As music columnist for hellomagazine.ca, each week I’ll bring you my selections for the best and most notable new music, albums you’re going to want to add to your collection plus a five-song playlist to try out. Happy listening!
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CeeLo Green – Heart Blanche
The man who, as one-half of Gnarls Barkley with Danger Mouse, was responsible for the 2006 classic “Crazy” is still making memorable music. His fifth studio album keeps the emphasis firmly focused on soul and funk as CeeLo works through themes of love, hope and harmony. On the uptempo “Working Class Heroes (Work),” he serves up a spirited ode to the good old-fashioned work ethic, while on “CeeLo Green Sings the Blues” the self-proclaimed soul machine gets deeply confessional. “Robin Williams” cites lost heroes with a compassionate refrain. Best of all is the Mark Ronson-produced “Mother May I,” on which CeeLo asks his late mom for guidance over a soulful refrain.
Hailee Steinfeld – HAIZ
Up until recently, Hailee was best known for her Oscar-nominated performance at Mattie Ross in the Coen Brother’s 2010 movie True Grit. But that was before her smash hit “Love Myself.” Now 18, the Los Angeles native is building on her breakout single with three additional songs on this EP. Like her initial blast, “You’re Such A” is a booming empowerment anthem that provides a cheeky kiss-off to a “difficult little devil.” The EP’s other two tracks, “Rock Bottom” and “Hell No’s and Headphones,” are moodier, mid-tempo numbers that still pack a punch with Hailee’s emotional delivery.
Chris Isaak – First Comes the Night
The “Wicked Game” singer pays homage to his heroes, citing Elvis Presley and Hank Williams on the rollicking “Down in Flames,” Jerry Lee Lewis on the piano-driven “Running Down the Road” and Roy Orbison on the wonderfully dramatic “Perfect Lover.”
Seal – 7
Seal’s latest includes the deeply romantic “Every Time I’m With You,” the club-ready “Life on the Dancefloor” and the melancholic “The Big Love Has Died,” which seems likely inspired by the breakdown of his marriage to supermodel Heidi Klum.
Natalie Merchant – Paradise is There
The former 10,000 Maniacs frontwoman presents the songs from her standout 1995 solo debut Tigerlily, including “Carnival,” “Wonder” and “Jealousy,” as they have evolved through her distinctive voice over two decades of live performance.
Tim McGraw – Damn Country Music
The country star’s latest is a family affair that includes the touching “Humble and Kind,” on which he offers fatherly advice to his kids, and “Here Tonight,” a sweet, Celtic-tinged duet with daughter Gracie in which he declares himself a homebody.
Grimes – Art Angels
The experimental artist otherwise known as Canadian producer Claire Boucher goes for a more accessible sound on her fourth album, embracing bittersweet pop on “California” and global beats on “Scream,” featuring Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes.
“Do You Wanna Get High?”
“Can’t Get Enough of Myself”
“Bird Set Free”