Jake’s Take’s New Music Reviews: Week of Nov. 5, 2021

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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 latest edition of Jake’s Take’s New Music Reviews! We got a lot of music to unpack, so let’s get this party started.

The legendary pop music group ABBA dropped their latest studio album after 40 years. (Album cover property of Universal Music Group)

Voyage by ABBA

The legendary pop music group ABBA is back together! Forty years after their eighth studio album release, the “Dancing Queen” hitmakers have dropped Voyage. Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad’s vocals still have the power to enchant listeners as they interpret Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus’ superb songwriting.  Voyage is a superb album, and I am glad that this generation of music lovers will know their sound. B+ 

Tracks to Download: “I Still Have Faith in You,” “Don’t Shut Me Down,” “Just a Notion,” & “Keep an Eye on Dan.”

Jake’s Take friends Branden + James released a new holiday album: A Christmas Gift. (Album cover property courtesy of Branden + James)

A Christmas Gift by Branden + James 

Two of Jake’s Take’s dearest friends, Branden + James, will release their holiday album: A Christmas Gift on November 19The duo tackled some of the world’s most beloved holiday tunes, including “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “River,” and “Mary, Did You Know?” I loved the creativity that Branden + James showcased throughout the album. For instance, they mashed up “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” with Les Miserables’ “Bring Him Home.” Also, they incorporated a little bit of “Jingle Bells” at “River’s” beginning. Branden’s vocals continue to soar that it will give listeners chills. James’s cello will also captivate listeners as it weaves in and out of the album.  Also, keep an ear out for American Idol alum Effie Passero as she joined the duo for The Fray’s “Be Still.” A Christmas Gift is a beautiful album that will elevate your holiday season. A- 

Tracks to Download: “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”/”Bring Him Home,” “River,” “Be Still,” “Mary, Did You Know?”

Diana Ross’s Thank You is the music legend’s first album of original material since 1999’s Every Day is a New Day. (Album cover property of Decca Records & Universal Music Group)

Thank You by Diana Ross

It has been over 15 years since music icon Diana Ross released a new album and over two decades since the Motown legend released new material. Thank You produced by renowned producer Jack Antonoff (who found success with fun., Lana Del Rey, Lorde, and Taylor Swift). The songwriters are Ms. Ross, her daughter, Rhonda Ross, Amy Wadge, Jimmy Napes, Ayak Thiik, and Siedah Garrett. Thank You is a combination of reflection, advice, and Ms. Ross’s thoughts on current events. Several standouts include the danceable “If the World Just Danced” and the haunting Siedah Garrett and Barry Eastmond-penned “The Answer’s Always Love.” B+

Tracks to Download: “Thank You,” “If the World Just Danced,” “I Still Believe,” & “The Answer’s Always Love.”

Ed Sheeran’s latest masterpiece, ‘= (Equals),’ will give listeners chills. (Album cover property of Asylum Records UK & Atlantic Records UK)

= (Equals) by Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran released his first solo album in four years. = reunites the “Shape of You” singer-songwriter with longtime collaborator Johnny McDaid and No. 6 Collaborations Project partner Fred Again. Once again, Ed Sheeran continues to tug with the listeners’ heartstrings with beautiful ballads such as “First Times” and the haunting “Visiting Hours.” He also makes listeners get up and dance with tracks such as “Shivers,” “Overpass Graffiti,” and “Bad Habits.” = continues to cement The British singer-songwriter’s legacy as one of his generation’s top recording artists. A

Tracks to Download: “Shivers,” “First Times,” “Bad Habits,” “Overpass Graffiti,” “Collide,” & “Visiting Hours.”

“Best of Me” by Alicia Keys 

15-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Alicia Keys is preparing to release her eighth studio album! “Best of Me” is the second single off the upcoming album. The “Underdog” singer-songwriter co-wrote with Andrew Hale, Helen Adu, Raphael Saadiq, and Stuart Matthewman is hypnotic. I think R&B fans will be impressed by the former Voice coach’s ability to not only sample Sade’s “Cherish the Day” but also balance 90s soul and modern neo-soul. B+/A- 

“You Only Had One Job” by Brooke Simpson 

Jake’s Take guest and America’s Got Talent: Season 16 grand finalist Brooke Simpson released her first post-show single: “You Only Had One Job.” This original song has shades of Mariah Carey’s “Touch My Body” and several of Ariana Grande’s recent singles. The song flexed Brooke’s vocal muscles, and I cannot wait to see what she does next! B+ 

“One Right Now” by Post Malone & The Weeknd 

Two of Top 40’s most prominent names collaborated for an epic track. Singer-rapper Post Malone and the Weeknd released probably one of 2021’s last most significant collaborations: “One Right Now.” Produced by Louis Bell, Brian Lee, and Andrew Bolooki, “One Right Now” is an incredible track that I believe will dominate tons of radio and streaming playlists. A 

Moth to a Flame” by Swedish House Mafia & The Weeknd 

Music supergroup Swedish House Mafia (Axwell, Steve Angello, and Sebastian Ingrosso) is back! The trio is preparing to release their third studio album: Paradise Again. Their latest synth-pop single, “Moth to a Flame,” is their first collaboration with The Weeknd. The song’s superb production and lyrics make this track one of the final best EDM tracks of 2021. I hope this song gets some recognition on both the radio and streaming playlists. A- 

“How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston x Clean Bandit 

Following the success of Kygo’s remix of Whitney Houston’s “Higher Love,” Clean Bandit worked on their remix featuring “The Greatest Love of All” singer’s vocals. In all honesty, I still believe Kygo’s version runs circles around Clean Bandit’s version. It will take me (and other Whitney fans) a while for us to warm up to it. D+/C- 

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Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar