Jake’s Take: New Music Reviews (Week of November 10, 2017)

A Brand New Me Aretha Franklin

(Album cover property of Rhino Records & Warner Music Group)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

Welcome to the very first November edition of Jake’s Take’s New Music Reviews!

Jake’s Take has checked out and listened to some of the latest music from today’s hottest artists and bands.

In this edition, we look at new albums from two British crooners, dueling Voice coaches, two women that are the quintessential artists of their respective generations: The Queen of Soul-Aretha Franklin and Taylor Swift.

Let’s get this party started!

A Brand New Me: Aretha Franklin (with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra) by Aretha Franklin

The Queen of Soul teamed up with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to revisit several of her most celebrated tracks of all-time. A Brand New Me: Aretha Franklin continues the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s fruitful reimaging of popular music series after its successful 2015 album: If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley. This album will give listeners chills from “Think” to “Respect” and I truly believe that the blend of Ms. Franklin’s soulful voice along with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s gorgeous orchestrations will remind people what good music truly is! A+

Tracks to Download: “Think,” “Until You Come Back to Me,” “Border Song (Holy Moses),” “Natural Woman,” “Let it Be,” & “Respect.”

 

Maroon 5 Red Pill Blues

(Album cover property of 222 Records & Interscope Records)

Red Pill Blues by Maroon 5

When I first heard about Maroon 5’s new music direction, I was a little hesitant.  Both Overexposed and V were some of the Los Angeles-based pop-rock band’s best albums by far, so I had high expectations for the band.  However, Red Pill Blues is a surprisingly good album. It features some superb material that was written by Adam Levine and a group of all-star collaborators such as Julia Michaels, Charlie Puth, Diplo, Justin Tranter, John Ryan, and Cirkut.  Red Pill Blues’ production is crisp and could entice the Recording Academy’s mixers and producers to give it a nod for the 2018 Grammy Awards. The only concern that I have with Red Pill Blues is that it had too many featuring artists.  I thought that both the SZA and LunchMoney Lewis’ collaborations were unnecessary preferred that Julia Michaels’ appearance on “Help Me Out,” Kendrick Lamar on “Don’t Wanna Know,” and Future’s “Cold” would have been the only collaborations on the album. Despite that issue, Red Pill Blues is a good album. B

Tracks to Download: “Wait,” “Lips on You,” “Help Me Out,” & “Don’t Wanna Know.”

Texoma Shore by Blake Shelton

Let’s be honest, Mr. Shelton. If I’m Honest was one of your darker records in your collection. Please do not record any sad tracks again! The five-time Voice winning coach’s latest studio album, Texoma Shore, is Shelton at his best: performing upbeat tracks about his home state of Oklahoma and songs about the newest love in his life. While Mr. Shelton did not write any of the tracks that were featured in his latest record, longtime collaborator Scott Hendricks recruited an excellent group of songwriters to pen these tunes. Josh Thompson, Craig Wiseman, Jessi Alexander, Josh Osborne, and Rhett Atkins are among the writers behind these cool tracks.  Way to go on this great album, Mr. Shelton! B/B+

Tracks to Download: “I’ll Name the Dogs,” “At the House,” “Why Me,” & “Turn Me On.”

 

Sam Smith The Thrill of It All

(Album cover property of Capitol Records UK & Universal Music Group)

The Thrill of it All by Sam Smith

Since Sam Smith released his debut album, In the Lonely Hour, peaked at number one on several different international music charts, won four Grammy Awards, and recorded a Golden Globe and Oscar-winning song for “Writing on the Wall.” Three years later, Mr. Smith returned to the music industry with an outstanding sophomore album: The Thrill of It All.  Sam Smith continues to prove that he is his generation’s Michael Bolton with 14 tracks that show off his velvet vocals. Mr. Smith and his longtime collaborator, Jimmy Napes, co-wrote a bulk of this album with assistance from guest songsmiths such as Cam, Poo Bear, Timbaland, and the StarGate production team.  Also, fans should give special kudos to Mr. Smith’s producer, Steve Fitzmaurice, who co-produced every single song on The Thrill of It All.  Sam Smith continues to prove that artists do not have to write provocative lyrics to get attention from listeners and showed that he is here to stay! A-

Tracks to Download: “Too Good at Goodbyes,” “One Last Song,” “HIM,” “Pray,” & “Burning.”

Standards by Seal

Legendary soul artist Seal pays homage to the fabled American Songbook with his latest album: Standards. The “Kiss from a Rose” singer-songwriter’s superb baritone tackles some of the greatest standards of all-time that range from Guys & Dolls’ signature anthem: “Luck Be a Lady” and the Gershwin Brothers’ “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” to Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile” and Ervin Drake’s haunting “It Was a Very Good Year.” Seal and his team recruited legendary musicians such as bassist Chuck Berghofer and pianist Randy Waldman, who performed for two masters of the American Songbook: Ms. Ella Fitzgerald and Mr. Frank Sinatra to participate in the recording of this album. If you need to listen to some Jazz covers, then Seal’s Standards is the album that I would recommend. B+/A-

Tracks to Download: “Luck Be a Lady,” “They Can’t Take That Away from Me,” “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is,” & “It Was a Very Good Year.”

 

Taylor Swift Reputation

(Album cover property of Big Machine Records)

Reputation by Taylor Swift

Every time, Taylor Swift releases new music, the entire pop culture universe explodes! Ms. Swift’s previous album, 1989, peaked at number one on the top of 13 international music charts. Ms. Swift continued her venture into pop music with the help of pop music’s biggest hit makers: Max Martin, Shellback, and Jack Antonoff! In fact, it is those three songwriters and producers that Ms. Swift leaned on for the entire studio album. Reputation is Ms. Swift’s responses to her biggest beefs and showcases how she has blossomed as an artist since her 2006 self-titled studio album. Reputation does have some dark and edgy material that I never thought that Ms. Swift could produce. The only small complaint that I have is that Ms. Swift has relied too much on synthesizers for this album. Something tells me that Swifties will devour this album. B+

Tracks to Download: “Look What You Made Me Do,” “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” “…Ready for It,” & “Call It What You Want.”

Rising Artists Section

Since its inception back in August 2011, Jake’s Take has introduced its readers to aspiring artists and bands to our readers. This edition highlights international artists that are ready to enter the mainstream music industry.

Jessica” by Luke De-Sciscio

The United Kingdom based singer-songwriter Luke De-Sciscio is slowly building up a social media following on Facebook and Spotify. His recent single, “Jessica,” is a haunting love song that has beautiful guitar and piano arrangements. Luke’s voice reminds me so much of a young Paul Simon, and I believe that he could not only break out of the UK but also could score a fanbase in the United States. Keep up the good work, Luke! B+/A-

 

Lou Parker A Taste of Mary

(Album cover property of the A&R Department)

A Piece of Mary” by Lou Parker

Brisbane, Australia’s Lou Parker is probably one of the most aggressive singer-songwriters that caught my attention. Her latest single, “A Piece of Mary,” delivers her take why some people love Mary Jane. Is the song controversial? Yes! But, Lou’s voice is very appealing to the ears, and the lyrics are dangerously catchy. While this song may not be everyone’s cup of tea, Lou Parker will be carving up her space in the music world. B

Angel” by Tokio Myers

Britain’s Got Talent: Season 11 champion Tokio Myers released the third single off of his highly anticipated debut album: Our Generation. “Angel” is a beautiful cover of The Weekend’s “Angel.” What makes this track so gorgeous to listen to is its amazing piano opening and how it blends well with both featured vocalists The Weeknd and Maty Noyes, plus a children’s chorus that appears in the decrescendo of the track. Once again, Tokio Myers continues to leave listeners speechless. A

History” by Let’s Mars

Tel Aviv duo Let’s Mars closes out this edition of Jake’s Take’s New Music Reviews with their first single: “History.” Let’s Mars is made up of vocalist Talia Londoner and virtuoso Oren Emanuel. This duo may have a shot to break out of Israel and become a force to reckoned with in the international music scene. Talia’s voice will hypnotize listeners, and they will be impressed with Oren’s superb production skills.  I predict big things will happen to them in the future. A-

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

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Copyright 2015 Jacob Elyachar