New Music Releases: Week of January 4, 2016

By: Jacob Elyachar,

Welcome to the first New Music Releases of 2016!

Let’s get things started.

(Album cover property of Columbia Records)

(Album cover property of Columbia Records)

Wildfire by Rachel Platten

Rachel Platten broke out last year with her hit track: “Fight Song.” Now, Ms. Platten released her first studio album with her new record label: Columbia Records. Ms. Platten’s superb songwriting skills was highlighted throughout the album as she co-wrote every single track with a diverse group of songwriters including Chris DeStefano, E. Kidd Bogart, Matt Morris, Rune Westberg and Andy Grammer (who provided vocal support on “Hey Hey Hallelujah”). I have strong feeling about Rachel; she could be a rising star in the making. B

Tracks to Download: “Hey Hey Hallelujah,” “Beating Me Up” & “Fight Song

David Bowie Blackstar cover

(Album cover property of ISO Records & Columbia Records)


Blackstar by David Bowie

One of the greatest rockers of all-time is back! David Bowie celebrated his 69th birthday in a huge way–releasing one of his most intriguing albums in years. For Blackstar, the “Space Oddity” singer-songwriter experimented with two genres of music: experimental jazz and art rock.  The tracks on the album are an eccentric bunch. “Sue (Or In a Season of Crime)” is a mellow Mission Impossible theme that could transport its listeners into a Jazz-rock wonderland, while “’Tis a Pity She Was a Whore” takes place in an aggressive jazz club that wants to honor the Armstrong-Fitzgerald legacy, while reluctantly trying to incorporate the modern drum sound made famous by Mick Fleetwood and John Bonham.  While this album may polarize some of his more casual fans, Blackstar might be Mr. Bowie’s final opus and would secure his legacy in the music world. B+

Tracks to Download: “’Tis a Pity She Was a Whore,” “Lazarus,” “Sue (Or In a Season of Crime)” & “I Can’t Give Everything Away”

High Note” by Mavis Staples

Gospel legend Mavis Staples has one of the most captivating voices in music history. For her latest full-length studio album, Ms. Staples is tackling one interesting challenge. Most of the tracks were written specifically for her by some of the most respected up-and-coming songwriters including Justin Vernon, Neko Case, Aloe Blaac and Nick Cave. The title track, “High Note,” beautifully showcases Ms. Staples’ lovely vocal range and superb ability to command the attention of the listener.  Valerie June superbly played to Ms. Staples’ strengths and they created a track that is worthy of radio play across the country. Congratulations, Ms. Staples! You are Jake’s Take’s first “Song of the Week” of 2016! A+


(Album cover property of Republic Records)

(Album cover property of Republic Records)

You Are So Beautiful” by Jordan Smith

I am almost allergic to Joe Cocker’s signature song. It has been covered numerous times that I have lost count how many times it has been recorded. In my humble opinion, there have been two covers of the songs that I have moved me the most. The first was by the incomparable Ms. Donna Allen during Season Five of The Voice USA (which caught the attention of Christina Aguilera and her coach Adam Levine) and her fellow Team Adam teammate and current Voice champion Jordan Smith.  For her first post-Voice release, Jordan partnered with celebrated music producer David Foster and reinvented the song for another generation to love. I hope that Republic Records’ Powers-That-Be have Jordan work with the Asia’s Got Talent to develop his debut album, because I believe that partnership will end The Voice’s drought in finding a superstar. A-

Thing You Do” by Justin Morelli

One artist that slowly crept on my radar is the amazing Justin Morelli. The NYC-based artist superbly blends old school classics (Elvis and Motown) with modern music influences (Justin Timberlake, Usher and Chris Brown). “Thing You Do” is an impeccable Pop-R&B track that would put Nick Jonas’ “Levels” and Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” on notice. I have a sneaky suspicion that 2016 might be the “Year of Justin Morelli.” A

Reaper” by Sia

Sia closes out Round One of New Music Releases with her latest single off of her upcoming studio album: This Is Acting. The “Titanium” singer-songwriter co-penned this track with the one and only Kanye West. I got to say that this was not only Kanye’s best production in a while, but Sia’s vocals also elevated this song to another level of excellence.  I cannot wait to listen to This Is Acting in its entirety soon. A-

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

Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar