Can anyone else believe it’s already 2018? I mean, I know we say it all the time, but where did the past year go?? Anyway, the exciting thing is New Year – New Music! There’s all kinds of anticipated albums to come this year, including the most recent drop from Justin Timberlake (even though I swear I heard he was done with music after 20/20, but thank goodness that wasn’t fact). While the first week was apparently void of all new releases, the next three weeks of the year are chock-full, and I’m here to give you a taste of what I personally think will be the best (not to mention a little rundown of anything else you may want to check out that week). The industry didn’t make it easy, but let’s give this a shot!
BORNS – Blue Madonna
Release date: 1/12
That moment when you wonder if you ever really knew an artist’s genre as you go to press play – that’s what I just went through as I hit play on the first of the four lead-off singles we’ve gotten from 2017 here, “Faded Heart.” So very much production, but in a really good way – and if you read what I write regularly, you know that’s not something that typically jives well with me.
Neither Wiki nor listening to the second song, “Sweet Dreams,” is helping me define here. They go with “indie pop/psychedelic pop/alternative rock/synth-pop/electropop” and while I can see all five, my head’s spinning a bit. This is the more mellow number, I suppose. “I Don’t Want U Back” brings in that synth element, and holy cow the auto tune in spots. Well, if nothing else, I think there’s something for everyone on this particular release.
I’m not a really huge on Lana Del Ray, but she’s featured on the last and latest single, “God Save Our Young Blood,” and it’s not bad. It’s at least enough to balance out my desire to hear the rest of the album and feel okay recommending that you all do the same.
Other 1/12 releases:
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Wrong Creatures
Camila Cabello – Camila
Phillip Phillips – Collateral
Release date: 1/19
Fair and full disclosure: I am always and forever partial to artists I’ve seen live, and Phillip Phillips opened for the Goo Goo Dolls this past summer, finally breaking out of that “little Dave Matthews” mold I think some people (including myself) have been grouping him into. He’s thrown himself into writing and producing the heck out of this records and the music that’s being produced (so far) from it is proof.
“Miles” is a 90’s throwback so it’s completely perfectly timed for today’s scene where almost-(not quite!)-30-somethings like me are nostalgic for the better days of Matchbox Twenty and the like. It ebbs and flows so perfectly with building guitars and hard moments to jump into. Prefect lead single.
And then, oh my friends – we’ve gotten to experimental-artist time here, because this jam-band-kid is doing a soulful silky jazz number with “Magnetic.” It’s wrapped into some great guitar parts as it moves through, and this boy could be found in any good New Orleans bar if you’d let him.
To top it all off, we were given “Dance With Me” ahead of the release which is just as romantic and sweet as anything you’ll hear Ed Sheeran do. These three songs together make up a great small collection, and I cannot wait to hear what the full final product brings us.
Other 1/19 releases:
Charlie Puth – Voicenotes
Fall Out Boy – MANIA
(+Glen Hasard, The Shins, They Might Be Giants, Clean Bandit, Belle & Sebastian, Of Mice & Men, and Devin Dawson – JAM PACKED WEEK!)
Steep Canyon Rangers – Out in The Open
Release date: 1/26
In a gentle turn, we see the final release Friday of the month give us a few lo-key releases to ease us into Grammys weekend. Steep Canyon Rangers give us their sweet sounds of bluegrass. Now, please don’t stop reading at that word, because right off the bat, “Going Midwest” is like no bluegrass song I’ve ever heard. It’s got this balance between traditional country and folk that I wouldn’t have boxed into this genre one bit.
The title track, “Out in the Open” followed this up as a teaser track, and if you’re a fan this may be closer to what you’re looking for. That said, I’m not even sure I would push them right back into that bluegrass section. They definitely bring their own unique flavor (as always – trust me, I’m not new here), and it completely warrants putting the full album on when it’s available.
Other 1/26 releases:
Caleixco – The Thread That Keeps Us
Craig David – The Time Is Now