Songs to start the New Year

Shawn Mendez new album
Shawn Mendez new album "Wonder" cover

Will Love’s Music Memo

Shawn Mendes 

Shawn Mendes’ fourth studio album, Wonder, is an ode to love. Given all the negative headlines plaguing the media as of late, this album is definitely a good escape, although if you are single it can come across slightly depressing.

Taylor Swift new album "Evermore" cover
Taylor Swift new album “Evermore” cover

With so many songs of the same subject matter, the album can come across a bit redundant after a while, and lyrically it is not as vulnerable as Mendes’ self-titled third album. Fortunately, this is by far Mendes’ most musically adventurous album thus far and is very eclectic in sound, which is what saves Wonder at the end of the day. Shawn Mendes is an amazing performer and when he tours again this is certainly an album that will impress when performed live. Best Track: “Monster.”

Taylor Swift 

The Smashing Pumpkins new album cover
The Smashing Pumpkins new album cover

Evermore acts as Taylor Swift’s return to country music which was a long time coming. Many did not picture Taylor Swift venturing back to her roots, especially after the controversy that came during her crossover to mainstream pop star.

However, the surprise release which was crafted during isolation is personified by bittersweet, detailed stories reminiscent of her early music circa mid-2000s.

With Swift’s eighth studio album, Folklore released at the height of 2020’s coronavirus pandemic in July, Evermore with its December release acts as the fastest follow-up in her career as well as the first album to not revamp the sound of its predecessor. Furthermore, Evermore showcases an unguarded Taylor Swift, which we can all appreciate. Best Track: “It’s Time to Go.”

The Smashing Pumpkins 

Billy Corgan brings us back to the good old days reenlisting bandmates James Iha and Jimmy Chamberlin for an experimental album highlighted by a new synth-pop sound. While 2018’s Shiny and Oh So Bright Vol. 1 was technically the first Corgan/Iha/Chamberlin reunion since 1995’s Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, it doesn’t do the trio nearly as much justice as this latest effort. Hence, the 2018 album which was primarily used for tour promo, was essentially a rough draft leading up to Cyr which has been better received by fans and critics alike.

Now that the trio is back together, one can only hope for Corgan to revive the lyrical vulnerability coupled with the raw electronic rock sound of 1998’s underrated masterpiece Adore. Best Track: “Purple Blood.”

Miley Cyrus 

It took Miley Cyrus a while to confidently shake off the Hannah Montana bubblegum pop image she has been trying to get away from for the past decade. Finally, on her seventh studio album Plastic Hearts, Cyrus comes into her own without any awkward factors present. With diversified rock influences and contributions from legends ala Billy Idol, Stevie Nicks and Joan Jett (coupled with the required pop demo guest Dua Lipa), Miley Cyrus truly delivers.

Miley Cyrus new album "Plastic Hearts" cover
Miley Cyrus new album “Plastic Hearts” cover

From vocals to production, this album lacks filler, and offers up solid material from start to finish. This is Miley Cyrus’ most authentic piece of work in years. Best Track: “Edge of Midnight.”

Music Updates: 

The 63rd Annual GRAMMY® Awards, originally scheduled for January 31st at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, has been pushed back to March 14th and will be televised on CBS.

Winter Top Five by Will Love, K104.7 in the Hudson Valley.

  1. Justin Bieber–Anyone
  2. Miley Cyrus & Dua Lipa–Prisoner
  3. Ariana Grande–Just Like Magic
  4. Zayn–Vibes
  5. Zara Larsson & Young Thug–Talk About Love