New music brings hope amid a seemingly new normal

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Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga "Chromatica" cover pic

Will Love’s music memo

As we all must deal with COVID-19, the music industry is bringing us entertainment and hope amid a seemingly new world.

Lady Gaga

Inexplicably sounding like a continuation of 2013’s Artpop, Lady Gaga’s last true pop album, Chromatica marks Gaga’s sixth studio album. It is unfortunate the COVID-19 pandemic caused Gaga to reschedule The Chromatica Ball to 2021 because this is undoubtedly one of Gaga’s best albums to date. Infusing upbeat electronic and house beats with vulnerable lyrics, Lady Gaga addresses everything from mental health, trauma, and sexual assault, finding love amid hardship and depression. The juxtaposition makes for a highly relatable album. Guest appearances from Ariana Grande (Rain on Me), Blackpink (Sour Candy) and the legendary Elton John (Sine From Above) complete a solid comeback album from an artist who never actually left the scene. In an unpredictable year like 2020, the best tracks are the more personable dance bops and although we have an entire year until the tour, there is definitely tons of single-worthy material here.

Black Eyed Peas "Translation" cover pic
Black Eyed Peas “Translation” cover pic

Black Eyed Peas 

Although Translation is the second Black Eyed Peas album that former band mate Fergie is not featured on, it is the first absent of the awkward factor. In 2018’s Masters of the Sun Vol. 1, the band’s first album in ten years, Fergie was clearly missed. Moreover, her absence partially overshadowed the new material. This time around, Fergie is the last thing on your mind, a good thing. Translation is a highly eclectic dance record covering an abundance of genres from Latin-pop, reggaeton and hip-hop. The Black Eyed Peas have always been innovative but this is definitely their most experimental record to date and the risk pays off. Moreover, guest appearances from J Balvin (Ritmo), Maluma (Feel the Beat), Shakira (Girl Like Me) Becky G (Duro Hard) and French Montana (Mabuti) are the icing on the cake. The result: a true party record just in time for late summer.

Carly Rae Jepsen "Dedicated Side B" cover pic
Carly Rae Jepsen “Dedicated Side B” cover pic

Carly Rae Jepsen 

Last year, Carly Rae Jepsen dropped her fourth studio album, Dedicated, during which time she admitted to having written nearly 200 songs for the album. While on tour at the time, speculation began that a companion album would be released. Fast forward one year and we have Dedicated Side B. The surprise release is an upbeat album primarily dance pop in genre coupled with vintage disco influences. Jepsen successfully intertwines the sounds of 70s disco with today’s dance-pop fusion to create a stellar pop record from “This Love Isn’t Crazy” all the way through to “Now I Don’t Hate California After All.”

Duke Dumont "Duality" cover pic
Duke Dumont “Duality” cover pic

Duke Dumont 

Adam George Dyment, better known as Duke Dumont, has proven to be one of the riskiest musicians today. Despite establishing his career in 2007, Dumont waited until 2020 to release his debut album, Duality. Instead of capitalizing on the moment and timing an album release with one of his hit singles, not even knowing if he will continue the success, Dumont wanted to wait until further into his career to release an album for the sheer purpose of developing a body of music with the intention of having an emotional impact. Over the years Duke Dumont has garnered a plethora of chart-topping dance records as well as numerous Grammy nominations including Best Dance Recording for “Need U (100%)” and “I Got U.” The reason is apparent on Duality as each track is a solid delivery from vocals to lyrics to production. Ultimately, Duality is an exceptionally thorough dance record sure to sweep up nominations come 2021.

Diplo "Snake Oil" cover pic
Diplo “Snake Oil” cover pic

Diplo 

Diplo is one of the biggest DJs in the world today, having achieved a wealth of success producing a plethora of EDM anthems which have crossed over to mainstream radio and winning three Grammy awards. It came as a surprise that his second studio album was primarily a country record with strong EDM influences. Diplo Presents Thomas Wesley, Chapter 1: Snake Oil is a bold move and illustrates just how versatile Diplo is as an artist. The record does not disappoint and features strong contributions from the Jonas Brothers (Lonely), Noah Cyrus (On Mine), Julia Michaels and Clever (Real Life Stuff) and the record-breaking team up between openly gay rapper Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus (Old Town Road). Let’s hope there is a Volume 2 on the way soon.