Jake’s Take’s New Music Reviews (Week of November 1, 2019)

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Welcome to the latest edition of “Jake’s Take’s New Music Reviews.” (Bitmoji property of Jake’s Take)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

Welcome to the first November edition of Jake’s Take’s New Music Reviews! We got a lot of music to unpack, so let’s get this party started.

Harry Connick, Jr. is celebrating Cole Porter’s music with his latest studio album. (Album cover property of Verve Music Group)

True Love: A Celebration of Cole Porter by Harry Connick, Jr.

Grammy and Emmy-winning performer Harry Connick, Jr. is concluding the 2010s by paying homage to one of the masters of the Great American Songbook. From the 1920s to his death in the mid-1960s, Cole Porter created timeless classics that have been interpreted by countless artists. The former American Idol judge delivered impeccable rearrangements of these classic tunes for a new generation to enjoy. True Love: A Celebration of Cole Porter is an incredible record that will make jazz lovers’ hearts burst with joy. A-

Tracks to Download: “Anything Goes,” “Mind If I Make Love to You,” “Just One of Those Things,” & “True Love.”

Hootie & The Blowfish’s Imperfect Circle is their first studio album in 25 years! (Album cover property of Universal Music Group’s Capitol Nashville)

Imperfect Circle by Hootie & the Blowfish

For the first time in 14 years, Hootie & the Blowfish have released a studio album! Darius Rucker, Mark Bryan, Dean Felber, and Jim Sonefeld have reunited and created new music for another generation of fans to enjoy. Imperfect Circle showcases the group teaming up with some of music’s top hitmakers including Chris Stapleton, Ed Sheeran, Eric Paslay, James T. Slater, and Lucie Silvas, who provides the vocals on “Wildfire Love.”  Imperfect Circle not only showcases the group’s impeccable growth as musicians, but the quartet successfully cements their musical legacy. B+

Tracks to Download: “Hold On,” “Turn It Up,” “Lonely on a Saturday Night,” & “Wildfire Love.”

JESUS IS KING by Kanye West

Originally, Kanye West’s new album was supposed to be a part of last week’s New Music Reviews. However, the “Stronger” rapper released the record after the article was published. Kanye invited his fans and listeners inside his headline-making Sunday Service. Yes, the album could be considered Christian Hip-hop, but there are some sturdy singles.  JESUS IS KING is definitely a mass improvement over last year’s debacle: Ye. All I have to say Kayne maybe polarizing but he delivered a strong album. C+/B-

Tracks to Download: “Selah,” “Closed on Sunday,” & “Use This Gospel.”

Lea Michele invites fans to celebrate Christmas in the City. (Album cover property of Sony Music Entertainment)

Christmas in the City by Lea Michele

Actress-singer Lea Michele is the latest performer to release a Holiday album. The Glee and Scream Queens alum took listeners to experience Christmas in New York City. Christmas in the City is an 11-track album that mixes legendary Christmas tracks with modern classics such as Frozen’s “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” Ms. Michele’s production team, Adam Anders and Peer Åström, did a phenomenal job with the re-arranging these songs. Also, keep an ear out for Cynthia Erivo, Darren Criss, and Jonathan Groff, who joins her for collaborations. This is a brilliant holiday album. A

Tracks to Download: “Christmas in New York,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” & “Angels We Have Heard on High.”

Lez Zeppelin transported music lovers to The Island of Skyros. (Album cover courtesy of Effective Immediately PR)

The Island of Skyros by Lez Zeppelin

Lez Zeppelin dropped their first studio record since their 2007 self-titled debut. Lez Zeppelin is made up of vocalist Marlain Angelides, guitarist Steph Paynes, drummer Leesa Harrington Squyres, and bassist and keyboardist Joan Chew. The Island of Skyros is the band’s tribute to legendary rock band Led Zeppelin. What music fans would enjoy about this album are the impeccable arrangements that the group did with A Whole Lotta Strings. This team brilliantly interpreted Led Zeppelin’s deep cuts and delivered a smashing record. Rock on, ladies! A+ 

Tracks to Download: “Battle of Evermore,” “Achilles Last Stand,” “Immigrant Song,”  “In The Light,” & “Friends.”

Miranda Lambert’s Wildcard showcases why she is still at the top of the country music world. (Album cover property of Vanner Records)

Wildcard by Miranda Lambert

Miranda Lambert released her seventh studio album, whose title reflects several country music fans’ opinions of her: a Wildcard. The “We Should Be Friends” singer-songwriter co-wrote every single on this record, and I believe that this could be some of the most robust material that she has released this decade. I deem that Ms. Lambert has a solid group of collaborators around her, including Natalie Hemby, Hillary Lindsey, Liz Rose, and Luke Dick, that could be a permanent part of her future music endeavors. Also, keep an ear out for Maren Morris, as the Highwomen member joined Ms. Lambert for an impressive duet: “Way to Pretty for Prison.” I hope this album gets some love during the awards season. B+/A- 

Tracks to Download: “Mess with My Head,” “Way Too Pretty For Prison,” “Locomotive,” & “Bluebird.”

Charlie’s Angels (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by Various Artists

I have fond memories of watching Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu kick butt in the original film adaptation of Charlie’s Angels. In a few short weeks, Elizabeth Banks will introduce a new generation of fans to Sabina (Kristen Stewart), Elena (Naomi Scott), and Jane (Ella Balinska), who make up the rebooted trio. To commemorate the release, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Universal Music Group’s Republic Records released a soundtrack full of female empowerment. While Miley Cyrus, Lana Del Rey, Nicki Minaj, and the late Donna Summer are featured in this album, this is Ariana Grande’s show as she is featured in five songs including “Nobody,” a duet with Chaka Khan. While there are several problematic tracks that disrupt the album’s flow, I would recommend that fans check this album out. B-

Tracks to Download: “Don’t Call Me Angel,” “Nobody,” & Bad to You.”

Kesha’s “Raising Hell” announced a new chapter in her recording career. (Music video property of RCA Records)

“High Road” by Kesha featuring Big Freedia

Welcome back, Kesha! The “Praying” singer-songwriter is about to release her first studio album since 2017’s Rainbow. “High Road” is the first single that showcases a revigorated Kesha as she celebrates taking the high road following her massive legal war against Dr. Luke. I believe that “High Road” could be a strong contender for the 2020-21 awards season and it signals a new chapter in Kesha’s music career. A-

Sam Smith channeled music legend Donna Summer with his take on the disco classic “I Feel Love.” (Album cover property of Capitol Music Group)

I Feel Love” by Sam Smith

Sam Smith is taking music lovers back to the 1970s with his reimaging of Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder’s “I Feel Love.” My jaw dropped as he sang this song. The Grammy and Oscar-winning singer’s vocals showcase the power of the human voice as he delivered an astonishing take on the disco anthem. A+  

Artists to Watch

Jake’s Take’s Artists to Watch is back! Here are some of the artists that I believe could shake up the music industry.

Monsta X is proving to be K-Pop music’s new kings. (Album cover property of Starship Entertainment)

FOLLOW-FIND YOU by Monsta X

South Korean K-Pop group Monsta X has taken North America by storm. The group is made up of six members-four vocalists (Shownu, Minhyuk, Kihyun, and Hyungwon) and two rappers (Joohoney and I.M). The group’s FOLLOW-FIND YOU is the group’s first bilingual album in English and Korean. While there are many K-Pop groups that are trying to conquer the American music world, I believe that Monsta X will successfully create a following in the United States. Good luck, gentlemen! B+/A-

Tracks to Download: “Follow,” “Monsta Truck,” “Disaster,” & “Burn it up.”

Amy Guess’s “Holy Hell” should be on any alternative music fan’s playlist. (Album cover courtesy of TREND)

Holy Hell” by Amy Guess

Las Vegas native Amy Guess dropped her latest single: “Holy Hell.” The alternative rocker’s “Holy Hell” is a strong crafted track with impeccable production and amazing lyrics. This song has the potential to be a certified hit in the music world. I believe that Amy is growing as a musician with each track she releases. B+  

I do not own any of the music clips that were used in this article. They belong to the recording artists and their respective record labels.

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Copyright 2019 Jacob Elyachar