Hyping up fans for upcoming albums is a tactic artfully administered among today’s top selling artists. Through releasing a few songs early, fans are able to gauge how their favorite artists are structuring their future work. These early singles also provided an elaborate display of how artists are refining their craft to keep fans on the edge of their seats. Here are songs from three albums this fall from some of the most popular artists in the industry.
Maroon 5: Red Pill Blues
Frontman Adam Levine and crew previously released “Cold” (feat. Future) and “Don’t Wanna Know” (feat. Kendrick Lamar) as individual singles. Recently, the group released “Help Me Out”, “What Lovers Do”, “Wait”, and “Whiskey”. This album seems to be around a 6.5 or 7 out of 10. Now, here’s a trailer, if you will, to M5’s latest studio piece that, since its early November release, has take the fall by storm.
M5 and Julia Michaels create the techno-filled “Help Me Out” with fluctuations of Levine’s falsetto and Michaels’ breathy belt. The rhythm is blended from guitars, cymbals and extra synthesized beats that contribute a steady surge of energy. Together, they deliver a message about the dependency of an individual to provide support in times of need and desperation. While the track is not overbearing with its energy, “Help Me Out” ties in to the signature tones of “Don’t Wanna Know” and “Animals” from their V (Deluxe) album.
“What Lovers Do” is the most upbeat of the newer tracks, combining clapping, cymbals, synthesized keys, and a groovy undertone. SZA’s brightens up the song’s appearance with her vocal work in between the chorus and verses. Her lower register in contrast with Levine’s head voice enables the song to flow smoother as the pace ramps up in the latter half of the song.
“Whiskey”, without a doubt, is their worst single from the album. The lyrics are extremely watery and do not fluidly fit the chorus. Other than some minor echoing of keys in the background, there is not much of a melody or any diverse textures to spice up the song. Additionally, featured artist A$AP Rocky does not jump in until the very end. Why is this disappointing? Well, quite frankly, he made the track unique and gave listeners a break from only hearing Levine and a bland background.
“Wait” was their final pre-release so far and it is definitely different compared to that of the others. The base drop in the beginning of the first chorus is absolutely phenomenal and is unlike any other computerized edition to their album. As Levine and the band sing for a woman who has presumably had enough of a poor relationship, he alternates from his chest voice to his head voice as the background volume and intensity increases to close the number out.
Luke Bryan: What Makes You Country
Bryan is on his way to another successful album. Combining traditional country melodies of banjos, electric guitars and steel drums, Bryan is distinguishing this album from his previous discography through his imagery and precise vocabulary. Currently, he is on track to earn around a 7 out of 10.
Coming from the soon to be 15-track album, Bryan’s “Light It Up” and “What Makes You Country” set the stage for a stellar album preview. Beginning with keys and an electric guitar, Bryan starts off “Light it Up” by apologizing for a fight with a woman he loves. A special item that he adds is the modern day theme of repeatedly checking cell phones. He sings, “I know you’re readin’ your phone / I always got it on me / Just in case you want me” to his lover while the drum beats rise in volume. The guitar also shifts from sorrowful and reserved chords to explosive and expressive pleas that reflect Bryan’s underlying agony of his apology.
“What Makes You Country” is far more rugged and back roads like then “Light it Up”. This track develops with a banjo, electric guitar and drums that introduce what it means to be country. His lyricism of cycling through “dirtroad cred”, “plowboys”, and “runnin’ bird-dogs to the Georgia pines” goes hand-in-hand with the album’s theme. Composition wise, the guitar solos between the second chorus and the bridge does wonders for this piece and truly makes it stand out from his past albums Kill the Lights or Crash My Party.
Blake Shelton: Texoma Shore
On the heels of a live EP album and a successful tour with Sundance Head, Shelton is back to stuffing his resume. To keep appetites at bay before his album came out this November, the king of country dropped three songs from his 11-track album.
Opening acoustic guitar chords and violins immediately take listeners to a house on the countryside. The first verse of “I’ll Name the Dogs” conveys Shelton’s desire to have “the same street name, same last name, same everything” with a woman he loves. These wishes are guided by an increasing drum beat and tempo changes in the vocals which connect to past, bestsellers like “Boys ‘Round Here”.
Other special musical components include the dancing violins throughout the first and second verses. These add sentimental feelings by helping Shelton advertise a (hopefully) bright future to his woman. Shelton’s romantic lyrics bestow the honor of “find[ing] a spot” and “be[ing] the pretty” to his lover reflect that he clearly idolizes and wants to marry her as fast as possible.
“At the House” also makes use of the violins, however, these strings are far more relaxed and sincere. As whistling sounds off behind him, Shelton resides in a laid-back tone in a track discussing a romantic night in. It carries the same, soothing sentiments of “I’ll Name the Dogs” while also delving into a more crooning display of “star gazin’” and mood building.
In what Shelton described as potentially the “best song on the album,” “I Lived It” tugs on the ole’ memory and heartstrings. Acoustic guitars twinkle next to Shelton who reminisces on traditions of previous years where “Granddaddy smoked Salem’s with the windows up.” Female background vocals harmonize with Shelton as he reflects upon fond memories of family pastimes and his childhood society. Aside from “I’m Sorry”, this is easily Shelton’s best slow song to date.