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

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

July 2017 ends in three days!  But do not be sad, there is plenty of new music to digest.

Jake’s Take is back with the latest music from Top 40 artists, trailblazing performers, and up-and-coming acts looking to break into the recording world.

Lana Del Rey Lust for Life

(Album cover of Polydor Records & Interscope Records)

Lust for Life by Lana Del Rey

America’s favorite torch singer is back with her fourth major-label studio album. Lust for Life is composed of a whopping 16 tracks that would satisfy many listeners’ demands.  A bulk of the tracks’ songwriting and production responsibilities belonged to Ms. Del Rey and her veteran collaborator, Rick Nowels. This musical duo created a spectacular listening experience that blends several musical genres together including baroque pop and trip hop, which is also known as “downtempo” to many European listeners. Joining Ms. Del Rey and Mr. Nowels in this adventure are iconic hit-makers Max Martin (“Lust for Life”), Benny Blanco (“Love”), Boi-1da (“Summer Bummer”), and Sean Ono Lennon (“Tomorrow Never Came”). Also, Ono Lennon, Stevie Nicks, ASAP Rocky, and longtime collaborator The Weeknd drop in for duets with the “Summertime Sadness” singer. Lust for Life is an excellent listening experience, and it could have the potential of being the album of the summer. A

Tracks to Download: “Love,” “Lust for Life,” “13 Beaches,” “Groupie Love,” “Coachella-Woodstock in My Mind,” & “Beautiful People Beautiful Problems.”

Six Pack, Volume 3 by Straight No Chaser

A cappella music group Straight No Chaser’s Six Pack series continues as the superb ensemble released their take on some of music lovers’ favorite tunes. From a mash-up of the Eurythmics’ signature 80s-track: “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” and Fitz and The Tantrums’ “HandClap” to Jon Bellion’s “All Time Low,” the group’s strong multi-part harmonies are still in top form. However, I did not like some of the songs that they selected including “All Time Low” and Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like.” I believe that their voices are strong enough to tackle some monster songs such as “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” “Man in the Mirror,” “Let Her Go,” and “He Lives in You.” I hope that they tackle those songs in the future. B-/C+

Tracks to Download: “Sweet Dreams/HandClap Medley,” “Twistin’ the Night Away,” & “Total Eclipse of the Heart.

 

(Album cover property of Republic Records & Universal Music Group)

Nervous System by Julia Michaels

Over the past few years, Julia Michaels has co-written for some of the biggest music stars on the planet including Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani, Demi Lovato, John Legend, and Zedd. Now, Julia Michaels stepped into the spotlight with her first EP for Republic Records. Nervous System is one of the best pop singer-songwriter albums I have heard this year! Her lyrics are honest, and I love that she is not afraid to bare her soul in front of the listener. I also want to give a shout out to her longtime collaborators: Justin Tranter and the production team of Mattman & Robin, who helped Ms. Michaels co-write a bulk of this extended play.  Because of your efforts, you helped Julia release one of the strongest debuts from a new artist this year. I believe that Nervous System is just the start of an incredible career as a performer for Julia Michaels. A+

Tracks to Download: “Issues,” “Uh Huh,” “Make It Up to You,” “Just Do It,” &  “Pink.”

Steve Aoki Presents Kolony by Steve Aoki

There is no question that Steve Aoki is one of the most influential names in the EDM industry. But, there was something that I did not like while I was listening to this record. I believe that what turned me off from this record was the countless lackluster rappers that were featured on all ten tracks.  While I believe that 2 Chainz, Gucci Mane, and Migos worked well with the Vegas DJ, but it seemed that there was a lack of passion in the all of the music that Mr. Aoki produced. I hope that Mr. Aoki returns to his EDM roots soon because this album could have produced serious consequences to his career. F

Tracks to Download: None

 

(Album cover property of Jelly Ellington)

All In by Jelly Ellington

Jelly Ellington is another up-and-coming artist that Jake’s Take is featuring in this edition of Jake’s Take: New Music Reviews. The Austin, Texas guitarist-singer has collaborated and shared the stage with Grammy winner Anna Wise, Spoon, and the Wailers! Recently, Jelly Ellington released his debut EP: All In.  His guitar work is impeccable, plus Mr. Ellington’s voice is very soothing and fresh for music lovers whose ears might have been harassed by primal screamo vocals. Keep an eye on this gentleman, because he might just play a role in influencing the next generation of rockers. A-  

Tracks to Download: “Set Me Free,” “Sunset,” “Let Go,” & “Crosstown.”

 

(Album cover property of Polydor Records & Interscope Records)

Gotta Get a Grip”/ “England Lost” by Sir Mick Jagger

Sir Mick Jagger dropped two brand new singles! This is the first time since 2008 that the rock legend has released solo material. Sir Mick stated in an Interscope + Polydor Records press release that he wrote these songs as a way to deal with his “confusion and frustration with the times that we live in.”  “Gotta Get a Grip” focuses on war and political scandals, while “England Lost” deals with his beloved country at a political crossroad. Both tracks showcase the music icon at his finest, and the tracks are incredibly slick that would satisfy the rocker’s fan base and rock aficionados. A-

Rain” by The Script

My favorite Irish pop rock band is back! Danny O’Donoghue, Mark Sheehan, and Glen Power have released its first single since 2014. “Rain” is a superb track that focuses on the latest girl to break Danny’s heart, but adds a Caribbean dancehall twist that can dominate both fitness centers and clubs across the country. I cannot wait to see what else this impeccable group has in store for us on September 1-when their fifth studio album, Freedom Child drops into music libraries. B+  

 

(Album cover property of Island Records)

Run for Cover” by the Killers

Las Vegas native sons The Killers are back with a brand new single: “Run for Cover.”  “Run for Cover” is the second single off of the group’s upcoming fourth studio album: Wonderful Wonderful.  If the listener concentrates on the lyrics, you will find that the band incorporated elements of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” into their track regarding reckless politicians.  With the events going on in today’s political climate, “Run for Cover” is the one of the year’s  superb protest songs and a strong indicator of what the Killers have in store for us when the band drops their album on September 22.  B+

When We Were Young” by Andy Black & Juliet Simms

One of punk’s greatest couples, recording artists Andy Black and his wife and Voice alum Juliet Simms, recorded their version of Adele’s “When We Were Young” for the seventh volume of Punk Goes Pop.  This is one of the most jaw-dropping Adele covers that I have heard in a long time. I never in a million years would have imagined that Andy’s heavy punk rock vocals and Juliet’s powerhouse pipes would mix with one of Adele and Tobias Jesso, Jr.’s lyrics. I think that non-punk music listeners would appreciate that the couple made this track up-tempo and a rock anthem that could be played on alternative music radio stations across the country. B

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

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Copyright 2015 Jacob Elyachar