top 40 radio glory, it was hard for me to pay close attention to the album, because the record almost put me to sleep. C

Tracks to Download: “Believer,” “Walking the Wire,” & “Whatever It Takes.”

 

(Album cover property of RCA Records & Sony Music Entertainment)

Future Friends-Part One by Superfruit

Superfruit is made of Pentatonix’s Scott Hoying and Mitch Grassi! This duo has been setting social media on fire with over 653,000 Instagram followers and 2.4 million YouTube subscribers. Unlike their music with Pentatonix that rarely has any musical instruments on their tracks, Superfruit has PLENTY of instruments that are featured throughout all seven tracks. Mitch’s phenomenal falsetto puts him in the same category of both Adam Lambert and Jordan Smith, while Scott’s personality continues to showcase the same intense passion that he has when leading Pentatonix. After listening to the first part of Future Friends, I truly believe that Superfruit might be 2017’s breakout musical duo. B+

Tracks to Download: “Bad 4 Us,” “Future Friends,” “Worth It (Perfect),” & “Imaginary Parties.”

Funk Wav Bounces, Vol. 1 by Calvin Harris

EDM DJ and producer Calvin Harris dropped the first volume of his latest studio album: Funk Wav Bounces. This album contains over ten tracks that feature countless of artists that represent three prominent musical genres such as pop (Ariana Grande and Katy Perry), R&B (Frank Ocean and John Legend), and Hip-hop (Migos, Nicki Minaj, and Pharrell Williams). What the listener will notice as they listen to the first volume of Funk Wav Bounces is that the beats that are on this album are made for summer hangouts in parks and pools over clubs. Additionally, more elements of trance music are sprinkled in this album—check out the Frank Ocean and Migos collaboration, “Slide,” and the dope Snoop Dogg and John Legend track: “Holiday.” Funk Wav Bounces, Vol. 1 is a strong album, and I am looking forward to hearing what Calvin Harris has in store for us next. B

Tracks to Download: “Slide,” “Heatstroke,” “Holiday,” & “Feels.”  

Bridge Over Troubled Water” by the Artists for Grenfell

On June 14, the world was shocked to learn about a fire in London’s Grenfell Tower, where over 80 people perished, and 70 additional people were injured. After this tragic event, many Britons rallied around their country to offer their support. One Briton, Simon Cowell, called his Rolodex of recording artists to put together a “We Are the World”-style single, where proceeds of the cover will go to the London Community Foundation. Artists that participated in this song ranged from X Factor UK alums such as Leona Lewis, Louis Tomlinson, Ella Henderson, Fleur East, and James Arthur to music legends such as Roger Daltrey, Nile Rodgers, and Robbie Williams. I love charity singles, but I felt that this single was very rushed. Sure, there were excellent solos from Daltrey, Emeli Sande, and Jessie J, but I did not get chills. Also, I was looking at the artists involved with the project, and I was disappointed that artists such as East, Tulisa, and Brian May did not perform a solo of any kind. It was a well-intentioned effort, but I was displeased with the single. C-  

Two Fux” by Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert surprised his fans on June 22 by stating via social media that new music was coming soon. The first single of his new music is “Two Fux.” I would classify this song as a quasi-autobiographical track, as well as a diss to his haters: “I really don’t give two fux.” Adam continues to create excellent tracks that showcase his outstanding vocals, and as a Glambert, I am glad that he is “namaste right here.” A-  

Boy Like A Girl” by Stockholm Noir featuring Ofelia

One band that has caught my attention over the past few months is Stockholm Noir. Their fans have referred to them as the Black Shadow of Electronic Music. The group experiments with dynamic sounds and effects to create a darker side of electronic music. Their latest single, “Boy Like A Girl,” features their captivating and hypnotic EDM hooks, but also featured Ofelia’s siren-like vocals that haunt the track. Stockholm Noir will continue to impress listeners, and I hope that the group continues to expand its audience internationally. B+

 

Skyward Story Hey

(Photo courtesy of Gramophone Media, Inc.)

HEY” by Skyward Story

Skyward Story is a Baltimore, Maryland-based pop rock trio that is targeting the rock the music charts. Singer Aaron O’Connor, drummer Brandon Millman, and guitarist Scott Montgomery’s pop punk sound will wake up music lovers from their early summer’s nap with their first single: “HEY!” I believe that music aficionados who have feelings for 5 Seconds of Summer, All Time Low, and Panic! At the Disco would be grinning from ear-to-ear when they listen to “HEY!” This song should be played on radios across the country, and I believe that the best is yet to come for this trio. Congrats, Skyward Story! “HEY!” is the Best Song of this edition of Jake’s Take’s New Music Reviews. A+

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

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Copyright 2015 Jacob Elyachar