Will Love’s December 2020 Music Memo
Originally titled “To Die For” slated for release in June, the Coronavirus Pandemic resulted in the release of Sam Smith’s third studio album being pushed back to October 30th under the new title Love Goes. Unlike Smith’s past efforts, Love Goes has an even balance of heartbreaking ballads and euphoric pop tracks. Sam Smith always shines his best on the ballads, ala “Young” and “For the Lover That I Lost.” Nevertheless, his experimental venture into house and disco illustrate Smith isn’t just a one-trick pony, particularly on “Dance (‘Til You Love Someone Else)” and “Diamonds.” Overall, one of the best albums of the season.
Ariana Grande surprised fans in October when she publicly announced her sixth studio album, Positions, only two weeks prior to release. The shock factor worked as the title track debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, extending her record as the artist with the most #1 debuts on the chart (five to date), becoming the first artist with three #1s in a single year and becoming the first artist to have the lead single of each album debut in the Top 10. Although not as deep as Grande’s previous albums (Dangerous Woman, Thank U Next), in an emotional rollercoaster year like 2020, Positions was almost necessary with its soothing infusion of pop, trap, and R&B. The lyrical content is highly sexual in nature, and although Ariana Grande does not break any new ground, the experimental sound coupled with Grande’s powerhouse vocals make for the perfect fusion.
First announced in 2015 and undergoing various name changes over the years, in conjunction with rumors that this would be the trio’s final album, Major Lazer has finally released their fourth studio album, Music Is the Weapon. Having landed on various highly anticipated lists, the album features contributions from a wealth of industry names, including Alessia Cara, French Montana, Nicki Minaj, and Khalid. While there are no dull moments present, some of the album’s sweet spots include the opening “Hell and High Water” and “Oh My Gawd.” This is a highly diverse electronic record with influences from a variety of genres, ranging from Latin music to Hip-Hop, a challenge Major Lazer effortlessly pulls off.
A Very Trainor Christmas marks the fourth studio album and debut holiday album by Meghan Trainor. The album is diverse in content as it features covers of the most well-known Christmas classics (“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” “Last Christmas”) as well as six original recordings. A whopping eighteen tracks in total, Meghan Trainor delivers nearly an hour of high-energy music guaranteed to put even the biggest grinch into the holiday spirit. In addition to the classics, some of the original standout highlights include “Christmas Party” and the anthemic “Naughty List.”
Goo Goo Dolls
Definitely the most polarizing holiday record of the season, the Goo Goo Dolls took many by surprise with the release of It’s Christmas All Over. Then again, for a multi-platinum rock band that has toured the world over the past 30 years, this was a savvy way to switch up the game. While some critics have mocked the album for its inclusion of holiday standards as playing it safe, given the fact that the primary reason for the album was the Goo Goo Dolls’ desire to escape a horrible 2020, it feels more necessity than anything else. Likewise, the juxtaposition of classics mixed in with originals like “This Is Christmas” and “You Ain’t Getting Nothin” makes for a solid effort highlighted by rock and jazz influences alike.
The Top 5
Songs of the Winter:
As we make our way through the most arduous year ever and into an uncertain 2021, these are the beats to get you on the dancefloor, through heartbreak, and all in your feelings this season despite the frigid weather.
- Marshmello, Imanbek, Usher – Too Much
- Ava Max – Who’s Laughing Now
- Justin Bieber & Chance the Rapper – Holy
- Sam Smith – Diamonds
- JoJo – The Change