Jake’s Take: New Music Reviews (The Mid-August 2017 Edition)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com  

Welcome to the mid-August 2017 edition of Jake’s Take’s New Music Reviews.

We are 11 days into August, and already some of our favorite artists have released excellent material. This week, Jake’s Take celebrates the return of some of our favorite artists including a well-deserved welcome back to Kesha, Randy Newman, and Avicii.   Also, Jake’s Take introduces you to some up-and-coming musical acts that are trying to break into the music industry.

Let’s get this party started!

 

(Album cover property of RCA Records & Kemosabe Records)

Rainbow by Kesha

Kesha has been through and hell and back over the past few years. Between overcoming her eating disorder and facing off against her former mentor, Dr. Luke, in the legal system, I admire Kesha’s strength.  I also regard her artistry and I am very happy that after five years, she has released her latest studio album. Rainbow features powerful songs that are leagues and mountains above “Tik Tok,” “Don’t Stop,” and “Timber.” From unleashing her powerful falsetto in “Praying” to the impeccable war drum-like background in “Learn to Let Go,” Rainbow sets the standard to pop music higher for singer-songwriters in the industry. Helping Kesha set up this new chapter in her career were the Eagles of Death Metal (who are featured in “Let ‘em Talk” and “Boogie Feet”), the Dap-King Horns (“Woman”), and Dolly Parton, who lent her iconic voice to record “Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle to You),” a song that Kesha’s mother, Pebe Sebert, co-wrote for the country music legend in 1980.  Rainbow is not one of the best comeback albums of the year, but this is one of the best pop studio albums of 2017! Bravo, Kesha! A+

Tracks to Download: “Praying,” “Hymn,” “Woman,” “Rainbow,” “Old Flames Can’t Hold A Candle to You,” and “Learn to Let Go.”

 

 

(Album cover property of Nonesuch Records)

Dark Matter by Randy Newman

In my humble opinion, Randy Newman is the premiere philosophical singer-songwriters of all-time. The “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” singer-songwriter released his latest studio album of original material in nine years. Dark Matter is filled with superb material that makes fun of the President of Russia (“Putin”), growing old and passing on (“Lost Without You”), a rerecorded version of Monk’s theme song (“It’s a Jungle Out There”). Mr. Newman continues to deliver his sardonic take on society, along with superb orchestral arrangements. Thank you, Mr. Newman, for producing a comprehensive album that will make listeners go on an intense ride on the emotional spectrum. B+

Tracks to Download: “Putin,” “It’s a Jungle Out There,” & “The Great Debate.

 

(Album cover property of Virgin Records & Avicii Records)

 

AVICI (01) EP by Avicii

One of my generation’s best EDM artists is back! Avicii just dropped his first set of new music since 2015’s Stories. For his extended play, the Swedish DJ and producer recruited a diverse group of songwriters (Benny Blanco, Hillary Lindsey, and Nathan Chapman), producers (Andrew Watt and Cashmere Cat), and vocalists (AlunaGeorge, Billy Raffoul, and Rita Ora) for an excellent six track EP. The songs are superb and will put smiles on the listeners’ faces. I hope that this is a strong sign of things to come from Avicii. B+

Tracks to Download: “Lonely Together,” “You Be Love,” “Without You” & “What Would I Change It To.”

Dancing on My Own” by Pentatonix

Pentatonix has entered a bold new chapter in its six-year career as the group released their first cover as a quartet. Earlier this year, Avi Kaplan departed from the group after he could not keep up with the group’s touring obligations. While many will think that the group’s cover of Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” might have reflected on Scott, Kirstie, Mitch, and Kevin’s thoughts on Avi’s departure, but it is a haunting cover that showcases the quartet’s specalities including Kevin’s superb beatboxing and cello skills and the trio’s outstanding vocal harmonies. “Dancing on My Own” is a strong performance, and I believe that the best is yet to come from Pentatonix. A-

 

 

(Album cover property of RCA Records)

What About Us” by P!nk

P!nk is back! I have been waiting for Ms. Alecia Moore to drop a new solo studio album for five years! “What About Us” is the first single off of her upcoming studio album, Beautiful Trauma. Co-written by P!nk, Steve Mac, and Johnny McDaid, “What About Us” is a powerful pop rock anthem that brilliantly ushers in a new era for the “Just Like Fire” singer-songwriter. P!nk’s vocals shined, while Mr. Mac’s slick production (he produced hits for Demi Lovato, Ed Sheeran, and Rita Ora) added a power punch to listeners’ ears. A-

Made For Me” by David Versis

I am not usually one to like Hip-hop and rap, but if I like an artist and their product, then I will feature them on this blog.  Toronto-based producer and songwriter David Versis is a Grammy-nominated Hip-hop artist that is about to cause a storm in the rap world. His latest single, “Made For Me,” is a slick single that he co-produced with Mikhail that features intriguing style beats and rap lyrics. Mr. Versis is on the right track to becoming a rising star in the rap world, and all he needs is someone like Diddy, Shawn Carter, or 50 Cent to listen to his mix tapes. If that happens, look out rap world! B

Everybody Else” by Emmit Fenn

Another artist that is on my radar is Indie electronic artist Emmitt Fenn. The Berkeley native is looking to break into the EDM world, and I think that his single, “Everybody Else,” may help him put his foot in the door. While I may not agree with the decision of having his vocals entirely in autotune, but I appreciate the usage of the piano in both the beginning and end of the track, plus jazz horns near the track’s home stretch. Also, “Everybody Else’s” hypnotic beat might get everyone on the dance floor. B+

 

(Album cover property of Air Traffic Controller)

After Party” by Air Traffic Controller

Boston band Air Traffic Controller is the only new band that Jake’s Take is highlighting this week. The band’s line-up consists of Dave Munro, Casey Sullivan, Steve Scott, Adam Salameh, and Adrian Aiello and this quintet brilliantly blends Indie, alternative rock, and electronic music together. “After Party” is a song that is so outstanding that listeners will be pressing the play button on SoundCloud over and over again. “After Party” is not only a great party song, but it also a song that could help Air Traffic Controller break the music industry’s stratosphere. A

(Album cover property of Jessica Lynn)

Crazy Idea” by Jessica Lynn

Rising country artist Jessica Lynn rounds out this edition of Jake’s Take: New Music Reviews. This New York native is making waves in the country music world. From the moment that the track’s addictive electric guitar hook opens up her latest single, “Crazy Idea,” you are welcomed to Ms. Lynn’s concert. Ms. Lynn’s refreshing voice will satisfy any crusty country music fan, and we might be hearing more about Ms. Lynn for years to come. A-

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

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Copyright 2015 Jacob Elyachar