Songs of the Week: 2/14/2020

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 2/14/2020.

  • Artist: Justin Beiber
  • Song: “Forever”
  • Album: Changes
  • Genre: R&B / Pop
  • Notes: Listen, I’m no Justin Bieber fan and he just seems to be making the same type of song over and over now on his own or as a featured artist. Mid-tempo bangers where the focus is his melodic chorus. He’s certainly changed his sound over the course of his career but he’s found his niche now and this album is chocked full of the type of song you’ve heard him on everywhere for ages. Until I looked it up, I didn’t realize that he hadn’t put out an album in 5 years because he’s on every track, everywhere these days. “Forever” will be a major hit on radio as soon as its released as a single. It features the other artist that has found his niche with the same mid-tempo pop / R&B songs – Post Malone.

  • Artist: Huey Lewis and the News
  • Song: “Remind Me Why I Love You Again”
  • Album: Weather
  • Genre: Blues Rock
  • Notes: Holy moly! As an 80s collector and fan, I have always loved Huey Lewis and the News, from their pop and rock songs to their blues albums and in between. But with Huey going deaf in the past couple years, I wasn’t expecting any new music from the band again. But ten years after their last record, here’s Huey Lewis and the News back with a rockin’ blues album called Weather featuring songs written and recorded before his hearing issues. Unfortunately, it’s only 7 songs and 26 minutes long but it’s fantastic – in fact, maybe the best album of the year so far. While it won’t remind you of “Hip to be Square” or “I Want a New Drug,” if you’re a fan, you’ll get the vintage vibe of many of the non-singles on quite a few tracks, including this fantastic track. You get six tracks of great blues rock and a country number to finish the disc. Now here’s hoping that Huey and all his doctors can get his hearing back enough to tour again.

  • Artist: Beach Bunny
  • Song: “Cuffing Season”
  • Album: Honeymoon
  • Genre: Indie Rock
  • Notes: Beach Bunny has released four good to excellent EPs in the last four years but has finally put together enough songs to release their first full length record and it’s well worth the wait. Beach Bunny reminds me a lot of the female fronted indie rock bands from the early to mid-90s that were all over college radio or essentially the movement that I feel was kind of led by Juliana Hatfield.

  • Artist: Carly Pearce
  • Song: “Call Me”
  • Album: Carly Pearce
  • Genre: Country
  • Notes: This is very typical modern country pop music from a very typical modern country pop artist. With this type of music, I’ve learned to just accept it for what it is. Looking for innovation is futile but if you’re looking to be entertained and you like country crossover, then the music Carly Pearce is making fits squarely in that box.

  • Artist: Black Swan
  • Song: “Big Disaster”
  • Album: Shake the World
  • Genre: Senior Circuit Hard Rock
  • Notes: Unless it sucks completely, I’m always going to recommend some big dumb traditional hard rock up to you and especially when the group and album is on Frontiers records – which is almost single handedly keeping aging hard rockers in business. Black Swan is another supergroup mash-up, consisting of Vocalist Robin McAuley (McAuley Schenker Group), guitarist Reb Beach (Winger, Whitesnake), bassist Jeff Pilson (Foreigner, The End Machine, ex-Dokken), and drummer Matt Starr (Ace Frehley, Mr. Big). And of course, if you know any of those bands at all, this album sounds exactly like what you’d expect from them. Just like the recommendation above, nothing new in the genre at all but as with 99% of these bands that mix various levels of stars from various levels of three decade old rock bands, albums are usually entertaining if it’s a genre you still enjoy. And I do.
  • Artist: Jack River
  • Song: “Later Flight”
  • Album: Stranger Heart EP
  • Genre: Pop / Indie Rock
  • Notes: Just so you don’t think I posted the wrong thing – Jack River is actually a woman. And while I’m not a big fan of this indie rock / pop EP as a whole, “Later Flight” is a wonderful pop track that’s immediately catchy.

  • Artist: Anvil
  • Song: “Nabbed in Nebraska”
  • Album: Legal at Last
  • Genre: Heavy Metal
  • Notes: You have to give it to Anvil for keeping up the good fight and creating silly but good heavy metal music, 40 years in and nearly 20 albums later.

  • Artist: Ihsahn
  • Song: “Rock and Roll Is Dead”
  • Album: Telemark
  • Genre: Black Metal / Rock
  • Notes: Well, this is interesting as hell. Ihsahn is a pretty unique black metal artist that doesn’t really give a shit what you think about what genre’s of music he plays. This EP begins with three killer Black Metal tracks and then he tosses a few covers in. This one is, yes, a cover of the Lenny Kravitz song and way more straight forward than I would have expected it to be. But like I said, you never really know what to expect from this dude.
  • Artist: Jeremiah Johnson
  • Song: “Tornado”
  • Album: Heavens to Betsy
  • Genre: Blues / Southern Rock
  • Notes: Jeremiah Johnson is a St. Louis bluesman, guitarist and vocalist and expertly blends Blues with Southern Rock for a pretty rockin’ sound.

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