Songs of the Week – 1/17/2020

In 2019, I was listening to every new release that came up on the Tidal streaming service. I would listen to the first two tracks at a minimum. If those didn’t strike some kind of chord, I moved on to the next one. If they did, I listened to the full album and then reviewed it here.

For 2020, I’m going to change it up a bit so that I can introduce the masses to more great new music that I can’t always put to words in album form. I’m still going to listen to all those records but instead of writing up full albums, I’m simply going to post links to “songs of the week.” This way, I can point out many more great songs and you can then go and hunt more tunes down yourself if you so choose.

So… songs of the week for the release date of 1/17/2020.

  • Artist: Eminem
  • Song: “Stepdad”
  • Album: Music To Be Murdered By
  • Genre: Rap
  • Notes: Surprise! Another Eminem secret drop. It’s always a great morning when Em drops a new album, especially a nice shock when he hasn’t announced it first. And Music To Be Murdered By is not only his best album in years but also his most diverse.
  • Artist: Theophilus London
  • Song: “Marchin'”
  • Album: Bebey
  • Genre: Alternative Hip Hop
  • Notes: This is London’s first album in six years and third overall. Alternative Hip Hop is a pretty good label for him but this song has more of an Island reggae vibe to it. In fact, a lot of the record kind of has that laid back island vibe to it.
  • Artist: Hayley Kiyoko
  • Song: “Demons”
  • Album: I’m Too Sensitive For This Shit
  • Genre: Pop
  • Notes: Every time I hear her name, I think I’m getting Kaley Cuoco instead. Damn it – just too close. But I’m guessing this actress is also the better singer. This is pretty fine dance pop, though just a 5 song EP.
  • Artist: Gabrielle Aplin
  • Song: “Miss You 2”
  • Album: Dear Happy
  • Genre: Pop
  • Notes: It’s really surprising that Gabrielle Aplin isn’t a major star by now. Her music has evolved from mostly folky ballads at the start, to shiny, upbeat pop songs that fit right aside any number of women on the radio now. (I keep thinking Halsey but maybe that’s because she released an album this week too). But either way, if this album doesn’t make her a hit, then she’s never going to be one. But she’s excellent and deserves it.
  • Artist: Dustin Lynch
  • Song: “Ridin’ Roads”
  • Album: Tullahoma
  • Genre: Pop
  • Notes: Not quite bro-country but sung by someone who very well could be a bro soon – this is an album that should be a huge country hit making Dustin Lynch a household name soon. Well, in households that listen to country at least.
  • Artist: Anti-Flag
  • Song: “The Disease”
  • Album: 20/20 Vision
  • Genre: Punk Rock
  • Notes: Well, it’s about fucking time that Anti-Flag released a record during the Trump Administration. Their last one was in 2017 and we obviously hadn’t gotten to quite the state of the country that we’re in right now just as he was starting his presidency. But with Trump on the cover, you just know what you’re in for.
  • Artist: Whyte Horses w/ La Roux
  • Song: “Mister Natural”
  • Album: Hard Times
  • Genre: Pop,
  • Notes: Hard Times is the third album from Whyte Horses. This is pop music at the core but with all kinds of various influences. UK artists have raved about the band over the years and while I’ve never heard the previous records, this one is pretty great. Songs sound very familiar yet fresh at the same time. Good formula.
  • Artist: Of Montreal
  • Song: “Polyaneurism”
  • Album: UR Fun
  • Genre: Indie Dance Pop
  • Notes: I truly am fun. Of Montreal got that part right – well, they got the album right as well. If you haven’t listened to Of Montreal in a long while, they are not the super indie twee pop group they started out as. Their previous record and this one harken back to and 80s dance pop sound that’s catchy as hell.
  • Artist: Wolf Parade
  • Song: “Against the Day”
  • Album: Thin Mind
  • Genre: Indie Rock
  • Notes: Thin Mind is the band’s fifth album and this is filled with fun, keyboard/electronic driven indie rock.
  • Artist: Pinegrove
  • Song: “Dotted Line”
  • Album: Marigold
  • Genre: Indie Folk/Rock
  • Notes: “Dotted Line” is the first track of the New Jersey band’s 4th LP. Definitely get both a folk and rock feel throughout the album, which is decent overall but leads with the best track on the disc.
  • Artist: Suicide Silence
  • Song: “Feel Alive”
  • Album: Two Steps EP
  • Genre: Deathcore
  • Notes: Two Steps is an unexpectedly good EP from Suicide Silence after putting out a nu-metal record in 2017. The nu-metal sound is gone, at least from these four tracks and I’d call these the heaviest songs they’ve ever made. The tracks are rooted in hardcore but the Death Metal really comes through here. Their new album is out on Feb. 14th and I normally would have just waited for it to highlight a track but this is such a shift from the previous record that I thought it was worth calling out. It’s like they know they fucked up and are making up for it.
  • Artist: Amber Liu
  • Song: “Other People”
  • Album: X (EP)
  • Genre: K-pop
  • Notes: Amber Liu is Taiwanese but was born in the US, which kind of makes her brand of K-pop a bit unique. The album definitely has a K-pop feel to it, 9which is usually pop that’s about 20 years behind current radio trends) but with a definite influence from US pop music. It’s a neat little blend to be honest, though I feel like this is kind of America’s Got Talent music in the end.
  • Artist: Sons of Apollo
  • Song: “New World Today”
  • Album: MMXX
  • Genre: Progressive Metal/Rock
  • Notes: Cool supergroup, composed of drummer Mike Portnoy, bassist Billy Sheehan, keyboardist Derek Sherinian, vocalist Jeff Scott Soto and guitarist Bumblefoot – this is a pretty damn solid progressive metal/rock album that isn’t too far on the progressive side, so that pretty much anyone that likes rock/metal can find something to get into. The track here is the most progressive on the album. The record also comes with the instrumentals and a capella versions of the tracks. The instrumentals might be even better than the fully complete songs.

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