Sunday, March 08, 2015

FRESH OUT THE BOX: Carly Rae Jepson, Kelly Clarkson, Jordin Sparks, Rixton & More

This past week was a biggie for 2015 New Releases. It saw the comeback of a Career Artist (Kelly Clarkson) and a potential fire-breather single (Carly Rae Jepsen). Read on for my favorite nuggets from this week and click the titles to hear the song for yourself.

Carly's brand of sugary pop is the English-language version of Girls' Generation's "Oh". I don't want to like it, but it's so effervescent and infectious that you can't help it. There's no telling if it will top "Call Me Maybe" and I quite prefer some Kiss b-side material to this but it makes me hopeful for what is to come for this new era of Jepsen.

When I found out teenage, budding popstar Franceso Yates was Canadian, I really was surprised. After listening to his latest "Nobody Like You", I assumed he was of that Scandinavian pedigree! He's inked a deal with Atlantic and is/has been working with Pharrell. Danger Will Robinson, this one could explode. 

Every. Single. Thing. this Swedish act puts out makes me happy. "Higher" is the new cut on the Kate Boy EP that was released this week (the rest of the EP is familiar terrain of fabulous already-released singles and should be blared at 11, stat).

It's the most "modern" sounding cut on Piece By Piece, a decidedly personal album that read like a mostly positive reflection of how happy Kelly currently is at the moment. It can be thought of like the more optimistic twin when paired with also personal (and also underrated) My December album. If you were waiting for a banger (like I was), you'll be disappointed. But when it comes to Career Artists like Kelly has proved herself to be, it's more about overall quality and it's clear she's in a great place.

Post-"Battlefield" (& Jay-SON De-RULO), Jordin is on a decidedly more urban bend. While her mixtape post-breakup Eff-You single "It Ain't You" still felt at least a little pop friendly, "Double Tap" is not. The beat is sparse and ridiculously catchy and very much en vogue right now (a la Tinashe) but the jury is out on how I feel about a whole song about getting likes on Instagram (have we not learned from Fifth Harmony?). Perhaps I'm just too old. 

Rixton had racked up a whole row of really rad midtempos ("Me & My Broken Heart", "Wait On Me", "Hotel Ceiling"). Despite that being a fact, I was still surprised how much I enjoyed the full set which dropped this week. Mostly I was stuck on the album opener and title track "Let The Road" which is largely a capella and is stunning.

I plead the fifth. Technically, this positive anthem is out this week only in the UK (and it was already a single in their native Australia). But it's an excuse to squee about my love for this underrated gal duo. Their third album, The Veronicas, was released with little fanfare in the US at the end of February but hope still lingers for more Stateside promotions.

Like with Kate Boy, every crumb that Brooklyn(!)-based Verite (pronounced: Ver-it-tay) releases rocks my socks. My seeing her at CMJ this past year only stoked the fire and I can't wait to see her live again and in an even more intimate setting at the Mercury Lounge next month. I don't know how she's not signed (unless it's a personal choice).

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