Well, we’re a month in folks. The fireworks went off. The horns blew. The Grammys happened. We’re all more or less writing 2018 instead of 2017 (except when we date a file for a client and our mentor reminds us the new year did, in fact, happen – sorry Rach). It’s February and the new music of the year is out there and rolling! Let’s see what we’ve got to get us through this month’s cold.
Justin Timberlake – Man of the Woods
Release date: 2/2
I remember hearing a few years ago that Justin Timberlake was completely done with music. It went so far as to say that the only reason he was doing 20/20 Experience was to fulfill the last deliverable on his contract.
Well, looks like that was a false statement.
I’ve heard this is a work of art, and I’ve heard that it’s the worst thing he’s ever done. You guys know me – I don’t rely on anything but my own ears.
While “Filthy” is classic Justin dance music, it’s “Say Something” that has me absolutely enthralled. It’s the duet with Chris Stapleton, and full of musical maturity and some of the best harmonies I’ve ever heard. It’s catchy without being pop annoying, and it’s got a message to take away. This is music.
Granted, I’m not banking on the whole album sounding like this, but if it’s even close for half of it, this is one to hear.
Other 2/2 releases:
Iggy Azalea – Savior
AWOLNATION – Here Come the Runts
Dashboard Confessional – Brooked Shadows
Release date: 2/9
I, nor your eyes, are playing tricks on you. After 8 years, Dashboard is back with a studio album!
Just announced in November, this wasn’t led with a lot of information, though the reviewers have been picking up the story all over. The band has been shuffled a little, but has also been making the rounds at festivals and events for the past year or two. I suppose folks can’t live off of “Screaming Infidelities” (though “Vindicated”? Totally possible), so it was time.
“Heart Beat Here” seems fitting for today somehow, which may be a testament to updated production values if nothing else. God I missed Chris’ voice, and now it’s even gotten somewhat more uplifting.
This is echoed with the lead single, “We Fight.” Ever thought you’d hear a power anthem from Dashboard? Me either, but they apparently know how to do it and do it well. This is the song for those of us that ran with this band in the saddest times, and a melody to sing when we’ve come through it to the other side.
The one anomaly here is a duet with… Cash Cash? “Belong” is the slightly more dance-hall song you were definitely not expecting, even more so with the anthem. But man, this works too!
Every month someone gets me truly excited for their new release just based on lead singles and early track releases. Dashboard, it’s good to have you back, and you will be at the top of my playlist this month for sure.
Other 2/9 releases:
Various Artists – Black Panther: The Album
MGMT – Little Dark Age
Brandi Carlile – By The Way, I Forgive You
Release date: 2/16
I think we can all agree that, if you’ve ever heard Brandi Carlile, she is understated and amazing. To me, she’s kind of the low-key version of Sara Bareilles, with almost a more country/folk feel if you can imagine it. She’s always carried this powerhouse voice over haunting instrumentation that will rip through down to your soul.
“The Joke” was the first single released for this album, and it almost feels like it should be an ending track for an album. It just has that finality to it. Yet this will actually be the second song on the track listing, having a hand in setting the tone for the entire collection.
“The Mother” brings out that very folk-like quality that we’ve come to know and respect from this singer-songwriter. It’s a beautiful tribute to realities of being a mother, and regardless to the truth to her personal story, feels very honest. We’re taken back to love with “Sugartooth” about a man searching in life and, once again, a story is told. This is what she’s good at, clearly, and it’s an honor to be taken on the ride.
The last track we’re given prior to release is “Whatever You Do.” Just a hauntingly simple sounding personal song that I think you have to hear to know how it personally affects you. Regardless, I think this is going to be one of those albums you will have to experience alone to, well, experience. But experience it, you must.
Other 2/16 releases:
Belle & Sebastian – How To Solve Our Human Problems
Senses Fail – If There Is Light, It Will Find You
We Were Sharks – Lost Touch
Release date: 2/23
I can’t lie to you, my dearest loyal readers (because if you’ve made it this far, I have to believe you’re amazing and we should really be best friends) – this week is a mystery to me. I have not heard of a single artist here, but we’re going with it. I mean, the band’s name is We Were Sharks, and Rock Sound described them as “Punk with a mosh heavy glaze and creamy pop filling.” I mean, come on! How could we not get a little curious!
Well, go figure, this is probably every Jersey-kid’s pop punk dream. Released on Victory Records, which has a history of giving us some greats in this genre, We Were Sharks totally holds up right from the first song, “Beyond Repair.” They’re Warped Tour gold for sure, following this with “Stay” – all the fast drums with great lyrics to sing back at the stage all wrapped up in one.
What a surprising and awesome way to end our journey this month!
Other 2/23 releases:
Caroline Rose – LONER
Screaming Females – All At Once