Wednesday, October 21, 2015

FRESH OUT THE BOX: Demi, Selena, Ellie, Janet, Sia, & more

It's post-CMJ (but still pre-Halloween and if you know me outside of the blogosphere, you know what that means) and I'm still exhausted! Luckily, I always have music to carry me through. It's been nearly a month since my last Fresh Out The Box and that needs to be remedied -- starting right now. Let's chat about what I've been spinning the most since Q4(!) began...

THE 1975 - "Love Me" (listen)

Rowdy pop that stands solo from their usual (albeit still great) material.

ALESHA DIXON - "Tallest Girl"
Spotify has been kind to me lately, uploading quite a bit of back catalog by some of my favorite fierce British ladies like the Sugababes, Girls Aloud, and also former member of Mis-Teeq, Alesha Dixon (remember "The Boy Does Nothing"?!? Sigh.) Ms. Dixon just released a brand new solo record, Do It For Love, and while dark synthy "Tallest Girl" -- an ode to being so it love, it makes you feel like your head is in the clouds -- is my immediate fave, the entire album is full of high tempo stunners.

ANNIE - "WorkX2" (listen)
Norwegian popstar Annie's material tends to be pretty hit or miss for me and while I'm not from the gate over-the-moon for latest EP, Endless Vacation, I am living for its artwork. Genius.

DAWN RICHARD - "Dance" (listen)
You gotta hand it to Dawn, releasing strong (solo) release after strong release. "Dance" by itself is more compelling than anything I've heard (so far, at least) from dumblonde.

DEMI LOVATO - "Waitin For You (feat. SIRAH)"
The jury is out on Demi's latest disc, Confident. "Cool For The Summer" has become so overplayed, its grating and proved to be a total red herring on the album itself. "Stone Cold" is as emotionally intense as promised but I was always gravitated more toward her uptempos than her ballads. This might be why I enjoyed the title track so much more than "Cool". Album cut "Waitin For You" falls in line with "Confident", so much that it could be its b-side cousin, aggressive without being too abrasive.

ELLIE GOULDING - "Something In The Way You Move" (watch)
Ellie is 2/2 for this upcoming Delirium era, following "On My Mind" (produced by Max Martin) with this Greg Kurstin jam that feels a bit more familiar to her sound without being a retread. Ellie has called this album her "big" pop push and with a handful more Max Martin cuts on the disc, she's clearly not fooling. 

After years of waiting, Janet's latest -- Unbreakable -- is here. I'm a Janet stan so it's hard for me to be unbiased when it comes to the Queen herself but since I had such high expectations, I will admit I felt a little let down. The album is true to what was promised however, it speaks on real issues in a way that only Janet can and she really challenges herself vocally. From the minute I heard the entire disc, "Night" was my takeaway absolutely-no-question-about-it favorite, probably because it feels the most classic Janet.

KATHARINE MCPHEE - "Hysteria" (listen)
File this Kat McPhee's latest disc, Hysteria, under 'Unexpected Surprises'. It's full of pop smashes that will likely never see the chart light of day but that doesn't make them any less amazing.

LEON - "Tired of Talking" (listen)
If you're into this semi-sad, alt-pop, solo femme trend that has been happening with new female artists (Halsey, Tove Lo, Phoebe Ryan), add Leon to your "check out" list. 

LITTLE MIX - "Weird People" (listen)
I literally cannot wait for November 6th to hurry the eff up and get here. "Weird People" is Little Mix's (and the fandom who adores them's) true anthem. Turn it up loud. Embrace your weird. #PreOrderGetWeirdOniTunes

MNDR - "Kimono"
This needs to be huge -- it's such a dance banger. Easily MNDR's most mainstream offering and so catchy you won't be able to get it out of your head.

OLLY MURS - "Kiss Me" (watch)
Admittedly Olly Murs is just barely a thing here in the US and arguably a lot of that could be attributed to many of his singles sounding too much like other "of the moment" artists (read: Maroon 5). "Kiss Me" helps break this monotony with a fresh sound that fits Olly like a glove.

ONE DIRECTION - "Perfect" (watch)
There will most likely be another single release following 1D's latest in support of what might be their last album together, but "Perfect" is a pretty perfect way to bookend their incredible run. Elements of the song sound a bit like the jam that started it all -- "What Makes You Beautiful".

REBECCA & FIONA - "Sayonara"
Sometimes you have days when you just can't right now and when you do, "Sayonara" should be blared. Loud.

SELENA GOMEZ - "Sober" (listen)
If the music Sel is making now is the real her, I might be more of a Selena Gomez & The Scene kind of gal. But that's okay. What's important is girlfriend is being open about herself and telling her truth -- its clear her latest album is a step in right direction for her in terms of being an artist. But as for me, "Sober" stood apart from the rest of the album which fell victim to just too many midtempos that blurred together.

SIA - "Alive" (listen)
Any Sia is good Sia. We should all just bow our heads in awe of her greatness.

TINASHE - "Player" (listen)
Sultry vocalist Tinashe swings even further toward the poppy mainstream with "Player". It's no "2 On" -- this is a true pop/dance record. PS - no need to bother with the Chris Brown feature edit. Why can't the industry take the hint with him (and R.Kelly, while we're at it)?

TORI KELLY - "Should've Been Us (Aylen Remix)" (listen)
Viva la 90's trend.

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