New Music Friday with Mike – February 28

New Releases this “New Music Friday” comes from Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Jhene Aiko, and more.

Happy Friday, everybody! We’ve not only made it through another week but the end of the month. This is the last Friday in February! We had some excellent music released today and honestly the perfect way to close out February, so let’s dive in.

“The Other Side” (feat. SZA) – Justin Timberlake

Screenshot of tweet from @jtimberlake on twitter announcing new song “The Other Side”

On Wednesday, February 26, Justin Timberlake dropped not only a new song but a new music video for “The Other Side” which is the first single to be featured on the upcoming “Trolls World Tour” movie. Justin tweeted on February 26 “TURN THIS UP @sza” which was a small clip of the music video. The music video is giving me so many throwback vibes and I’m here for it. It pays tribute to Michael and Janet Jackson’s “Scream, Missy Elliot’s “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)) and TLC’s “No Scrubs” Check out the music video for “The Other Side” below, stream “The Other Side” on all streaming platforms, and check out “Trolls World Tour” in theatres on April 17, 2020.

Screenshot of YouTube Music Video for “The Other Side” feat SZA by Justin Timberlake

“Stupid Love” – Lady GaGa

Screenshot of Tweet from @ladygaga announcing the release of
“Stupid Love” song & music video

She’s back everyone and couldn’t be more excited. The singer tweeted “Stupid Love” new single & Music Video Out Now #StupidLove #ShotOniPhone”. The video shot entirely on an iPhone 11 Pro, similar to what Selena Gomez did her for her song “Lose You to Love Me” and “Look at her Now”.

GaGa’s music video is a futuristic type battle taking place in the desert with some power choreography. The music video opens with a message that reads “The world rots in conflict. May tribes battle for dominance. While the spiritual ones pray and sleep for peace, the Kindness punks fight for chromatica.”

My favorite lyric from “Stupid Love” is “Gotta quit this crying/Nobody’s gonna heal me if I don’t open the door.” No word yet on a new album, but could the new album be titled “Chromatica”? We’ll have to wait and see. Check out the music video for “Stupid Love” below and stream it on all streaming services.

Screenshot of Lady Gaga Music Video for “Stupid Love” from YouTube.

“Happiness Over Everything” (feat. Miguel & Future) – Jhené Aiko

Screenshot of Jhené Aiko “Happiness Over Everything (H.O.E) Music Video

Jhené Aiko came in full force this new music Friday. Jhené announced a new song, new album, and tour. The new song “Happiness Over Everything (H.O.E.)” features Miguel and Future and is about meeting someone, clicking with them, and letting your guard down to inform them of your intentions. The new album, “Chilombo,” will have features from Swae Lee, Nas, Big Sean, and more.

The tour titled “The Magic Hour Tour” with Queen Naija & Ann Marie will kick off in Boston on May 1 and wrap up on June 27 at the Saint Kitts festival. Unfortunately, Jhené will not be making a stop in San Diego. The nearest show would be in Los Angeles at The Greek Theatre, June 1.

Ticket sales for the L.A. show begin Friday, March 6 at 10 AM here. Check out the video for “Happiness Over Everything H.O.E.” above, stream the song on all streaming services, and check out the full tour date list below.

Screenshot of Tour Schedule from Jhené Aiko Instagram @jheneaiko

More New Music from February 28

Live Off My Closet” (feat. Future) – Lil Baby

not ur friend” – Jeremy Zucker

Rojo” – J. Balvin

God Whispered Your Name” – Keith Urban

Where Am I At” – MAX

Locket” – Lila Drew

Baby Girl” – Bryce Vine

That’s your New Music Friday update for the week. What music new music do you have on repeat Weekend? Let me know by checking in on social media, @mikestarkca on Twitter and Instagram.

Written by: Mike Stark

Album Review: Halsey’s Manic

Halsey album manic album cover. Girl with glitter on face.

On January 17, Halsey released her newest album Manic, giving listeners an uncensored look into the artist’s head and heart.

The wait is finally over, Halsey’s new album Manic is here and the singer couldn’t be happier. “The most torturing and beautiful wait of my life has come to an end. Manic is out now,” the singer tweeted on January 16. The wait was definitely worth it as the singer’s last album release was 2017’s Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. Manic gives us an uncensored look into the singer’s head and heart while also learning more about her past relationship, bipolar disorder, and constant struggle with self-doubt and confidence. Before Manic release, fans already had access to half the album with the following released songs “Without Me”, “Graveyard”, “Finally// Beautiful Stranger”, and “Suga’s Interlude”. The rest of the album is where Halsey gets raw and emotional. Manic has some special guests who are important to Halsey who include Dominic Fike, John Mayer (end of track 3AM), Alanis Morissette, and BTS member Suga.

Halsey album manic album cover. Girl with glitter on face.
Taken from Halsey’s Twitter

The album kicks off with “Ashley” her own name, Ashley Frangipane. This song introduces fans to her real identity, Ashley, not Halsey. She reflects on her past as the persona Halsey. We find out that when her character Halsey is no longer here, her musical legacy will remain. Halsey shared with Zane Lowe from Apple Music that “It’s arguably the most Halsey sounding song on the album…It was like a comfortable entry point for people.”

Second, on the list is stripped-back track “Clementine” which was released on the singer’s 25th birthday. The song addresses a romantic interest while discussing some of her mental issues in general. This all turns back to how vulnerable Halsey is in her character.

“Graveyard” is the second single off of manic to be released. This song is part of the album compared to just being a stand-alone single. “Graveyard” discusses being in love with someone who is not in a good place, yet you love them so much and are willing to go to that bad place with them. The song also teaches us that we have to take care of ourselves while still loving someone and not following them to the bad place their in.

“You should be sad” is the last single released and probably the best. This country-influenced track is where Halsey spills out her frustrations with an ex-boyfriend, while also throwing some shade about her ex’s character with lyrics like “No, you’re not half the man you think that you are,” “Cause, you can’t love nothing unless there’s something in it for you,” and “You can’t fill the hole inside of you with money, drugs, and cars.” On twitter, a fan asked Halsey her inspirations for this track (knowing that she is pop/alternative musician.) and she responded with, “the most petty and heartbreaking songs all come from country. I wrote YSBS (you should be sad) on my living room floor on my guitar. Lots of time in Nashville too.” The music video for “You should be sad” has little references to her idols which include Christina Aguilera, Lady GaGa, and Shania Twain.

You should be sad – Music Video *Viewer Discretion Advised*

“Forever…(is a long time)” is the first track of a trio that is meant to be listened in succession. The song starts in major key before switching over to minor. This style choice represents what happens once Halsey gets in her own head. The track showcases what happens when you fall in love and then sabotage because of your own paranoia and insecurities.

“Dominic’s Interlude” features Dominic Fike, the track discusses brotherly love which is why Halsey chose to have Dominic on the track. The interlude itself is a representation of unique relationships. This track is the second of the trio featured on Manic.

“I HATE EVERYBODY” is the final track in the trio. Contrary to the song title, she does not hate everybody all the time. Halsey shared that “’I HATE EVERYBODY’” is about when you’re young, your insecurities can get the best of you.” She also shared that “I shouldn’t be desirable because some rock star you think is cool thinks I’m desirable, no that’s not what this is anymore.” This is the perfect way to close out a trio with a little angst.

In “3am,” the song following “I HATE EVERYBODY,” Halsey chats about the calls you make to friends and lovers in the early morning hours in order to feel love. “3AM” also represents how drinking can seriously affect your mental state while causing you to doubt yourself. The singer tweeted that “After a night out, I came home and was ringing everyone in my contacts cause I was trying to talk to literally ANYONE so I wouldn’t have to sit with my own thoughts.” The Outro to the track is a voicemail from John Mayer which was unexpected but super cool.

“Without Me” – The first single for manic and released from Halsey after her last album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. This track was directed towards ex-boyfriend G-Eazy, after being cheated on by the rapper. Halsey shared that “Without Me” is the rawest thing she’s ever made. There is no character with this song, it’s just Ashley. The track is about her life and the relationship the entire world watched under a magnifying glass. Originally, the song was supposed to be a standalone single, however, in September 2019, the singer revealed that it would be number 9 on manic.

Without Me – Music Video *Viewer Discretion Advised*

“Finally // beautiful stranger” – In this slow romantic song, Halsey discusses the first time she met her boyfriend Dom, aka YUNGBLUD. Halsey was the one who asked Dom out and said, “do you want to go and get drinks.” They had never met one another before and just hit it off. This was the first relationship following her break-up with rapper G-Eazy. Halsey wrote this song when they first met, but when the song was officially released, the couple had already broken up.

“Alanis Interlude” feat. Alanis Morissette – This track features the very talented Alanis Morissette, someone with who Halsey looks up to. The interlude is reflective of relationships in her life. Her friend Dom is reflective of “brother love relationships and Alanis represents a sexual and professional empowerment.” For those who do not follow Halsey, in her previous albums, she has made it clear she is bisexual and she wanted to have a song that reflects all of her including her sexuality.

“Killing Boys” – “You are killing people.” “No, I’m killing boys.” Sound familiar? Well, that line is from the 2009 horror film “Jennifer’s Body” and it is a conversation between actresses Meghan Fox and Amanda Seyfried. The actual audio clip from the scene starts off this track. The song is about how a woman should be feeling after a breakup. Unlike the song “you should be sad” which directly talks about her frustration with a certain relationship, this one is broader and can apply to anyone. Ultimately, Halsey is communicating to women everywhere that you should be a strong and independent woman.

“Suga Interlude” – On this bilingual track, which is awesome by the way. Halsey brings on Suga from the K-Pop group BTS. The song is about falling in and out of love and fear of letting go of that relationship. The chorus reinforces this where Halsey says “I wonder what’s in store. If I don’t love it anymore (Hey) stuck between the having it all and giving it up, yeah (hey).”

“More” – This one hit me emotionally, why? Halsey opens up about her health and that she suffers from endometriosis and the three miscarriages, she tweeted on March 25, 2019. Endometriosis causes fertility issues. In More, Halsey states that all of her sufferings has increased her love for her future baby. More is not just another love song, this is a song to a person who has not been created yet, but when they are she wants them to know how much they are loved.

“Still Learning” – We all can relate to this song at one point in our lives. Halsey discusses her struggle to love herself despite the fact she is one of the most successful singers today. A couple of points she emphasizes in the song are troubles with self-esteem and self-love. The chorus of the song says, “But I’m still learning to love myself”. I appreciate this track so much because learning to love yourself is extremely important and this song emphasizes this perfectly.

“929” – The perfect way to close out her album. This song is just Halsey getting all her thoughts out. These thoughts include things about herself, her family, and her fans. At the beginning of the track, she shares something fun and personal about herself. She was born at 9:29 am on 9/29/1994.

You can catch Halsey on tour for the new album in various U.S. cities. Visit her website here to find a city near you, and stream Manic on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music.

Written By: Mike Stark

New Music Friday With Mike – February 14

For this week’s “New Music Friday,” we have new releases from Justin Bieber, Billie Eilish, Sam Smith, and more.

Happy Friday and Valentine’s Day! We made it to the end of another week, phew. Welcome to the first “New Music Friday” where every week, I update you on what’s fresh out for music. This week we had a ton of new music drop from all of your favorite artists, so let’s dive right in.

Justin Bieber – Changes

Justin Bieber’s highly anticipated new album Changes is finally here and a great valentines day present for all. A lot of changes have happened since the singer’s previous album Purpose, which was released in 2015. He is now married to Hailey Baldwin, which has been an inspiration to the album. The singer also informed us of his battle with Lyme Disease. Justin stopped by the MTV studios and told MTV’s Sway Calloway the vibe of the album is “super R&B influenced” and features include Quavo, Post Malone, Clever, Lil Dicky, Travis Scott, and Khelani. You can stream Changes everywhere on music streaming platforms. You can also check out the tour schedule on his website to find if Justin is coming to a city near you. Good news local beliebers, Justin will be stopping in San Diego on May 26, 2020.

Justin Bieber – Intentions feat. Quavo | Music Video

Billie Eilish – “No Time To Die”

Screenshot of tweet from 007 twitter account stating that Billie Eilish will be performing "No Time To Die" as the theme song for the next 007 movie.
Twitter Announcement from @007 on Twitter announcing Billie Eilish performing “No Time To Die”

The theme song for the upcoming 007 James Bond movie is here. Billie Eilish with “No Time To Die.” Billie and brother Finneas co-write the song which was announced on the official James Bond 007 Twitter account back on January 14, 2020. Eilish, 18, is the youngest person to write and perform the 007 theme song. Other past theme song performers of the franchise include Tina Turner, Wings, Madonna, Adele, and Sam Smith. You can stream “No Time To Die” on music streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, and more. The movie No Time To Die comes out on April 10, 2020.

Sam Smith – “To Die For”

This week, New Music Friday falls on Valentine’s Day and, of course, I had to throw in a song that fits perfectly for all my single friends out there. Sam Smith’s “To Die For.” Sam expressed to Rolling Stone, “…This is for all the lonely hearts out there on another Valentine’s Day.” Thank you, Sam Smith, I truly needed this one. In addition to releasing “To Die For” Sam also informed us that his third studio album is set for release on May 1, 2020. Pre-orders for the album begin February 15, 2020.

Sam Smith – To Die For | Music Video

More New Music from February 14

Other songs that dropped today include:

What new music are you listening to or have on repeat this weekend? Let me know by hitting me up on Twitter or Instagram @mikestarkca See you next week for another New Music Friday update.

Written By: Mike Stark

Beneath The Surface: Lewis Capaldi – Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent

Six months ago, Lewis Capaldi was a relatively unknown force. Throughout the past year, he has rapidly become one of the most sought-after names in the music industry, achieving his first platinum record in the United States, “Someone You Loved.”

About six months later, Capaldi released his debut album, Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent. The record narrowly passed Billie Eilish’s debut record, becoming the fastest-selling record of 2019.

Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent is a pop record that emulates the feeling of a male Adele. “Grace” introduces us to the soft drum, prominent piano sound of the album. With Capaldi passionately belting, “I’m not ready to be just another of your mistakes,” the song gives the LP a moderately effective introduction.

The introduction segues into “Bruises,” the record’s second entry. This is surely a highlight on the album. When the song was originally released in 2017, very few (if any) singers were emulating Capaldi’s gritty, passionate inflection and style. The song’s gripping dynamics, elegant piano, and pained vocals define Capaldi’s style, with the singer even releasing a full EP containing various iterations of the song.

Like “Bruises,” smash-hit “Someone You Loved” does not try to be anything that it is not. It’s a simple piano ballad with an effective emotional message. The song features a beautiful string arrangement, and a bridge containing notes I didn’t even know a male could belt. This is the most popular song on the record (#3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 at the time of this post) for a reason. Capaldi sings, “I tend to close my eyes, but it hurts sometimes. I fall into your arms.” Anyone with romantic experience will relate to these lyrics, and easily follow the chord structure and arrangement of the song.

At this point, the album begins to lose power for one primary reason: All the songs sound very similar.

Most of the songs containing drums are virtually indistinguishable from one another and do not break any musical barriers. Most notably, “Maybe” seems to have originated in the same chord structure, lyrical concept and arrangement as “Grace.” While I admire Capaldi’s style and reliability, I find it ineffective to have similar sounding songs on the same record, as it softens the message the artist is trying to convey.

The record’s highest points come when songs embrace their simplicity. In the B-side of the album, cuts such as “Forever” and “One” stand out to me as impeccable performances from Capaldi.

All things considered, this is your average pop record with slightly more grit and emotion. There are certainly a few impressive tracks on this LP that give fans a reason to await Capaldi’s next release, but the album lacks reliability and continuity, depending on a few singles to keep its head above water.

Rating: 5/10

Source: Universal Music Ireland