Jake’s Take’s New Music Reviews (Week of September 14, 2018)

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By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

Welcome to the first New Music Reviews of Fall 2018!  A lot of music veterans released new material over the past couple of weeks.  So, let’s get this party started!


Carrie Underwood Cry Pretty

(Album cover property of Capitol Records Nashville)

Cry Pretty by Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood released her first album since 2015’s Storyteller. This album also marked the American Idol champion’s first record since her much-talked-about fall that resulted in multiple injuries in 2017. The “Two Black Cadillacs” singer-songwriter co-produced her entire sixth record with David Garcia, who previously worked with Bebe Rexha, Florida Georgia Line, and TobyMac. This partnership along with tracks from superb collaborators such as Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, Liz Rose, and Chris DeStefano, resulted in a spectacular studio album that might give her the chance to walk away with several significant music awards including the American Music Awards and the Grammys.  Cry Pretty is a gorgeous record from the starting title track to “The Champion,” its final track. Bravo, Carrie! A

Tracks to Download: “Cry Pretty,” “Ghosts on the Stereo,” “The Bullet,” “End Up with You,” & “The Champion.”

7 by David Guetta

I jumped for joy when I looked on iTunes and found a new album from David Guetta. This EDM tastemaker released memorable records this decade and countless songs such as “Titanium,” “Without You,” and “Hey Mama.” For 7, Guetta continued to use his successful formula and brought back several significant collaborators such as Sia, Nicki Minaj, Giorgio Tuinfort, and Bebe Rexha.  However, 7 also features collaborations that I never imagined would have happened a few years ago such as Justin Bieber (“2U”), Jason Derulo (“Goodbye”), Steve Aoki (“Motto”), and the StarGate production team (“Battle” and “Light Headed”).  Also, Guetta also highlights a new generation of artists as Anne-Marie, G-Eazy, J. Balvin, Jess Glynne, Madison Beer, and Stefflon Don all make cameos on this record.  Another important item to note is that there are 27 songs on this album.  The first side mostly deals with collaborations, while the second half focuses on more house and trance music that featured Jack Back, an alias that the “When Love Takes Over” producer used over his career.  In all honesty, I wished that David Guetta scrapped the second part of 7 because the first side of the record was one of the strongest pieces of EDM music I heard all year. C+/B-

Tracks to Download: “Battle,” “Flames,” “Say My Name,” & “2U.”

Raise Vibration by Lenny Kravitz

Throughout the 2010s, Lenny Kravitz released epic rock albums that continue to showcase why he is one of the all-time greatest funk rock musicians. Raise Vibration; his eleventh studio album shows off 12 new compositions that deal with hot topic issues such as corporate greed, racism, and a divided nation. Kravitz also showcased that he is a master virtuoso as he told Rolling Stone that he played every musical instrument during the Raise Vibration recording sessions, except for longtime guitarist Gary Ross and several horn and string players, who were the only collaborators on this album.  One of the best songs on this album is “Here to Love.” Music lovers will get chills when they hear this epic track, and I truly believe that people should listen to this powerful tune’s message. Raise Vibration is another one of Kravitz’s epic albums and I believe that the Recording Academy will recognize this album when it announces its Grammy nominations later on this year. B+  

Tracks to Download: “It’s Enough,” “Low,” “Raise Vibration,” & “Here to Love.”


(Album cover property of Capitol Records)

Egypt Station by Paul McCartney

On Sept. 7, Sir Paul McCartney released his seventeenth studio album, Egypt Station. The music luminary continues to be a beacon of hope to the recording industry as legends pass on or retire, while several Top 40 hitmakers fade into the background. Egypt Station showcases that the legendary music man’s artistry is still in tack after more than 60 years. While One Republic frontman and hitmaker extraordinaire Ryan Tedder helped McCartney find gold with “Fuh You,” it is frequent Kelly Clarkson, P!nk, and Sia collaborator Greg Kurstin that helped McCartney create this magical listening experience as the album’s executive producer.  If anyone wants to break into the music industry, I would strongly recommend listening to Egypt Station. This record is a roadmap on how you can not only win over fans, but also how you can produce potential longevity in this ever-changing industry. A+

Tracks to Download: “I Don’t Know,” “Come On to Me,” “Who Cares,” “Fuh You,”  & “Caesar Rock.”


Collabro Road to the Royal Albert Hall

(Album cover property of Peak Productions Limited)

Road to the Royal Albert Hall by Collabro

It is hard to believe that friends to the blog, Collabro, are celebrating their fourth anniversary with new music.  Road to the Royal Albert Hall is the musical theatre quartet’s fourth studio album that features songs from musical theatre productions that have connections to either the stage or screen.  Thomas, Matt, Michael, and Jamie delivered numerous musical grand slams with their covers of iconic anthems such as ”Grease” and “Maria,” while delivering powerful takes of modern Broadway hits such as “Electricity” (Billy Elliot), “Defying Gravity” (Wicked), and “Never Enough” (The Greatest Showman).  Collabro’s arrangements are impeccable, and their voices are not only getting stronger, but they continue to age gracefully like fine wine. Excellent job, guys! A-

Tracks to Download: “Never Enough,” “Grease,” “Defying Gravity,” & “Electricity.”

No More Cryin’” by Steve Perry

One of rock music’s legendary voices returned with a new single. Steve Perry, Journey’s original frontman, delivered a new single that is part of his first solo album in 14 years! “No More Cryin’” is a spectacular song that showcases that the “Oh Sherrie” singer-songwriter still has the power to captivate listeners and his voice transports us to a crowded venue whose attendees either have their lighters or smartphones in the air. B+

Sober” by Nile Rodgers + Chic, Craig David & Stefflon Don

On Sept. 28, Nile Rodgers and the legendary Chic band will release the group’s long-awaited ninth studio album; It’s About Time. “Sober” is among the ten songs that are featured on this record. This song features the band’s impeccable sound, which was kissed by New Jack Swing. Singer Craig David along with breakout rapper Stefflon Don collaborated with the band on this new single, and it is the most compelling piece of ear candy that I consumed in a very long time! A-

Here I Am” by Dolly Parton & Sia

The legendary Dolly Parton teamed up with Sia for an epic new song for the upcoming Netflix movie, Dumplin’.  The movie, which will star Jennifer Aniston and Danielle Macdonald, is based on the 2015 Julie Murphy young adult novel that focuses on a plus-size teenager who finds love while confronting her body issues. “Here I Am” is a powerful track that showcases the Queen of Country Music at the top of her game as a singer-songwriter. Plus, music fans would like the combination between the two powerhouse vocalists. B+

GTFO” by Mariah Carey

Calling all lambs! Mariah Carey just released a new track called “GTFO,” which is the first track off of her upcoming fifteenth studio album. “GTFO” focuses on a former lover who burned the 10-time American Music Awards recipient.  This song showcases why it is not only wrong to mess with Ms. Carey, but proves that the “Hero” singer-songwriter is the Queen of Shade. B

Artists to Watch:

Artists to Watch is back with two new performers and bands that might shake up the music industry.

Seiche” by Sydney Wright

Austin-based singer-songwriter Sydney Wright kicks off this segment. Sydney has a remarkable voice that could be described as a cross between Florence Welch and Sara Bareilles. “Seiche” is a powerful track that could potentially light up the alternative and indie music charts. She is one artist that you should keep your eye on. B+

Checkin’ Out Late” by Max Pain & The Groovies

New York City-based rock quintet Max Pain & The Groovies just released their latest EP, Sounds from the Hole. Made up of Max Pain, Slave, Kaiboy, Dimebag, and Tcoy, this group focuses on “Grease Troll Rock n’ Roll.” “Checkin’ Out Late” is one of the songs highlighted on this EP and it could remind music lovers of classic jam band tracks. The guitar riffs and the drums were some of my favorite parts of the song. I think that this band has what it takes to have a long career in the music industry. B

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

Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar