Turn It Up: New Releases for January 2020

Selena Gomez – Rare
Release date: 1/10

Selena Gomez has come a long way in her life in general, and this album seems to be gearing up to be a testament to that. This is her first album in five years, and she has really taken the time to document her journey through song. This was put together with care and pride, and Gomez is a writer on every song.

I remember seeing the commercials with the snippet of “Lose You to Love Me” and being entranced. I don’t feel like it’s as effective without the visuals, but if you close your eyes it’s absolutely possible to lose yourself in this song. It’s vulnerable, lovely, and somehow something almost everyone has a relatable person to sing about through. I mean, think about the people who have walked away–somehow, it is actually what was needed, wasn’t it? Sorry folks, getting a little introspective as the harmonies and strings are taking my head away here.

The more upbeat “Look at Her Now” was released the next day. Selena mentioned in interviews that this was very much a pop album, and I have to say it’ll be impressive if she manages this kind of sound alongside the pop fun she seems to be experimenting with musically. Every song isn’t going to hit deep with this kind of sound, but this one is bound to contain some gems as you give it a listen.

Other 1/10 releases:
Georgia – Seeking Thrills
Circa Waves – Happy

Little Big Town – Nightfall
Release date: 1/17

Little Big Town is this incredibly lauded band who never seems to get enough credit, yet when you hear their name you acknowledge it’s something special that you’re hearing. They’re like country’s John Legend.

“The Daughters” came on my Release Radar a few months ago and knocked me over. It talks about the girl’s role as the weaker sex, and even acknowledges that the church is so concerned with God the Father and God the Son, but doesn’t talk about the God that the Daughters need in particular. Or at least, that’s what I’m getting from it. God has a motherly side too, but that’s a conversation for another time (and I’m more than willing to have it). But anywhos, in a world where girls are having a hard time being noticed and appreciated, sometimes we also feel unprotected. That’s what we’re looking for here.

“Over Drinking” is a complete country bar song, and I pray that I get to the point I’m using this one as my anthem for my last heart break. But yeah, they get it that it is something else to be so over someone this much. Like, not having that as your reason is pretty great.

Though it was deemed a promotional single only, “Sugar Coat” is thankfully actually on the album, and it’s going to get you crying all the way to the record store to buy this and put it on repeat. This is one of the most brilliantly written songs I have ever heard. Being so outwardly positive and sweet can be a downright burden, especially when you can’t take off the shield and let anyone see inside.

If these three songs are even a fraction of the goodness this album will hold, there is no doubt that this new album will solidify this group as the living legends they are.

Other 1/17 releases:
Bombay Bicycle Club – Everything Else Has Gone Wrong
Halsey – Manic

Breaking Benjamin – Aurora
Release date: 1/24

Well, this is a name I haven’t seen in a minute. I have memories of this band from years ago as a slightly dark but entirely enjoyable experience. If you’ve never heard of them, they’re going on tour with KoRn next year, so there’s your idea of where we are musically here. If you’re like me, “The Diary of Jane” is the most memorable song I have from their discography. Jane may not be a nickname of mine, but that doesn’t keep me from relating and claiming it from time to time.

Turns out this album is meant to be reimagined versions of some of their biggest songs, so there’s variety and familiarity built in.

“So Cold” was the first single released, and frontman Benjamin Burnley highlighted that this is the first time fans will have heard it since 2004. I’ll admit, I don’t have enough of a listening background of the band to evaluate differences off the bat, but the production is clean. It’s impressive to me any time a harder rock band has a clean sound. It shouldn’t be right, but you know you enjoy it more.

Scooter Ward of Cold joins the band for “Far Away.” Again, production is the biggest noticeable element to me, but also, these layers of harmonies between the main voices is really astounding. I’m not telling you your emotions will be doing well after this, but it is something to hear.

Other 1/24 releases:
Pet Shop Boys – Hotspot
Black Lips – Sing In A World That’s Falling Apart

Meghan Trainor – TREAT MYSELF
Release date: 1/31

I get a Meghan Trainor album for my birthday!

Let’s talk about a few things first: (1) This was supposed to come out last year, but Meghan wanted to add more tracks to the album. I admire the label’s confidence in her for this, because from a business perspective, that’s not an easy change.

Also, if you go to her artist page, this girl released a lot of music last year, including mixes, singles, and songs for soundtracks. (She did a fun chick cover of “I’ll Be There For You” by the way–go check it out!).

Okay, now for the songs that we know will actually be on this third album. In a bold move, the title track is not technically one of them–that’s only on the Target exclusive. I’ve never seen such a thing, but dang, I guess if you can do it, good for Target (especially since this also includes “All the Ways,” Target’s overly catchy theme song).

“No Excuses” was the first single, which came out in 2018. Meghan is fun, period. I mean, gosh, this girl is all about the self-love and just keeps things so happy. She’s like a female Andy Grammer. Now there’s a tour idea…

“Wave” came out in September (let’s note that there was only one single before the original release date… my traditional music release mind is blown). This is a duet with producer Mike Sabath. It’s slower and methodical. It’s riding the wave of the love story, and Mike Nied put it best, I think, in calling it “graceful”.

Finally there was “Evil Twin,” (“Workin On It” has also been released–not as an official single, but a teaser I guess?) which still stays poppy with just a twinge of bitterness and makes the only slight minor tone work so very well. Yet you’ll still be dancing.

Other 1/31 releases:
Louis Tomlinson – Walls
Kesha – High Road

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