Songs of the Week: 1/31/2020

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 1/31/2020.

  • Artist: Kesha
  • Song: “High Road”
  • Album: High Road
  • Genre: Pop
  • Notes: Finally! The real Kesha is back. We all know the story with Dr. Luke at this point and her last album, three years ago, was all about that experience. She sang a lot of emotional ballads about being a strong woman and I totally get that. But that wasn’t really Kesha at the core. I had really liked her first two albums, which were filled with dirty, upbeat, pop tunes. I can’t with any honesty tell you that Kesha singing dirty wasn’t a bit hot in the end. And her singing a song called “Kinky” on this record is still hot. I’m a dude, c’mon. But as always, it’s at least mostly about the music with me. So for High Road, she said she was getting back to those dirty songs that she liked and shit, she came back with a vengeance here. The album is filled with bangers and a lot of her dirty, dirty mouth. No need to talk about her rapping in “Honey” but there are a ton of songs here that go back to what she’s best at and belongs doing. The title track is certainly one of them.
  • Artist: Theory of a Deadman
  • Song: “Ted Bundy”
  • Album: Say Nothing
  • Genre: Alt. Rock / Pop
  • Notes: I’ve never liked Theory of a Deadman and I only know the hit singles from the past decade but at some point (either now or previously) they changed from a hard/alt rock band to this, which has some rock elements but almost sounds like pop at this point. The album is certainly more melodic than I would have expected it to be based on previous history alone and with that, I may not recognize the group but I certainly like this a lot more than before. And it certainly looks and feels like they are trying to go by just “Theory” now as the “of a Deadman” part doesn’t appear on the album cover. So maybe they are trying to tell us something. And apparently they have screwed the pooch on this one with fans. Man, this album is getting such hate because they are no longer a rock band. Seems like their fans are calling them “Theory of a Deadband” now. That’s kind of funny. Since I was never a fan – welcome to my world now, Theory.
  • Artist: Wild Nothing
  • Song: “Dizziness”
  • Album: Laughing Gas EP
  • Genre: Indie/Dream Pop
  • Notes: Call it Indie Pop, Dream Pop, Adult Pop, whatever you feel like, but what I call it is a lush throwback to the 80s. As you know, I’m a sucker for a well done, modern, yet vintage 80s feel to music and Wild Nothing hits every checkpoint on this one.
  • Artist: Ben Watt
  • Song: “Summer Ghosts”
  • Album: Storm Damage
  • Genre: Indie pop
  • Notes: Ben Watt was one half of the duo “Everything But the Girl” who were a huge band in the UK, but only had one lone hit in the US, with “Missing” in 1995. I never followed them, so I don’t have much historical context to know if this sounds different or similar to the band but Storm Damage is a pretty mellow disc overall, feature lush, pretty adult sounding pop, mixed with some jazzy elements. It’s a beautiful record as a whole with “Summer Ghosts” being the stand out to me.
  • Artist: Yo Gotti
  • Song: “H.O.E. (Heaven on Earth)”
  • Album: Untrapped
  • Genre: Rap
  • Notes: While I’m still listening to everything new that comes in my feed, Yo Gotti’s title of this new record really caught my eye. “Untapped” – which I assume refers to the fact that he’s not a bullshit trap artist. And then I came across this song, which is an incredible rap tune. Old school-ish with the 808 and even Yo Gotti, who definitely mumbles a bit, comes off as clear compared to the younger rappers of 2020. Weirdly though, I have no idea where the “Heaven on Earth” comes into play. Haha.
  • Artist: Sløtface
  • Song: “Tap the Pack”
  • Album: Sorry for the Late Reply
  • Genre: Pop-Punk
  • Notes: This is the second album from this pop-punk band out of Norway. It’s a great record overall, full of energy and attitude and even with some lush pop ballads in there. But overall it’s a punk record at heart.
  • Artist: Blossoms
  • Song: “Your Girlfriend”
  • Album: Foolish Loving Spaces
  • Genre: Pop
  • Notes: Sparking pop record here from Blossoms, an English band that just released their 3rd album. The details in the lyrics on their songs are pretty great and they know how to write a hook for sure.
  • Artist: Key Glock
  • Song: “Dough”
  • Album: Yellow Tape
  • Genre: Hip Hop
  • Notes: Yellow Tape is Key Glock’s second solo mixtape which at this point is just another full length record. And this marks a second very listenable hip-hop album this week. I’m a sucker for good samples and when you sample Dr. Dre, you get on my radar.
  • Artist: Frances Quinlan
  • Song: “Went To LA”
  • Album: Likewise
  • Genre: Indie Rock/Pop
  • Notes: Frances Quinlan is the leader of a local (to me) indie rock group called Hop Along. This is her first solo record and damn, it’s good. It’s mostly rock based but with a great pop hook now and again (“Now That I’m Back”). “Went To LA” with the pained screaming at the end feels like a solid representation of this album.
  • Artist: Dustbowl Revival
  • Song: “Enemy”
  • Album: Is It You, Is It Me
  • Genre: Americana/Folks/Roots Rock
  • Notes: So they call themselves an American roots orchestra and that’s probably a perfect description. This feels folksy and Americana at the core but with orchestral elements and some pop touches all from the whopping eight members of this band. Although slightly underproduced, the album kind of has a Mumford and Sons appeal to them but with a more orchestral feel. Fascinating record and song here.

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