Um, excuse me, but where did summer go? Where is this (albeit gorgeous) colder weather coming from? A sure sign it’s fall: new music is abound, as everyone gets those fall releases in. I could venture to guess it’s because Grammy nominations are coming (the most wonderful time of the year, in my opinion), or maybe to promote for some great Christmas presents. Maybe it’s because we’re all heading back inside on these colder-to-come days and will be streaming so much more. Whatever the reason – I’m not complaining. You guys know me by now – there can never be enough music. Let’s check out who’s serving up new albums this month.
Thomas Rhett – Life Changes
Release date: 9/8
I remember being so confused when Sam Hunt said he was only going to do singles, not full-length albums anymore. This, coming from a country artist (in a genre where consumers are still buying physical product – despite the three concerts I went to this summer where there were no CDs for sale…), was surprising. I had hopes that this wasn’t going to start a trend, considering what a top guy Sam is in the industry.
Thankfully, Thomas Rhett has calmed my fears. As one of probably the biggest names in country music today with, easily, one of the most hectic schedules and lives (congrats on the new baby!), he still made a full-length album for our enjoyment. He could have rode on “Craving You” (featuring my girl-crush, Maren Morris) for a little longer, then hopped onto another song. Instead, we’ve gotten a taste of the new songs through steady unofficial single releases via Spotify, and are amped up for the whole thing to drop.
Thomas is “new country” – borderline Bro, incorporates a little rap, but generally is there for the good, sweet backroad times that we honestly look for in this genre. “Unforgettable” (the official second single) is closer to pop, but there’s no denying that little country bump in the backing. I still don’t understand why so many people mention Coldplay these days in their lyrics, but whatever. I want a campfire stat for this one.
The other songs? Well, “Sixteen” will have you all kinds of nostalgic and wishful at once (who knew Thomas was old enough to have this kind of nostalgia, by the way?). We get a surprising love song in the one called “Grave” to melt a bit, and you have to believe that between an adoption and new baby, that one’s for his wife (think the “Die A Happy Man” feels all over again). “Life Changes” is personal and sums up that smile this man carries around.
Oh, and he duets with his poppa, Rhett Akins. Yeah, this is going to be a good ol’ boys record and I can’t wait to hear it from start to finish.
Other 9/8 releases:
Jack Johnson – All The Light Above It Too
Tori Almos – Native Invaders
Ringo Starr – Give More Love
Release date: 9/15
Don’t worry – the backstory I’m about to share with y’all isn’t meant to make you feel bad. I promise I can look back on these memories with some kind of wistful smile.
My mom was the Beatles fan. I mean, I assumed they were the end-all-be-all of music until I discovered Hanson when I was 8 (literally – I assumed every song was written by them, and performed by either them, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, or Celine Dion). We had every album (except the elusive Fan Club Christmas one… someday). We listed to Anthology until even I knew every word and the tapes about wore out.
Ringo was my favorite. Even from an early age, I had to go against the norm and love the drummer (I believe that’s what led me to an odd attraction to good arms, but that’s another article for another time). I also thought he looked to be having the most fun, and the Ringo-written tracks obviously appealed to my only-child colorful imagination. Plus, the man later showed an affinity for Country Music – clearly, the best Beatle.
So when I was… gosh, 10 or so, and the Internet was at my fingertips and we found out he would be touring through Atlantic City with the All Starr Band, it was a no-brainer. We were there. And we were there every other year, when he’d tour again, for 10+ years. I got older and appreciated all of the other songs so much more, and my mom was…. Well, she was 16 again during each show. This made for a weird argument about who he was singing about during “You’re Sixteen” that makes me giggle a little to this day.
I haven’t seen Ringo live since I lost my mother over two years ago (despite his shows in Brooklyn and birthday celebrations in Central Park), but regardless, seeing him continue to release music surrounding all I’ve ever hoped for through music – Peace and Love – never fails to make me smile. If you’re reading this to get an idea of the sounds to come – know that it’s gentle, wonderful, and every bit as Beatles-esque as you could ever want from this living legend (plus the many, many living legends that accompany him on it – seriously, Google it – I’ll give you one name… Paul).
It took me a year to listen to Beatles music again, and even hearing this new music is tough, but worth it. Thank you – both Mom and Ringo – for this musical gift.
Other 9/15 releases:
Foo Fighters – Concrete & Gold
Wyclef Jean – Carnival III: The Rise And Fall Of A Refugee
The Killers – Wonderful Wonderful
Release date: 9/22
The Killers have always mildly fascinated me for some reason, and this fifth album just keeps that interest going. Maybe it’s Brandon Boyd’s drive to make so many projects work and the fact that, in a unique way, he does it. I mean, have you ever heard someone say they don’t like The Killers?
“The Man” takes things to a disco area that takes some time to appreciate – in that, you remember it’s not disco, just the sound of this band bringing those elements into our odd-ball new millennium culture. And on further investigation, perhaps the Kool & The Gang sample in the song may have something to do with it. I dare you not to literally strut down the street to this one.
We mellow out on that sound with “Run For Cover” (which is not really more mellow, but I feel justified by the Bob Marley sample that’s included). It’s quick paced, but more rock based, and there seems to be a general toss-up out there on which of the first two singles were better. This one’s my pick, but I never was a fan of the 70’s sound.
By the way, Ryan Tedder helped produce some of this album. My concept of Indie Pop has completely been shattered, and that’s 100% okay.
The title track is the latest song we’ve gotten to sample, and to be honest the thing that’s starting to interest me most about this album is how all the songs will fit together. These three don’t tie out aside from Boyd’s familiar voice and vocal effects on it. “Wonderful Wonderful” is set to be the opening track, and it does seem to march in and create the same anticipation as I’m starting to have for this late-September release.
Other 9/22 releases:
Circa Survive – The Amulet
Haley Reinhart – What’s That Sound?
Miley Cyrus – Younger Now
Release date: 9/29
I know, I’m as surprised as y’all probably are that I’m choosing this one to write about, especially with Demi dropping an album on the same day (which, um, timing is weird). But Miley has been intriguing me lately. Obviously, girl lost her dang mind for a few years there, at least by “normal” standards. She did things that were in no way socially acceptable, but definitely owned it.
There’s something about her attitude in recent months though, that seems to show a maturity. Granted, I’m basing this entirely on her music, since I really haven’t kept up with the latest gossip. “Malibu” just has such a, well, nice sound to it. It’s relaxing but there’s something really honest in there about life, so I have to believe Miley is coming around to making adult decisions and, maybe more importantly, realizations.
“Inspired” wasn’t an official single, but it is available to stream in promotion of the new album. It’s sweet and light, and I’ll go ahead and say this – I feel Tennessee in here (there are even moments that you can tell her Godmother, Dolly Parton, really did play a huge role in this girl’s life). Her voice is even slightly crisper (her laziness in enunciation is one of my few vocal complaints about Miley), and the title and feel just all fit together.
The second single is the title track, “Younger Now,” and I guess of the three this is the closest to her persona over the past few years. Even in saying that, the opening line plays: feels like I just woke up, and I have to believe this is Miley finding her way back all while looking ahead. Did anyone expect her to go legitimately deep on us? Did you expect to care this much and want this album in its entirety? Me either. But I do.
Other 9/29 releases:
Demi Lovato – Tell Me You Love Me
Echosmith – Inside A Dream