Jake’s Take’s New Music Reviews: Week of September 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

Happy September! Welcome to the latest edition of Jake’s Take’s New Music Reviews. We have a lot of music to go over, so let’s get this party started.

Sadly, Disclosure’s ENERGY is a bore! (Album cover property of Island Records)

Energy by Disclosure

It has been five years since electronic music duo Disclosure released a studio album. The duo’s latest outing, Energy, does follow the same formula as previous studio albums: 2013’s Settle and 2015’s Caracal. However, Disclosure’s latest album does not have impactful collaborations. Only a few big names such as Common, Kelis, Kehlani, and Khalid (only on the deluxe edition) and the remaining tracks are forgettable. I am sadly disappointed in this record. D+/C- 

Tracks to Download: “ENERGY,” “Birthday,” & “Watch Your Step.”

Dua Lipa & The Blessed Madonna teamed up with DJs and music superstars for Club Future Nostalgia. (Album cover property of Warner Music UK)

Club Future Nostalgia (DJ Mix) by Dua Lipa & The Blessed Madonna

Breakout music star Dua Lipa teamed up with house and techno DJ The Blessed Madonna to bring music lovers to the club. The duo took several of their songs and invited various DJs to remix them. Several highlights such as Madonna and Missy Elliott’s supporting cameos in “Levitating” and Gwen Stefani’s appearance on Mark Ronson’s remix of “Physical.” B- 

Tracks to Download: “Future Nostalgia (Joe Goddard Remix) [Mixed]”, “Boys Will Be Boys (Zack Witness Remix) [Mixed], “Levitating (The Blessed Madonna Remix),” & “Physical (Mark Ronson Remix).”

Katy Perry Smile
Katy Perry’s Smile showcases the American Idol judge’s new outlook on life. (Album cover property of Capitol Records)

Smile by Katy Perry 

It is hard to believe that ten years ago, Katy Perry released Teenage Dream. That album reshaped the pop music landscape. On August 28, the American Idol judge released her sixth studio album: Smile. All I have to say is that this album is leagues above the 2017 mess of Witness. A major proponent of the “Unconditionally” singer-songwriter’s new album this time around is the songwriting and production team. Gone are Max Martin, Dr. Luke, Ali Payami, and Shellback. Charlie Puth, Jacob Hindlin, Jon Bellion, and the Monsters and the Strangerz are in their place. Smile is one of Katy Perry’s most substantial records in years and can join Teenage Dream in relevancy. I also predict that this record plays a significant role in the 2020-21 music awards race. 

Tracks to Download: “Never Really Over,” “Cry About It Later,” “Daisies,” “Not the End of the World,” & “Smile.”

BLACKPINK’s collaboration with Selena Gomez, “Ice Cream,” is too sweet for our ears. (Music video property of YG Entertainment)

“Ice Cream” by Blackpink & Selena Gomez 

K-pop group Blackpink is having a breakout year. The group teamed up with Lady Gaga for “Sour Candy,” and now Jisoo, Jenny, Rose, and Lisa have released another superstar collaboration. “Ice Cream” showcases the group teaming up with Selena Gomez. The “Dance Again” singer-songwriter co-wrote the track with Teddy, Tommy Brown, Mr. Franks, 24, Bekuh Boom, Victoria Monet, and Ariana Grande. This song is way too sweet for my earbuds, and in all honesty, it belonged to Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj. D+

Calvin Harris + The Weeknd’s “Over Now” is probably the last good song of summer 2020! (Music video property of Sony Music Entertainment & Republic Records)

Over You” by Calvin Harris & The Weeknd 

I got chills when I first listened to Calvin Harris and The Weeknd’s collaboration: “Over Now.” The “Together” DJ and producer recruited the “Blinding Lights” singer-songwriter and fellow songwriter Robin Weisse for “Over You.” The song seems like a leftover track from Harris’ 2017 R&B-funk-inspired album: Funk Wav Bounces, Vol. 1.  Calvin Harris perfectly produced the track in a way that did not compromise the Weeknd’s superb vocals. B+/A- 

Rence gets a hair makeover in the “Strawberry Blonde” music video. (Music video property of Epic Records)

“Strawberry Blonde” by Rence 

Jake’s Take friend Rence released a new single: “Strawberry Blonde.” This single reminds me of a perfect end-of-summer song and a little bit of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You.” As always, Rence’s hypnotic vocals will draw listeners in, and the lyrics are superb. B+ 

The Struts teamed up with Robbie Wiliams for an epic song: “Strange Day.” (Music video property of Interscope Records)

“Strange Days” by The Struts & Robbie Williams 

Two of my favorite UK-based acts, The Struts and Brit-pop music legend Robbie Williams, teamed up for an epic collaboration. I could not stop smiling as I listened to the duo’s new single: “Strange Days.” Vocalist Luke Spiller and the “Angels” singer-songwriter’s vocals go well together, and the song would remind listeners of a hybrid of Queen’s “Radio Gaga” and Rod Stewart’s “Faith of the Heart.” What a brilliant song! A+ 

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Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar