Jake’s Take’s New Music Reviews: Week of November 27, 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

Happy New Music Friday, everyone! I hope that you all had a safe Thanksgiving! As you begin your Black Friday (in person or virtual) shopping, Jake’s Take hopes that you have a playlist for this long day. Without further ado, let’s get this party started!

BTS’s BE is the group’s fifth Korean language album. (Album cover property of BitHit Entertainment)

BE by BTS

K-pop supergroup BTS kicks off this edition with their fifth Korean-language album: BE. All of the guys (J-Hope, Jimin, Jin, Jungkook, RM, Suga, and V) had a hand in crafting the eight tracks. BTS also received assistance from Brasstracks, Cosmo’s Midnight, and Jenna Andrews. There are several sturdy tracks, including the two bookends: “Life Goes On” and “Dynamite.” What I am concerned about is that BE is their second album of 2020. BTS has so much momentum right now, and I do not want to see this septet exhaust themselves as they are becoming a dominant force in the industry. B

Tracks to Download: “Life Goes On,” “Blue & Grey,” “Telepathy,” & “Dynamite.”

Collabro Christmas Is Here
Collabro finally dropped their first holiday album: ‘Christmas is Here.’ (Album cover property of Peak Productions Ltd)

Christmas Is Here by Collabro

For the first time in their recording career, Collabro (Matt Pagan, Michael Auger, Jamie Lambert, and Thomas Redgrave) dropped a Christmas album. Christmas Is Here showcases the Britain’s Got Talent winners’ signature four-part harmony. The quartet breathed new life into standards such as “Winter Wonderland” and “Ave Maria.” However, the album’s top highlight would be the title track, which is Collabro’s second original track since “Lighthouse.” I know that Collaborators (the group’s fanbase) will devour this, and hopefully, holiday music lovers will too. A 

Tracks to Download: “It’s Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Lonely This Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Ave Maria,” & “Christmas Is Here.”

Josh Groban’s Harmony showcases superb covers of pop and R&B music plus superb duets with Kirk Franklin, Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sara Bareilles. (Album cover property of Reprise Records)

Harmony by Josh Groban 

Josh Groban’s ninth studio album, Harmony, was recently released. The album follows the same formula as 2015’s Stages, but instead of Broadway anthems, the “You Raised Me Up” singer covered a combination of pop, R&B, and even a show tune. Josh Groban’s voice is equivalent to fine wine. Broadway World reported that Bernie Herms produced a majority of Harmony with the assistance of Steve Jordan, Tommee Profitt, and Federico Vindver. Groban and his team also recruited Kirk Franklin (“The Fullest”), Leslie Odom, Jr. (“Shape of My Heart”), and Sara Bareilles (a haunting rendition of “Both Sides Now”) for superb collaborations. Harmony is the perfect gift that would satisfy Josh Groban fans in your life. B+/A- 

Tracks to Download: “Angels,” “Shape of My Heart,” “Both Sides Now,” “The Impossible Dream,” & “The Fullest.”

Miley Cyrus rejunvinated her career with her seventh studio album: Plastic Hearts. (Album cover property of RCA Records)

Plastic Hearts by Miley Cyrus 

Miley Cyrus’ seventh album is finally out! Plastic Hearts marks the former Voice coach and “Wrecking Ball” singer-songwriter’s first album in three years. Plastic Hearts has a combination of various pop music genres such as disco-punk (the Dua Lipa duet “Prisoner”) and electropop (“Midnight Sky”). The album features many A-list songwriters and producers such as Ali Tamposi, Mark Ronson, The Monsters & Strangerz, Ryan Tedder, and Watt (who produced a majority of the album). Plastic Hearts also features three rock legends Billy Idol, Joan Jett, and Stevie Nicks, all of whom Miley either performed in the past or idolized. This album is probably her best since 2013’s Bangerz, and it has the potential to enter the 2021 awards race. A

Tracks to Download: “Prisoner,” “Night Crawling,”  “High,” “Edge of Midnight (Midnight Sky Remix),” & “Heart of Glass (live from the iHeartRadio Music Festival).”

Dan + Shay presented a holiday present to their fans: a brand new holiday song- “Christmas Isn’t Christmas.” (Music video property of Warner Nashville)

“Christmas Isn’t Christmas” by Dan + Shay 

Dan + Shay is one of my favorite current music duos. The duo decided to release their first-holiday single in six years. “Christmas Isn’t Christmas” could remind listeners of a classic *NSYNC or 98 Degrees Christmas song. I also love the orchestrations that accompany this song, and this song does have the potential to be a holiday classic. B+ 

“Faith” by Davis Mallory featuring Madeline Finn

Jake’s Take friend Davis Mallory released new music! This time, The Challenge and Real World alum teamed up with American Idol’s Madeline Finn for an inspirational dance-pop track: “Faith.” I loved hearing Davis’ lower vocal register, and the chorus is one of my favorite choruses of 2020. I hope to hear more collaborations from them together because “Faith” does have the potential to be this decade’s “Titanium.” A-  

Two of Canada’s top pop idols, Shawn Mendes and Justin Bieber, came together for “Monster.” (Music video property of Island Records)

“Monster” by Shawn Mendes & Justin Bieber 

If you mention the names: Shawn Mendes and Justin Bieber on a Zoom call with hundreds of teens, you probably hear lots of screams. Both men have seen their careers skyrocket thanks to social media. “Monster,’ the second single off of Shawn Mendes’ fourth studio album: Wonder, marks their first collaboration. Co-written with Daniel Caesar and Mustafa Ahmed and produced by Frank Dukes and Matthew Tavares, “Monster” brilliantly showcases the pressures that superstardom has brought to both men. It is a superb collaboration that any pop music fan would want to stream or download. B+/A- 

Head to the bottom of the page to read my Artists to Watch section!

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Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar