FRESH: january 13 – january 19

Alrighty, we’re seeing some more progression within the Top 40…. and less. Here’s this week’s new music.

“Big Plans”

by Why Don’t We

released: january 16, 2019

So I didn’t really know that this group existed. To be honest, I would probably think it was One Direction or that group that was backing up Logan Paul… I don’t really know who that is but whatever. Anyhow, this song has 2018 written all over it. This could have been Maroon 5’s demo. Why not just put Post Malone or Travis Scott on the song? It wouldn’t have any different style among their collaboration. The worst part is that Why Don’t We’s discography has no dynamic style. It is just the same song over and over with different lyrics. How this song made it to number 1 on iTunes, I have no clue. Obviously I love Top 40 music (eh, some of the times), but I just don’t get how people are still appealed to this type of music. Maybe it’s another fluke; it’s not unfamiliar for iTunes to experience some “errors“. Will this song define 2019 music? I would say that I highly doubt it, but the audience has spoken and this is what they like. Okay then.


Rating: 2/10

“Shot &Wine”

by Sean Paul feat. Stefflon Don

released: january 17, 2019

I don’t know why, but I’m sort of relieved that Sean Paul is back. With trap, latin, and “sugar pop” music, it’s refreshing to hear some reggae flavor. From “Beautiful Girls” to his collab with Sia, I like what Sean Paul has put out. He’s got such a unique reggae voice that meshes well with almost any song he does. This song is no exception. While it still does embrace the form of pop — with it’s repeated motives and a memorable chorus, the incorporation of his culture is evident with the Jamaican language and inflections, such as the phrase: “Gya, gwaan split fi me Dip fi mi” (I looked it up and couldn’t translate… sorry). I can see this song being huge for the Spring time if Sean Paul times it right.


Rating: 8/10

“Hurts Like Hell (Acoustic Live)”

by Madison Beer

released: january 18, 2019

I’ll admit it: I judged Madison Beer way too early. I honestly didn’t like her because she was associated with Justin Bieber and suddenly got famous only to go into “singing”. Real Housewives of Any-One-of-them, anyone? This song caught my attention out of curiosity. Damn. This girl has some soul. First off, she can obviously sing. Aside from that, Madison makes some interesting and commendable creative choices. I love that she doesn’t go overboard with her riffing— she tastefully executes them wherever it’s needed — and her focus is mainly on the lyrics. Her pain from being shadily left for another girl is evident and I can’t help but suffer with Madison. A bonus is hearing Madison sing live without auto tune. You can tell. Seriously. Just believe me.

Rating: 8/10

“7 Rings”

by Ariana Grande

released: january 18, 2019

At first I didn’t know how to feel about this song. I thought it was an odd choice to use the melody of “My Favorite Things”. Whooo, Oscar Hammerstein II! Whoo, Sound of Music! Intertwined with Ariana Grande’s usual hip-hop style, the song is… interesting. Here’s what I like: Ariana maintains a swagger that is well-developed and immediately recognizable. I also love her incorporation of the Broadway tune without necessarily following the style of the original song. Here’s what I had a problem with: Some of the lyrics such as “Yeah, my receipts be lookin’ like phone numbers” and “Whoever said money can’t solve your problems? Must not have had enough money to solve ‘em” come off a bit insensitive and out-of-touch with lower to middle class people. That said, I think it might take a couple of more listens before I understand why Ariana says what she says (or sings, excuse me). I have to say this song takes some time to grow on you and the more I listen to it, the more I start to like it. We’ll have to wait and see, though.

Rating: 6.5/10

Zach Aldana
I am a musician with a focus in voice. I studied music during my undergraduate years, receiving a degree in Music at the University of Illinois at Chicago. My musical experience stems back from when I was three years old singing in a church choir. 22 years later, I've participated in numerous choirs, some of which have toured internationally from South Korea to Wales. I am also a classically trained singer, performing solos around the world, most notably for Kelly Clarkson's Piece by Piece World Tour at the Allstate Arena in 2015. Aside from performing, I also enjoy songwriting, analyzing music, and of course, stating my opinion about all things music. Aside from that, I am a graphic designer and web developer. I began graphic and web design at the age of eight. In time, I have been commissioned to help schools and universities, businesses, and personal clients develop their presentation and online exposure. ​

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