Jake’s Take’s New Music Reviews (Week of June 29, 2018)

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“Jake’s Take’s” latest new music review features The Carters, Drake, Demi Lovato, and Bebe Rexha. (Bitmoji property of Jake’s Take)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

It is hard to believe that Sunday is July 1!

So many of our favorite artists crammed to release new music over the past few weeks just in time to prepare us for the upcoming Fourth of July weekend.   Without further ado, let’s get this party started and talk about the recent albums and songs that just dropped over the past few weeks.


The Carters Everything Is Love

(Album cover property of S.C. Enterprises, Roc Nation LLC, Parkwood Entertainment LLC, & Sony Music Entertainment)


For the first time in their storied music careers, Beyonce and Jay-Z teamed up to release their joint album. Over the past two years, Mr. and Mrs. Shawn Carter released impeccable solo studio albums 2016’s Lemonade and 2017’s 4:44 that respectively highlighted their relationship struggles. With the help of several of rap’s biggest names such as Pharrell Williams, James Faunterloy, Quavo, Offset, and Mike Dean, the Carters deliver an astonishing nine-track album that would leave listeners begging for more, but could also be declared the summer of 2018’s first biggest musical surprise.  A

Tracks to Download: “Apes**t,” “Boss,” “713,” “Friends,” “Heard About Us,” & “LoveHappy.”

Scorpion by Drake

Unlike the Carters, Drake has nonchalantly been dropping new material throughout the past few months. Scorpion is a two-sided album that contains 25 tracks.  While I applaud Drake for the bravery of crafting those songs, it took tremendous guts to reveal to the world that he had a son in “Emotionless.” Scorpion had an impeccable amount of collaborators such as Jay-Z, PartyNextDoor, Ty Dolla Sign, Nicki Minaj, Future, and Paul Anka.  I think the biggest surprise of the album besides the son revelation is “Don’t Matter To Me.” This song features posthumous vocals from Michael Jackson, and it is a strong album highlight. However, the challenge that Scorpion has is its length.  Listeners need to have a spare hour and a half to hear this entire album, and I lost focus halfway through the album.  I honestly believe that Drake should have released this album in two parts because you cannot lose your audience in today’s music industry.  C/C+

Tracks to Download: “God’s Plan,” “8 Out of 10,” “Talk Up,” & “Don’t Matter To Me.”


Bebe Rexha Expectations

(Album cover of Warner Bros. Records)

Expectations by Bebe Rexha

Singer-songwriter Bebe Rexha has dominated the Top 40 music market with penned songs such as Eminem & Rihanna’s “The Monster,” Selena Gomez’s “Like a Champion,” Iggy Azalea’s “Team,” and Nick Jonas’s “Under You.” Now, Rexha released her highly anticipated studio album, Expectations.  Rexha co-wrote a significant amount of the album with fellow rising songwriters such as David Garcia and Justin Tranter, plus songwriting veterans Jacob Kasher, Lauren Christy, and a plethora of songwriting/production teams including Captain Cuts, the Monsterz and the Strangerz, and the Stereotypes.  This is a solid debut from Ms. Rexha, and I believe she may have a long career ahead of her. A-

Tracks to Download: “I’m a Mess,” “2 Souls on Fire,” “Knees,” “I Got You,” & “Self Control.”

Dan + Shay by Dan + Shay

Dynamic duo Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney continue to take the country music scene by storm. The duo’s self-titled third studio album showcases why both Smyers and Mooney are two of country music’s most talented songwriters and vocalists. Their sound continues to grow with impeccable songs such as “Tequila” and “All to Myself,” and I truly predict that “Keeping Score,” their duet with Kelly Clarkson might be one of 2018’s best collaborations. Dan + Shay is a splendid treat to the ears and shows that Dan + Shay have a bright future as cornerstones to the millennial generation of country music artists. B

Tracks to Download: “Alone Together,” “Tequila,” “All to Myself,” & “Keeping Score.


Florence + The Machine High as Hope

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

High As Hope by Florence + the Machine

Welcome back, Florence + the Machine! One of England’s hottest alternative bands is back with their fourth studio album! The group teamed up with producers Emile Haynie and Brett Shaw to craft 10 superb tracks that made their fans.  Florence Welch continues to showcase her innate ability to be one of her generation’s best singer-songwriters. Fans will connect with her throughout the album, and siren-like vocals continue to hypnotize listeners. High As Hope will cement Florence + the Machine as one of the best alternative rock bands to come out of the 2010s.  Great work! A-

Tracks to Download: “Hunger,” “South London Forever,” “Sky Full of Song,” “Patricia,” & “Big God.”

People to People by DNCE

Joe Jonas, Cole Whittle, Jack Lawless, and JinLoo Lee have released an extended play that might set them up for potential and highly anticipated sophomore studio album.  DNCE has set their reputation as a perky funk rock quartet that makes their fans get up and dance with hits such as “Body Moves,” “Doctor You,” and of course, “Cake By The Ocean.” While we patiently wait for DNCE’s second album, the group released an EP that contained four new tracks.  The only problem that I have with this EP is that there are only two potentially strong radio-ready tracks.  If you are going to release an EP, artists need to have enough material that would get their fans hooked.  Despite this small grievance, I still believe that we are going to see some solid songs from them sometime in the next few months. C+/B-

Tracks to Download: “TV in the Morning,” “Still Good,” & “Man on Fire.”

Sober” by Demi Lovato

We are all human beings. We made mistakes, but somehow, we hold our entertainers at a higher standard than our politicians. Demi Lovato recently revealed that she relapsed in a new and personal track, “Sober.” This is not only one of the most brutally honest tracks that I heard all year, but it is also Demi’s darkest song that she released in her career. “Sober” is a strong track, and it should be a lesson for everyone dealing with their demons that there are second (and possibly third) chances to redeem yourself. A


Chaz French Can't Stop Us

(Album cover courtesy of Motown Records & Universal Music Group)

Can’t Stop Us” by Chaz French

One recording artist that I will be keeping a close eye for the remainder of the year is Washington D.C. rapper Chaz French.  He recently released “Can’t Stop Us,” a track that was highlighted in the trailer of the upcoming Sony Music Entertainment animated film, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Chaz French’s raps are smooth and excellent transported listeners into the Marvel Universe. He has a strong future ahead of him. B

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

Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar