Jake’s Take’s New Music Reviews-Week of December 4, 2020

Jake's Take Bitmoji
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 second to last edition of Jake’s Take’s New Music Reviews of 2020! We got a lot of music to unpack, so let’s get the party started.

Apple TV+ recruited the Queen of Christmas for a holiday special: Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special. (Album cover property of Sony Music)

Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special by Mariah Carey

The Queen of Christmas kicks off our second to last New Music Reviews of 2020! Apple TV+ will air Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special on its platform. Like in her two previous holiday albums, the “Always Be My Baby” singer-songwriter breathes new life into classic Christmas standards. Mariah Carey also recruited an all-star group of collaborators to help her bring holiday cheer, including fellow powerhouse vocalists Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson, who join her on the highly anticipated track “Oh Santa!” Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special is a stunning soundtrack that might be on repeat this holiday season. A+ 

Tracks to Download: “Sleigh Ride,” “Peanuts…All I Want,” “Joy to the World (Magical Christmas Mix),” “Christmas Time is in the Air Again (Magical Christmas Mix),” &“Oh Santa!”

The London Symphony Orchestra breathed new life into Neil Diamond’s iconic songs. (Album cover property of Capitol Records)

Classic Diamonds with The London Symphony Orchestra by Neil Diamond

Over the past few years, I have noticed that several recording artists or their estates such as the late Aretha Franklin, the Beach Boys, and Elvis Presley have had their hits rearranged by an orchestra. This year, the London Symphony Orchestra decided to rearrange Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Neil Diamond’s classic hits. Even though I have not listened to Mr. Diamond’s music in ages, the London Symphony Orchestra elevated 14 of his iconic songs to another level of excellence. The orchestrations will tug at listeners’ heartstrings, and it is great to hear the 2011 Kennedy Center Honoree’s vocals once again. A- 

Tracks to Download: “I’m A Believer,” “Hello Again,” “America,” “Holly Holy,” & “Sweet Caroline.”

Shawn Mendes Wonder
Singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes released his fourth studio album: ‘Wonder.” (Album cover property of Island Records)

Wonder by Shawn Mendes 

Canadian singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes has conquered the world with hits such as “In My Blood,” “Mercy,” and “Treat You Better.” He dropped his fourth studio album: Wonder. For this venture, the “Youth” singer-songwriter kept a closer circle of collaborators, including Kid Harpoon, Nate Mercereau, Scott Harris, and Thomas Hull. The production took a risk not including hitmakers such as Geoff Warburton, Julia Michaels, and Teddy Geiger, who co-wrote some of Shawn Mendes’ top hits, on this project. But Wonder does stand on its own thanks to songs such as “Teach Me How to Love,” “Dream,” and the Justin Bieber-assisted “Monster.” B+

Tracks to Download: “Wonder,” “Higher,” “Teach Me How to Love,” & “Monster.”

YUNGBLUD’s second album, Weird! is no sophomore slump! (Album cover property of Interscope Records)


After winning audiences over in his 2018 debut album, 21st Century Liability, alternative punk rocker YUNGBLUD is back with his sophomore record. I have noticed about YUNGBLUD that the bold recording artist pushes his listeners to the boundary line and pulls them back before they go off the cliff. Could YUNGBLUD be his generation’s Brad Arnold or Rob Thomas? I think so, but he needs to continue to make this kind of music even if it might be polarizing to a few critics and haters. 

Tracks to Download: “strawberry lipstick,” “mars,” “god save me, but don’t drown me,” & “weird!”

For her 39th birthday, Britney Spears released “Swimming in the Stars” as a gift. (Music video property of Sony Music Entertainment)

“Swimming in the Stars” by Britney Spears

It is hard to believe that we have gone four years without hearing new music from Britney Spears. The Princess of Pop and her team have released a new single. “Swimming in the Stars” is a leftover track from her 2016 album: Glory. Co-written by Mathew Koma, Dan Brook, and Alexi Misoui, “Swimming in the Stars” is a spectacular song that could be Ms. Spears’ first hit of the 2020s. I hope we have the opportunity to hear her perform this song live in the future. A- 

Jennifer Lopez bared all in her new music video: “In the Morning.” (Music video property of
Hitco & Nuyorican)

“In the Morning” by Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez launched her return to the music world with her third single of 2020: “In the Morning.” The World of Dance creator and judge made jaws dropped worldwide when she released “In The Morning’s” cover as she showcased her birthday suit. While Ms. Lopez is one of the world’s most beautiful women, it took me a little while to warm up to “In the Morning,” which has shades of “I’m Real” and “Waiting for Tonight.” B

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Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar