Will Love’s Music Memo
Summer 2023 is shaping up to be the summer of the divas. The hottest artists are either delivering new music, going on tour, or giving us both. These are the vibes I’m recommending:
Bebe is the third studio album by Bebe Rexha and one of the best pop albums released this year. The sound is a dance pop infusion with clear inspiration from the ‘70s and ‘80s. Bebe really comes into her own on this album and delivers a highly distinctive pop sound. This is an album meant to be performed live and Bebe is embarking on the Best Fucking Night of My Life Tour.
Gems on this album include “Heart Wants What It Wants” with its nostalgic ‘70s-infused sound; “Satellites,” which features an unexpected contribution from Snoop Dogg; “Seasons,” which features Dolly Parton; and the ‘80s-inspired “I’m Not High, I’m In Love.” Of course, Bebe doesn’t turn her back on her EDM roots, as “I’m Good (Blue)” and “Call on Me” are perfect tracks to vibe to at the club.
Higher Than Heaven is the fifth studio album by Ellie Goulding and her first in three years (2020s Brightest Blue). The album was foreshadowed by the singles “Easy Lover,” “Let It Die,” and “Like a Saviour.” The upbeat title stems from a dark time as the album was written following the COVID-19 pandemic. Ellie cites the album as her least personal yet most experimental.
To support the album, a slew of European tour dates have been announced, set to take place during the fourth quarter of the year. Overall, the album is a solid effort. “By the End of the Night” is an infectious blend of ‘80s dance pop, “Let It Die” is the perfect anthem for anyone who has ever been in a toxic relationship, and “Waiting For It” is a sexy anthem to set the mood for a night out.
Lana Del Rey
Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd marks the ninth studio album by Lana Del Rey. The 16-track album has received significant critical praise for its lyrical maturity with many outlets citing it as her best work to date. Three singles preceded the album release including the title track, “A&W,” and “The Grants.” The album hit #3 in the U.S. and #1 internationally including in Australia, Greece, Ireland, New Zealand, and the U.K.
In 2014 Lana told The Guardian she “wished she was dead.” This was during an era in which she was depressed at the misunderstanding and negative reaction surrounding her 2012 debut Born to Die. Well, everything comes full circle, and this album is clearly Lana’s full-circle moment as it’s her most critically acclaimed and simultaneously adored by fans. It may have taken over a decade, but finally everyone is in agreement at the immense talent that is Lana Del Rey.
NOW That’s What I Call Pride
NOW strikes gold with its latest themed edition and new release: NOW That’s What I Call Pride. They hit the rainbow jackpot with this one. There are two variations of this compilation: the U.S. edition being an 18-track setlist on one CD (if you still collect them) while the U.K. edition is a whopping 84-track setlist spanned across four CDs.
There should have never been two variations, as the U.K. edition is much more all-encompassing and the perfect background to any Pride event you may want to host. The U.K. edition features more gay icons: Mariah Carey, Kylie Minogue, Whitney Houston, Céline Dion, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, P!nk, Madonna, Taylor Swift, Lizzo, Ariana Grande, Spice Girls, and much more. Consequently, this edition also features more LGBT artists including Ricky Martin, Hayley Kiyoko, Kim Petras, Troye Sivan, Rita Ora, RuPaul, Sam Smith, Tegan and Sara, Janelle Monáe, and Scissor Sisters. All of the aforesaid are absent on the abridged U.S. edition.
Nonetheless, the U.S. edition still features LGBT icons Queen, George Michael, Elton John, Lil Nas X, Adam Lambert, and Melissa Etheridge. Allies on the U.S. edition include Lady Gaga, Cher, Katy Perry, Dua Lipa, Miley Cyrus, Christina Aguilera, Diana Ross, Chaka Khan, and Donna Summer.
Will Love’s Top 5 Tours
2023 is the year of live music. Everyone, from major artists to the underdogs, are coming to New Jersey and the greater tristate area on tour. These are my Top 5 Tours to check out if you want to have an unforgettable summer!
- Madonna | The Celebration Tour
- Beyoncé | Renaissance World Tour
- Karol G | Mañana Será Bonito Tour
- Ed Sheeran | +–=÷x Tour
- P!NK | Summer Carnival 2023
Honorable Mention: Taylor Swift and Janet Jackson would be at the top of this list, however, their local New Jersey dates already took place in May.