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LIVE FROM NEW YORK: Rachel Platten + Christina Grimmie at Irving Plaza

The Wildfire Tour: (l to r) Eric Hutchinson, Rachel Platten, Christina Grimmie
A night of positive-vibes and lyrical feels, indeed. That is how to best sum up Rachel Platten's WILDFIRE Tour.

My excitement over Rachel Platten kind of took me by surprise, to be honest. I loved the empowerment directive behind "Fight Song" just as much as everyone else -- a true little "single that could" with a positive message that didn't feel forced. It was more because Platten herself is no spring chicken or overnight success. She's been working the live music beat even here in New York for years, playing shows relentlessly, first releasing music independently back in 2003(!) before getting her big break and signing on with Columbia Records. Her battlecry to be heard ("This is My Fight Song!") and tireless pursuit of her dreams is the epitome of inspiring, no matter who you are.

FRESH OUT THE BOX: Cardiknox, King, Icona Pop, Missy Elliot, Sigala, Walk the Moon

February flew by, now didn't it? March will mark the end of Q1 and we've already got a full selection of bangers and potential advocates for Best Album of 2016. Not too shabby. Click to the cut to read more about (some) of the tunes I've been jamming to this February.

FRESH OUT THE BOX: Foxes, Majid Jordan, St. Lucia, Sia, Zendaya, Grease! Live!, & More

The past three #NewMusicFridays have offered up some stellar stuff, including four albums I'm putting on my list as 'The Best of 2016 (So Far)'. That's some big shoes to fill. Last week saw an important anniversary in Janet Jackson's Control turning 30 (so make sure you do your homework and listen to the whole record). Also, if you didn't watch Grease! Live! on FOX (aka Vanessa Hudgens real star-making moment), you were missing out.

Read on for all the tea in terms of what I've been listening to for the past three weeks.

WATCH THIS: 17 Thoughts while Watching Beyonce's "Formation" Return

I guess you can say the Return of Beyonce was unexpected -- but considering the debacle TIDAL is facing with their Rihanna Rollout, someone needs to reinforce that they serve a real and potentially powerful purpose in the industry.

Queen Bey dropped a "surprise" music video featuring the first new material we've heard from her in what feels like forever. Don't have TIDAL? Watch it here.

My initial thoughts & feelings were:
  • What is this? And why does it feel like overnight Beyonce went from proper pop chanteuse to Voice of a Generation?
  • I also feel reckless when I rock my Givenchy dress, because I cannot reconcile that amount of $$$ for one piece of clothing I'll probably wear in public two or three times total in my lifetime, k?
  • Does this remind anyone else of "7/11"? That bounce beat both grates on my nerves and makes me want to dance.
  • I TWIRL ON THEM HATERS; RIDE ON ALLIGATORS (also someone get me a shirt that says I TWIRL ON THEM HATERS stat, kthanks....and in the time I took to type that, I'm sure it already exists) UPDATE: Yes, it already exists.

SECOND TIME AROUND: Smashes Covered by JoJo, Travis Garland, Andra Day, & Elle King

Because sometimes it's just as good (or better) the second time. Four of my favorite artists at the moment -- all fab in their own right, all with track records of being excellent at elevating material even when it's not their own -- have dropped some awesome cover versions that have either: 1) made me rethink how I felt about the original tune, 2) done exactly what a good cover should do: re-invented the original.

Read on for more and to hear the covers...
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