Hello and Happy New Year, listeners!! I hope you’re as excited as I am to get into a new year. This is the first year I’m feeling the air of new possibilities and refreshing starts. In music, I’m not entirely sure what we’ll be in for, though I bet you all can think of a few artists who are due for a new album this year like I can. Some of them have us covered in January, so let’s see what’s happening!
Randy Houser – Magnolia
Release date: 1/11
That is some beautiful artwork!
Randy Houser has this roughness to him, but not enough to really be classified as outlaw country. He has this soft side to make you love him too. To have an album cover looking like this somehow seems to sum it all up perfectly.
Randy did this interesting thing to preview the release where it looks like he started with a 4-song EP, and has built it up a song at a time. It’s a different way to ease people into an album for sure.
So there’s six songs already available to listen to, and it starts with “No Good Place to Cry,” which brings you back to Randy’s smoky rough voice in a Stapleton-like sad blues song. He continues the trend with Hilary Lindsey in “What Whiskey Does.” Randy is the epitome of country dive bar feelings (in all the good ways, I swear).
The beat turns up a little bit with “No Stone Unturned,” a seemingly reflective song on travels that lead you where you are. If you heard Randy’s last album, it almost had a commercial pop sound, and this one seems to be the middle ground between that and the first two songs. “New Buzz” edges just a bit more into the production realm with deep vocals against some new sounds. Then he counters that with “High Time” starting with a harmonica. This is, if nothing else, a very interesting album. Each song, including the final rough and wild “Mamma Don’t Know” is unique entirely, with the only thing linking them Randy’s great voice. This is going to be a dark horse solid album this year for sure.
Other 1/11 releases:
Jacob Banks – Village
Rob Baird – After All
Switchfoot – Native Tongue
Release date: 1/18
Guess the preview EP is a thing now, because Switchfoot did the same with four of their songs this year.
Switchfoot is well known for their big hits like “Meant to Live” and “Dare You To Move” when they broke the Christian Rock/Mainstream barrier back in the early 2000’s. While their follow up work may not have garnered them as much success in the big leagues, they have been maintaining a steady low-key career with a loyal following. I went to one of their shows last year with the intention of seeing Lifehouse and sitting for their show, and found myself enjoying Switchfoot just as much. Let me tell you, they still have it. The sound this band creates hasn’t ever varied much. It is rock with incredible lyrics that will make you consider everything with every word. “Let It Happen,” “Air I Breathe,” “Voices,” and the title track, “Native Tongue” all prove it. They utilize their beats, great vocal styles, and general rock feel in a really impressive way. Don’t forget this band – they’re still strong and worthy of your listening time.
Other 1/18 releases:
Maggie Rogers – Heard It In A Past Life
Papa Roach – Who Do You Trust?
Backstreet Boys – DNA
Release date: 1/25
The Backstreet Boys like to remind us that they are adult men now with families and lives. Like, a lot. Go watch their recent music videos. Brian’s kid has got his own music career.
In all seriousness, they started promoting this album with some expected boy-band-esq songs with “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” and “Chances.” They’ll make you fall all over again, even if part of it is out of pure nostalgia.
“No Place” came out early in the year, and it’s just a fantastic tribute to their families. They manage to do that with every album somehow, but we don’t always see it come to light through a full on single or video. This was front and center to kick off the year and it is just heartwarming.
While BSB might not be cranking out the top radio hits anymore, they are still steadily making new music. I look forward to relaxing to this one to see what they have up next.
Meghan Trainor – Treat Myself
Say Anything – Oliver Appropriate