Jake’s Take’s New Music Reviews: Week of August 30, 2019

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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

Welcome to the last August 2019 edition of Jake’s Take’s “New Music Reviews.” We have a lot of music to unpack so let’s get this party started.

Lana Del Rey’s Norman F——- Rockwell continues to be one of the music industry’s powerful sirens. (Album cover property of Polydor Records & Interscope Records)

Norman F—— Rockwell by Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey is one of the most memorable artists that premiered during this decade. Thanks to her haunting and hypnotic vocals, “Summertime Sadness” and “High on the Beach,” are some of the decade’s significant songs. For her final studio album of the 2010s, Lana Del Rey released Norman F—— Rockwell.  Ms. Del Rey co-wrote and co-produced a majority of the record with frequent collaborator Jack Antonoff.  Several of the duo’s tunes will definitely enchant listeners including the lengthy “Venice Bitch” and “Hope is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me to Have-But I Have It.” Also, for the second time in her career, there is a cover included in the album. The four-time Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter covered Sublime’s “Doin’ Time,” which introduces a new generation to the Reggae and Trip Hop classic.  Fantastic work, Lana Del Rey. B+/A-

Tracks to Download: “Venice Bitch,” “Doin’ Time,” “F— It! I Love You,” & “The greatest.”

Rapper and producer Missy Elliott released her first set of new music since 2005’s The Cookbook. (Album cover property of Atlantic Records)

Iconology EP by Missy Elliott

2019 has been a busy year for Missy Elliott. CNN reported that the Berkley College of Music awarded her with an honorary Doctor of Music degree. Last Monday, she became the first female rapper to receive MTV’s Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the VMAs. Before she accepted the award, the longtime music producer and rapper released new solo material since 2005’s The Cookbook. Iconology showcases why Missy Elliott remains one of the music industry’s influential leaders. Also, I believe that fans will genuinely enjoy hearing the A cappella version of “Why I Still Love You.” By stripping back the instruments, it shows her impeccable arrangement style and could inspire other rappers to try to release stripped back versions of their hits. A-

Tracks to Download: “Throw It Back,” “Cool Off,” & “Why I Still Love You.”  

Sheryl Crow gathered an all-cast cast of music superstars for her latest record: Threads. (Album cover property of Big Machine Records)

Threads by Sheryl Crow

I am a massive fan of Sheryl Crow. My fellow Midwestern is celebrating 32 years in the music industry and she might have released one of the best collaboration albums of 2019. Threads is a 17 track album that features an all-star line-up of icons and up-and-comers. There are phenomenal collaborations such as her Blues-Rock collaborations with Mavis Staples and Bonnie Raitt (“Live Wire”) and Chris Stapleton (“Tell Me When It’s Over”). She also dips her toes in the country crossover lane with the peppy “Prove You Wrong,” which Sheryl recorded with mentor Stevie Nicks and Maren Morris. However, fans might get goosebumps when they hear Crow’s duet of “Redemption Day” with the late Johnny Cash. This album is one of her best pieces of work in years! A

Tracks to Download: “Live Wire,” “Redemption Day,” “Tell Me When It’s Over,” “Prove You Wrong,” & “Story of Everything.”

Lover marks an exciting new chapter in Taylor Swift’s career in the music industry. (Album cover property of Taylor Swift & Republic Records)

Lover by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift has been in the headlines over the past few months. The “Look What You Made Me Do” singer-songwriter cried foul when it was revealed that she was unable to buy back her original music from former label Big Machine Records and now they are in the possession of enemy Scooter Braun. However, Ms. Swift is looking to bounce back with her seventh studio album: Lover. While the “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” performer reunited with wunderkind producer Jack Antonoff, her legendary co-writers Max Martin, Shellback, and Mattman and Robin are missing. Despite their absence, Swift, Antonoff, Joel Little, and collaborators Brendan Urie and the Dixie Chicks make this album a fantastic listening experience.  Also, I strongly believe that half of Lover’s tracks contain some of her best material in years! Well done, Taylor! A-

Tracks to Download: “I Forgot That You Existed,” “The Man,” “Cornelia Street,” & “Soon You’ll Get Better,” & “ME!”

Zac Brown Band released “Need This” that might sound a lot like One Republic. (Music video property of BMG Rights Management)

“Need This” by Zac Brown Band

Zac Brown Band released “Need This,” their latest single from their upcoming album: The Owl. If listeners think that the “Chicken Fried” band took this song from OneRepublic, they might be right. OneRepublic co-founder Ryan Tedder co-wrote this track along with Zac Brown and Jason “Poo Bear” Boyd. In all honesty, it is a clever track, but it is not inspirational or motivational as the potential anthem, “Someone I Used to Know.” C+/B-

Artists to Watch

Jake’s Take’s Artists to Watch is back! Here are some of the artists and bands that I believe could shake up the music industry.

Jidenna’s 85 To Africa transported music lovers to the continent. (Album cover property of Epic Records)

85 To Africa by Jidenna

Rapper Jidenna makes his Jake’s Take’s debut! When I first heard Jidenna rap, I immediately thought about the first time I heard Kendrick Lamar. Like the DAMN producer and rapper, Jidenna has the same charisma and beat delivery that would attract music lovers to his material. He also successfully transported listeners to the continent and created an impeccable road trip. Another player that should get credit is Jidenna’s producer, Nana Kwabena. Throughout the entire album, he was able to successfully execute Jidenna’s vision. I think that 85 to Africa is a significant step in Jidenna’s journey in the music world and I cannot wait to hear his future material. B+/A-

Tracks to Download: “Tribe,” “Zodi,” “Sufi Woman,” & “Vaporiza.”

Bad Wolf’s “Breathing Underwater” definitely has potential to be one of this year’s top rock songs. (Album cover courtesy of Lafamos)

Breathing Underwater” by Bad Wolf

Los Angeles-based duo Bad Wolf is the only band to be featured in this edition of Jake’s Take’s Artists to Watch. Made up of singer Kota Wade and lead guitarist Tommy O, Bad Wolf shared stages with Echosmith and Semi-Precious Weapons. The duo released a fiery track called “Breathing Underwater.” The song has a spicy kick and I believe that alternative and rock stations would be very interested in this track. B+

Rence’s “Darkside” transports listeners to the 2000s clubs. (Music video property of Epic Records)

Darkside” by Rence

NYC-based singer-songwriter Rence released his new single: “Darkside.” The track transported back to my late elementary school and early middle school years. “Darkside” reminded me of classic BBMak, LFO, and *NSYNC anthems. However, the lyrics might be entailed for college students. Rence has a superb voice and his clever lyrics would make him a force to be reckoned with in the pop music world. B

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


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