New Music Releases: Week of February 26, 2016

A dynamic group of singer-songwriters helped Mavis Staples deliver one of the best albums of her historic career. (Album cover property of Anti Records)

A dynamic group of singer-songwriters helped Mavis Staples deliver one of the best albums of her historic career. (Album cover property of Anti Records)


By: Jacob Elyachar,

Welcome to the latest edition of New Music Releases!

It is hard to believe that February is almost over and that Spring is on the way.  To mark this transition, several Top 40 favorites and music legends have released new tunes and albums that might be in the rotation at several spring events such as fashion shows, proms, and weddings.

Without further ado, let’s get this party started!

Livin’ on a High Note by Mavis Staples

Gospel icon Mavis Staples released her 14th studio album: Livin’ on a High Note. The music icon turned to rising singer-songwriter M. Ward to produce this epic album. The pair also recruited several of this generation’s talented songwriters such as Aloe Blacc, Ben Harper, Justin Vernon, Neko Case, Nick Cave and Valerie June to pen quality tracks for the music icon. Livin’ on a High Note is a brilliant record from start-to-finish. Ms. Staples continues to be a vociferous force, and her messages of hope and history can make listeners smile. Congratulations, Ms. Staples, Livin’ on a High Note is my Album of the Week! A

Tracks to Download: “Take Us Back,” “High Note,” “Love & Trust,” “Tomorrow” & “Dedicated”


The 1975 continue to make a name for themselves with their superb sophomore album. (Album cover property of Interscope Records & the Dirty Hit Records)

The 1975 continue to make a name for themselves with their superb sophomore album. (Album cover property of Interscope Records & the Dirty Hit Records)

I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It by the 1975                  

If that title is not going to make you remember who the 1975 are, then you are not in the know! The 1975 is a British rock band that brilliantly combines numerous musical genres such as 80s synthpop and funk into superb songs. Lead vocalist/guitarist Matthew Healy, guitarist/keyboardist/backing vocalist Adam Hann, drummer George Daniel and bassist Ross MacDonald make up the 1975. Since their inception back in 2002, the band has slowly developed an international fan base and finally had their breakout moment in 2013, when they released their self-titled debut album. For their sophomore album, the 1975 will send their listeners into a trance with their hypnotic synthesizer and guitar riffs. I believe that we are going to see more of the 1975 in the future.  B+

Tracks to Download: “Love Me,” “UGH!,” “Somebody Else” & “The Sound”

The Unruly Mess I’ve Made by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

The dynamic hip-hop duo of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are back! After a highly successful debut album, the Seattle-based rapper and producer have released their sophomore follow-up. The Unruly Mess I’ve Made follows the same formula as The Heist, but there are more megastar collaborations as before– Ed Sheeran, Leon Bridges, Melle Mel, Grandmaster Caz, Chance the Rapper and Idris Elba all provided support through this album.  As Macklemore and Ryan Lewis continue to deliver sturdy raps, the duo remains one of the only hip-hop acts that make astute comments about current events and situations that my generation is facing. I cannot wait to see what they come up with next. B-

Tracks to Download: “Growing Up,” “Kevin,” “Need to Know” & “Dance Off”

Dig in Deep by Bonnie Raitt

It’s hard to believe that Dig in Deep is Bonnie Raitt’s seventeenth studio album! The Blues-rock Grammy-winning singer-songwriter at 66-years-young sounds so much better than almost any artist in today’s Top 40 radio.  Her impeccable guitar licks and lush arrangements will not only hypnotize listeners, but Raitt’s husky vocals continue to prove why she is one of the most dynamic artists in the music industry. A-

Tracks to Download: “What You’re Doin’ to Me,” “Shakin’ Shakin’ Shakes,” “Unintended Consequences of Love” & “Gypsy in Me”  


Chris Brown Usher Zayn Back to Sleep Remix

Chris Brown, Usher & ZAYN came together for an impeccable remix that will dominate R&B radio! (Album cover property of RCA Records)

Back to Sleep (Remix)” by Chris Brown, Usher & ZAYN

One of the most exciting R&B songs of the year has to be the remix of “Back to Sleep.” Chris Brown recruited two of the most in-demand artists in the industry right now, former Voice Coach Usher and rising solo star ZAYN, for vocal support on his latest single from his December 2015 album: Royalty. At first, I was a little hesitant with the combination, but the guys proved me wrong and because of that “Back to Sleep (Remix)” is my Song of the Week! A+

Beautiful” by Jordan Smith

The latest single from Voice: Season Nine winner Jordan Smith might sound very familiar to longtime fans of the NBC singing competition. The Team Adam alum tackled “Beautiful,” the Linda Perry-penned tune that helped Christina Aguilera rule the charts in 2002. This is the first time that I heard a guy sing “Beautiful” and I believe that Jordan made both Xtina and Linda Perry with his superb cover. I think it would be very interesting if Jordan sings this song with Christina if he appears on The Voice this season. A-

How A Heart Breaks” by Holly Elle

In this edition of Jake’s Take, I will introduce two artists on the rise! Up first, Nashville-based singer-songwriter Holly Elle.  Her brilliant song, “How A Heart Breaks,” is a powerful piano ballad that has a very powerful message of heartbreak that everyone has dealt with most of their life.  Between her splendid voice and eloquent piano playing, Holly Elle not only has a bright future in the industry, but also should be in rotation in both Top 40 and pop stations across the country. A

I Won’t Break” by Roses and Revolutions

The next artist that I want to introduce to you is Roses and Revolutions. Alyssa Coco and Matt Merritt have released a very catchy pop rock song that would make even DNCE groove by the ocean. Alyssa’s powerful voice drives the track, while Matt’s outstanding guitar riffs will command the listener to get down and boogie. I have a strong feeling that this song might help break into the mainstream music industry.  A-

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

Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar