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Album cover of Lady Gaga
Album cover of Lady Gaga "Dawn of Chromatica" 2021

Will Love’s Music Memo

Lady Gaga 

While highly anticipated, Lady Gaga’s Dawn of Chromatica, the remix album of 2020’s Chromatica, is a bit underwhelming. In fact, the remix album actually makes you appreciate the original concept even more. Given how musically appealing Chromatica was, one would assume the remix album would parallel if not exceed its expectations. Although Dawn of Chromatica is not entirely disappointing, it is not gratifying either. The album comes across very mediocre especially by Lady Gaga standards.

Album cover of Drake "Certified Lover Boy" 2021
Album cover of Drake “Certified Lover Boy” 2021

The album features contributions from Pabllo Vittar, Rina Sawayama, Bree Runway and Charli XCX, whose remix collaboration of “911” is the highlight of the record. Between this uninspired remix album coupled with the second postponement of The Chromatica Ball Tour, a disappointment given concerts and games have been taking place at MetLife Stadium where Gaga was due to perform in August; the Chromatica era has come across extremely lackluster. The rumored released of Artpop Act II, which fans have been looking forward to since 2013, is certainly going to deliver something stronger, because it was recorded at a time when Gaga seemed more passionate about her music (gasp).

Drake 

At first listen the production and instrumentals are reminiscent of when Drake was at his peak (circa 2010’s Thank Me Later and 2011’s Take Care). Reminiscent is the key word here. This is definitely Drake’s most cohesive album since 2013’s Nothing Was the Same. Still, in contrast to Drake’s discography, Certified Lover Boy is simply mediocre. While it is far better than 2015’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late it is still lackluster when compared to 2016’s Views which wasn’t even Drake’s best.

Album cover of Imagine Dragons "Mercury Act 1" 2021
Album cover of Imagine Dragons “Mercury Act 1” 2021

His sixth studio album, after listening through Certified Lover Boy in its entirety, Drake appears almost trapped in this character of sorts within a world he’s created. In contrast to his first three studio albums which were undeniably his best, the music here as a whole comes across redundant. Absent is the raw emotion and vulnerability displayed in Drake’s earlier albums. While there are strong moments on Certified Lover Boy, the lyrics comes across as though they were written with a focus on Drake’s image more than anything else. Nevertheless, there are highlights, such as “In the Bible,” “Pipe Down,” and notably “No Friends in the Industry.” Likewise, “Way 2 Sexy” is a fun track, which oddly samples Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” and makes it work.

Imagine Dragons 

Mercury–Act 1 marks the fifth studio album by Imagine Dragons albeit it feels like their fourth. The band’s last studio album, Origins, was released following their wildly successful “Evolve World Tour” and had no tour promotion whatsoever. The album title is derived from the term “mercurial” stemming from front man Dan Reynolds’ mental health issues which is a theme on the new album.

Imagine Dragons’ music has always been refreshing in that they have dived deep into sensitive subject matter which many of their listeners can relate to. This is why the band has been so successful: They are not a gimmick; rather they are able to connect with their audience on a deeper level while still sounding like a true rock band. Rock legend Rick Rubin, who can rarely do any wrong, executive produced the album which is probably the band’s most vulnerable yet. “Dull Knives” is an angsty plead for empathy, “Its Ok” is about LGBTQ allyship, “Wrecked” is about Reynolds’ dealing with his sister having cancer, and “No Time for Toxic People” is self-explanatory and highly relatable. Overall, a job well done, and a body of work that is sure to be even better when performed live.

Album cover of OneRepublic "Human" 2021
Album cover of OneRepublic “Human” 2021

OneRepublic

The fifth studio album by pop/rock band OneRepublic, Human was preceded by seven singles before its release. Initially announced in September 2019, the album was finally released two years later on August 27th 2021. The album is possibly the band’s most cohesive to date. Lyrically and musically the sound is refreshing as it is highly reminiscent of OneRepublic’s earlier sound on their first few records. Human is very much a homecoming record and a step back to the sound that made the band so successful in the first place. This is the type of nostalgia you crave from your favorite artists, and after the rough two years we all just experienced, we could all use it.

Upcomings shows at this month’s venue Spotlight: Prudential Center 

These are performances coming to Prudential Center in Newark for the last quarter of 2021:

  • Lil Baby October 6th
  • Enrique Iglesias & Ricky Martin October 16th
  • Uforia LA X Live October 22nd
  • Judas Priest October 27th
  • Gold Over America Tour: Starring Simone Biles October 30th
  • Disney On Ice November 3rd – 7th
  • The Millennium Tour 2021 November 12th
  • Legends Classic Presented by Old Trapper
  • November 22nd – 23rd
  • Mega Bash 2021 Presented by La Mega 97.9 FM December 4th
  • Dan + Shay December 5th
  • Never Forget Tribute Classic: College Basketball Tournament December 11th
  • Evanescence / Halestorm December 15th
  • Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic December 18th
  • Sebastian Maniscalco December 26th

Autumn Top 5

  1. LANY – Ex I Never Had
  2. The Kid LAROI & Justin Bieber – Stay
  3. Charli XCX – Good Ones
  4. Lily Rose – I Don’t Smoke
  5. Drake & Lil Baby – Girls Want Girls