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Andrew is a staff writer at the “The Hudsucker”. He is a 28 year old lawyer living in Ottawa. Besides legal jargon, his brain capacity is taken up by reality show trivia, video game walk-throughs and room escape strategies. Andrew is also happily in a long-term, long-distance relationship. Follow him on Twitter as @sublymonal.

New Music Friday: June 2, 2017

This week was a big one for new music and so, instead of our usual review of one album, we decided to start a new tradition here at The Hudsucker by highlighting some of the best albums and singles that come out every week and that you should definitely have on your radar for the soundtrack to your summer.

New Albums

Hasley’s hopeless fountain kingdom claimed the top spot on iTunes in many countries over the weekend [Credit: Capitol Records]

One album that is dominating the charts this past weekend is Halsey’s hopeless fountain kingdom. Following her success on The Chainsmokers’ hit, Closer, the alt-pop songstress brings her attitude and unique tone to a new sound, including a risqué song about a same-sex love affair called Strangers with Fifth Harmony’s Lauren Jauregui. The singer also taps rapped Quavo, who is featured on One Directioner, Liam Payne’s new hit Strip it Down, for her song Lie. Halsey definitely has a barometer for where music is at right now, so it will be interesting to see if this album, which has a bit more structure and concept to it, will do as well as her first. Other favorites on the album for me include Alone, Eyes Closed, Now or Never, and Heaven in Hiding, which is only on the deluxe edition.

Jack Antonoff released his second album “Gone Now” as Bleachers. [Credit: RCA]

Keeping with the trend of indie-meets-pop, Jack Antonoff (of fun.) released the sophomore album from his solo project, Bleachers, entitled Gone Now. Antonoff has been very vocal that the album is an ultra-personal ode to his own battle with overcoming grief, but the album is far from depressing. The best description would be Brandon Flowers (of The Killers) on pop steroids. Antonoff, known for writing hit tracks for the likes of Taylor Swift, Lorde, and Sia, has an undeniable ear for pop and his own tunes are no exception. The added bonus is that the tracks tell a cohesive story about Antonoff’s life which almost anyone whose struggled to overcome a challenge can understand. Favorites on the album for me include Everybody Lost Somebody, Don’t Take the Money, and Hate That You Know Me, which features Antonoff’s good friend Carly Rae Jepsen, who is riding high on her own summer wave with her new track Cut to the Feeling.

Jena Irene Asciutto goes for honesty in her debut full-length album ‘Cold Fame’. [Credit: Original 1265 Recordings]

Detroit native, Jena Irene Asciutto, has also shed her American Idol skin on her new album Cold Fame which takes a more honest, raw approach to her sound. Asciutto’s debut full-length album picks up where her Innocence EP from 2016 left off and delivers a sound that’s like if the devil-may-care attitude of Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill met the intricate rock-laden piano of Evanescence, but the end result is all her own. From political commentary about the war on drugs in So I Get High to talk about the loss of one’s virtue in Innocence, Asciutto is unafraid to delve into the topics that really show fans who she is. Other favorites from the album include Black Magic and the album’s lead single Floating Down the River, but each song seems to reveal another piece of the singer’s truth.

On the subject of reinventing oneself, Amy Noonan, lead singer of the pop band Karmin, has taken on a new alias as Qveen Herby and is flexing her urban rap muscles on her first EP, entitled just EP1. The singer has always been known for her flair for unexpected rap verses on the band’s songs and covers during their live shows, but this venture really puts her to the test as she writes and her husband, Nick Noonan, produces. Amy’s swagger and rhythm is undeniable as she raps a mile a minute in Busta Rhymes and gives fans a taste of glamour on Gucci, but I have to say, the whole five song EP is worth the listen.

Rock band U2 also released a 30th anniversary edition of their flagship album The Joshua Tree, which features 17 tracks performed Live at Madison Square Garden in 1987, a disc of new remixes and a B-sides and outtakes CD. Fans of the band won’t want to miss a chance to hear some of their favorite songs in a whole new light. After seeing them live several years ago, my personal favorites are the live versions of some of their classic tunes like Pride (In the Name of Love), With or Without You, and I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. Those tracks always make me feel like I’m there watching them again.

New Singles

Lorde’s new album, Melodrama, is our June 16th. [Credit: UMG].

Following on the heels of her first two singles (Green Light and Liability) from her new album Melodrama (out June 16th), Lorde released another track Perfect Places that, again, does nothing to deter my belief that the singer’s sophomore album will live up to the hype and match the critical acclaim of her first. The track, produced by herself and the aforementioned Jack Antonoff, as well as Andrew Wyatt and Frank Dukes, displays the singer’s ability to delve into the world of pop and create a great track while maintaining the allure of her alt-indie sound.

Arcade Fire’s new single “Everything Now” shows off a different sound for the Canadian super group. [Credit: Columbia Records].

Rock music also saw a bit of resurgence last week with Canada’s own Arcade Fire and the always-stellar Foo Fighters both releasing new tracks. Right off the bat, Arcade Fire’s Everything Now sounds different than anything they’ve ever done with what, to me, sounds like a heavy disco influence. I don’t think the different sound is a bad thing though. I trust the band’s instincts and I think the different sound might help them attract new fans while continue to deliver the quality tunes their loyal fans are waiting for. The Foo Fighters’ track Run is the band’s first release since their surprise Saint Cecilia EP in November of 2015. The track is definitely true, blue Foo and bodes well for their ninth studio album that Grohl promised earlier in the year was forthcoming.

For pop fans, girl group Fifth Harmony released their first single as a foursome entitled Down and featuring rapper Gucci Mane. For those worried that the loss of Camila Cabello would signify a shift in the band’s sound, the new track seems to indicate that that is not the case, maintaining their über catchy risque brand of pop that they’re known for. After performing on the BBMAs a few weeks ago, up-and-comer Julia Michaels also released her new single Uh Huh which is best described a seductive, acoustic jam that just seems to echo the potential she’s shown so far as a new force in the music industry.

What is on your playlist this week? And which releases from the past week were your personal favorites? Let me know in the comments below.

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