Team – it’s a big week. Avril returned, Cher continues unleashing her passion project of ABBA covers, Dinah Jane (1/4 of 5thHarmony) released her first solo single, Rita Ora finally finalized album plans, and I discovered my love for Grace Carter. Let’s dive in…
Avril Lavinge: Head Above Water
Immediate reaction: this sounds familiar and I’m wondering if Lauren Daigle’s crossover success is empowering Avril to go Christian on us all.
Hands down, this is a good song. Definitely one for those who love a comeback track, survival narratives and such (me!). When I listened to the clip released a week ago, it struck me as so familiar. Then I realized it reminded me a bit of the chorus of Run to You by Lea Michele. I don’t know exactly what I thought about Avril’s return. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t expect this, but I’ve always had a soft-spot for Avril. I’m down for this. Will I be listening on repeat; frankly no, but it’s solid.
Cher: One of Us
Cher hinted that this one was a tear-jerker. As someone who doesn’t cry anymore (a’la The Holiday’s Cameron Diaz), this did not evoke much emotion on my end, but I could tell that Cher was really feeling it. I have been pleasantly surprised at how well Cher’s ABBA’s covers have translated. I mean, at this point I have 5 different versions of all of ABBA’s proper hits on my iMusic playlist (A-Teens, Cast of Mamma Mia movies and Broadway play, Glee covers, etc.), but I am very much into Cher’s interpretations. Looking forward to her version of Dancing Queen, Chiquitita and Super Trouper… the whole album apparently. Bring on the 28th!
Dinah Jane: Bottled Up (Ft. Ty Dolla $ign & Marc. E. Bassy)
Dinah is one fourth of the Fifth Harmony troop. After the group disbanded she signed to L.A. Reid’s HitCo records. This is being serviced as her first proper solo single as a solo artist. She went ahead and said she didn’t mind playing into the Work From Home formula that was such a success. I think the issue is that Down worked off that formula as well, but didn’t succeed or pack the punch of Work From Home. Frankly, this should’ve been on Fifth Harmony’s record as a single. It would’ve done much better than Down. This song is fun, sassy, a great start to a night out. The chorus is catchy, and the lyrics are playful. It’s a win. Does it show us who she is an artist, no… and that is the downfall to releasing this song first. I’m looking forward to hearing what else she has cooking up in the studio for us all.
Rita Ora: Phoenix/Let You Love Me
Rita is finally delivering on the promise of her sophomore album. Rita amazes me. She has truly captured the attention of the British audience, well, Europe frankly, as she continues to be a massive crossover success with hit after hit single, and no sophomore album. It’s actually been over 6 years since her debut album was released and smashed records overseas.
My main concern is that this reminds me of Betty Who’s debut album Take Me When You Go. Half the album had been released in prior Eps, so the majority of her audience had already heard over 50% of the album by the time it was released as a whole. Rita has released 5 out of the 12 (on the standard version) tracks as singles. The latest track Let You Love Me was released today and is serving as the current single for the album campaign prior to its November release.
I’m curious to hear what else is on the album, and curios to see how it will fare commercially. Aside from the ill-fated Girls, her other singles have charted quite well. Anywhere continues to be a masterpiece, Your Song is oddly entrancing to this day, and her collaborations with other artists are completely serviceable. Rita and her success truly intrigue me. Rarely has an artist held the attention for as long as she has without releasing an album. Is she a testament that the singles-only formula could work?
Grace Carter: Why Her Not Me
I love a British songbird, and Grace Carter is no exception. The singer that fell on my lap while I was reading another blog that I have quickly invested in. Grace, currently 20, has been making music since she was 13 and is signed to the same management team as Dua Lipa and Lana Del Rey.
She’s been releasing singles since 2017: the amazing Silence, the brilliant Ashes, but in late August she released Why Her Not Me, a success of a song. Asking the eternally emotionally tormenting question, why, Why Her Not Me is a piano-led song that shows off her velvet voice, and her writing chops. The thing is, listen to everything else she’s released… it’s good. She’s definitely one to watch. Excited to see where this will go!