Welcome back for another episode of New Music Monday (but, plot twist, it’s so late that you’re probably not going to read this until Tuesday)! Today we’re reviewing the music that released last Friday morning (Nov. 10). Before I dig in, I want to note that I did choose to neglect last week’s Six for Saturday update. I was at the wedding of some dear friends all day, and just didn’t have time. I hope to resume that series next Saturday. There are a couple of other posts in the works right now, but for now, let’s talk about the new tunes. Note: There’s no links here because I don’t have time tonight, but please, please listen to this song.
The big event of the week is Reputation, Taylor Swift’s much-anticipated sixth studio album. As previously discussed on this blog, I am, generally speaking, a huge Taylor Swift fan. It’s not that I don’t think she occasionally drops a song that isn’t that inspired; but there is a genuine personality, good humor, and lack of pretense about her that, along with her outstanding lyrical and melodic talent, makes her a real standout in the pop world. So naturally I was looking very much forward to the release of Reputation. As I’ve discussed, the first couple of pre-release singles served to dampen those hopes a bit, but the last two (especially “Call It What You Want”) refreshed my expectations, so I went into Friday night really looking forward to the release, and…
It’s not bad. Actually pretty good. The record as a whole is moodier in terms of sound than 1989, less energetic and more pensive, although it’s not without energy. I can’t say that the record exceeded my expectations in terms of lyrical and melodic content, but there are plenty of moments of brilliance that remind you that you are listening to a Taylor Swift album. The immediate, iconic swagger of “Don’t Blame Me” and the chilly warmth of “Delicate” were two such moments. Taylor has a knack for discovering little melodic treasures that seem so familiar you wonder why no one has thought of them before: so, baby can we dance, oh, through an avalanche. At the same time, I’m not sure that all of these songs are going to go over huge on tour. Some of them will for sure. “New Year’s Day” is among her all-time best, and a beautiful album and concert closer. The aforementioned “Delicate” needs to be made a radio single very badly, very soon. One reviewer described it as the “cool older sister” of “Style.” It’s the kind of sound you can just dive into and lose yourself in, like “This Love” from the last record (which also needed to be made a radio single, and to my everlasting sadness, was not). “Getaway Car” has the sonic shine of a 1989 cut. But there isn’t that couple of songs that make you want to just cut loose and dance the skin off the soles of your feet. Which is okay. Not every record needs to have that. But a lot of fans were probably hoping that this one would.
Aside from Reputation, there were a few other things that happened in the music world that are worth making note of.
First off, Eminem did a collab with Beyonce called “Walk on Water,” which is essentially a confession of humanness. I’m not a rap critic so I won’t pretend anything in that department. I will say that I like the chorus hook, and the theme.
There’s also a new Mat Kearney song (!!!) called “Better Than I Used To Be.” The song itself is only fairly good as far as Kearney goes, but the fact that there’s a new Mat Kearney album cycle actually happening right now is terribly exciting to me.
Also, Echosmith released a three-track Christmas EP called An Echosmith Christmas. “Baby Don’t Leave Me (All Alone on Christmas Night)” is a beautiful song (but you already knew that, didn’t you, because of that link up there), and definitely the most played new tune of the week on my iPod. “This is life, and it feels amazing.” Gaaahhhh. So good.
I don’t know much about Cedric Gervais, but his new song “Higher feat. Conrad Sewell” is groovy. Also, Seeb did a collab with Skip Marley on a song called “Cruel World” which isn’t bad.
British folk-pop band Sheppard did a new song, “Coming Home”. Kinda fun.
Finally, Walk the Moon did an album. It’s alright. There isn’t a song on it that’s going to burn down the world like “Shut Up and Dance,” but “Surrender” is growing on me.
Thanks for reading! Have a great week!