Jake’s Take’s New Music Reviews (Week of December 21, 2018)

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By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

This is it! Welcome to the last 2018 edition of Jake’s Take’s New Music Reviews. I took a look at some of the new material that some of our favorite artists left for music lovers to put under their trees.  Let’s get this party started!

(Album cover property of RCA Records)

Icarus Falls by ZAYN

The Pop/R&B singer-songwriter just released his sophomore album and it has over 27 tracks! While this listening experience might be a little bit too daunting, it does show Mr. Malik’s impressive songwriting has improved since his debut album. Icarus Falls features a massive hot streak of phenomenal tunes that stretches from “Natural” to “There You Are.” Thanks to his collaborators such as Alexander Oriet, David Phelan, MakeYouKnowLove, and Khaled Rohaim, Icarus Falls sets the stage the former boyband member’s next act as a solo artist.  While I applaud him for including his collaborations with Nicki Minaj (“No Candle No Light”) and Timbaland (“Too Much”), I wished that he switched one of his songs from the middle portion of the album for his duet with Sia (“Dusk Till Dawn”). B

Tracks to Download: “Common,” “Back to Life,” “Natural,” & “No Candle No Light.”

(Album cover property of Bruce Springsteen)

Springsteen on Broadway by Bruce Springsteen

On Dec. 15, 2018, the Boss wrapped up his celebrated residency at Walter Kerr Theatre in New York City. If fans were unable to make the special one-man show, Springsteen not only provided a Netflix special for people to watch, but a special live album. Springsteen on Broadway featured fantastic renditions of his classic anthems including “Thunder Road,” “Born in the U.S.A.,” “Born to Run,” and “The Rising.” The show also included Springsteen’s monologues, where the rocker shared each song’s origin story. The 20-time Grammy-winning performer delivered an unplugged performance worthy of the 2020 Grammy Nominations.  A

Tracks to Download: “Growin’ Up,” “My Hometown,” “My Father’s House,” “The Wish,” & “The Rising.”

Sick Boy by The Chainsmokers

The Chainsmokers (Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall) are definitely turning into the music’s top EDM duo.  With hits such as “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Inside Out,” it is no wonder that the Chainsmokers are the talk of the industry. Recently, Misters Taggert and Pall released their sophomore album, Sick Boy.  The album offers some superb collaborations with Emily Warren (“Side Effects”), Winona Oak (“Hope,”), and Kelsea Ballerini (“This Feeling”).  However, Sick Boy might lose listeners’ attention when it is just Taggert and Pall. I hope for their third studio album that The Chainsmokers do a collaborations-only concept, because it would be the talk of the music industry. C/C+

Tracks to Download: “This Feeling,” “Side Effects,” & “Hope.”

A Very Spidey Christmas by Various Artists

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is dominating the box office. The Sony 3D animated film features a plethora of Spider-Men and Women as they face off against the Kingpin. A few of the Spider-Men (Shameik Moore, Chris Pine, Jake Johnson, and Jorma Taccone) lamented about the holiday season in A Very Spidey Christmas. I thought that this was very hysterical EP and all of the voice actors delivered great vocal performances. Also, the songwriters did a superb job harnessing the mythos that Stan Lee, Gerry Conway, J. Michael Straczynski, Brian Michael Bendis, and Dan Slott created. The record is a must buy for Spidey fans. B+

Tracks to Download: “Joy to the World,” “Spidey-Bells (A Hero’s Lament),” “Deck the Halls,” & “Up on the House Top.”

(Album cover property of Sony Music Records UK)

(Happy Xmas) War is Over” by Miley Cyrus & Mark Ronson featuring Sean Ono Lennon

Miley Cyrus and super producer Mark Ronson teamed up with Sean Ono Lennon on his parents’ holiday song: “Merry Xmas (War is Over).” The “Wrecking Ball” singer soared with her raw and husky vocals and Ronson’s production was superb. While I wished that I heard more from Mr. Ono Lennon, I thought that his folks would be impressed and proud with their cover. B+

Testify” by Robin Thicke

It has been a while since we have heard new music from Robin Thicke. The “Blurred Lines” singer returned with a superb track that talks about his struggles over the past few years and how he is ready for a new start.  “Testify” is a great song about starting over and I think Robin Thicke’s fans would appreciate the simplistic production value of vocals, guitars, and percussion.  “Testify” is going to be a great sign of things to come for Mr. Thicke’s career. A-

(Album cover property of Capitol Records Group UK)

Lie to Me” by 5 Seconds of Summer featuring Julia Michaels

Australia’s favorite pop rock band released their final single of 2018! 5 Seconds of Summer released a new mix of their hit single, “Lie to Me,” with their “If Walls Could Talk” collaborator Julia Michaels. The single is a fantastic duet and in all honesty, it should have been included on Youngblood. B+


Jake’s Take’s Artists to Watch is back for the final time this year! Here are several recording artists that could shake up the recording industry.

(Album cover property of Palawan Productions)

We Three by We Three

Earlier this year, We Three made their debut on America’s Got Talent. Joshua, Bethany, and Manny Humile delivered impeccable performances throughout each round until their elimination at the Season 13 Semifinals.  The trio’s self-titled debut featured a significant amount of the trio’s original songs that they performed on the NBC talent competition.  I believe that their debut album is going to open a lot of doors for them in the music industry and they have the talent and drive to be successful. I cannot wait to see what 2019 has in store for them. A

Tracks to Download: “Lifeline,” “Timeless,” “Hold On,” “Heaven’s Not Too Far (Radio Version),”  & “Paradise.”

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

Queen” by Loren Gray

16-year-old Loren Gray has amassed a large social media following thanks to her content on YouTube and phenomenal voice.  Her latest single, “Queen,” is an empowering song for her fans. The song’s main message is about accomplishing their dreams, which is something that we rarely hear in the pop music world.  Something tells me that  2019 is going to the Year of Loren Gray. A-  

(Photo property of Matt LeGrand)

White Christmas” by Matt LeGrand

Friend to the blog, Matt LeGrand, released his interpretation of Irving Berlin’s iconic “White Christmas.” I believe that the Christmas music lovers would enjoy listening to Matt’s impeccable rearrangement. Plus, this cover would be on repeat at multiple holiday parties.  Bravo, Matt! A

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


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