Stephonne

Caged Bird Sings Songs About Red Beard

(Glory Blue Music)

If you’re looking for something sexy, smooth and jazzy, look no further than this debut album by Stephonne Singleton, a Kansas City, Kan., native known for his work with Late Night Theatre. His soulful, sensual and breathy vocals stand out on this album. His style of vibrato is hard to compare to anyone else’s. The album has a ’90s feel that obsesses me. Songs like “Dangerous” have an alternative rock sound, and Singleton excels at that. He gets serious and sweet in “You Are Fire,” as he does in “Untitled (The Joke of It All),” but “Untitled” has an atmospheric and stellar bass-heavy beat. Other favorite songs are “Fine Feelin’ Blue,” “Hide & Seek,” and “How I Feel.” Make sure to check out this amazing album. It’s available on most online platforms, like Spotify.

A Star Is Born – The Motion Picture Soundtrack

(Interscope)

This soundtrack is the must-hear version of the must-see movie A Star Is Born, which stars Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. The critics raved about the film, and its acting is amazing. But the heart of this emotional and inspiring story truly is driven by its original songs. The soundtrack conducts the narrative, and the shift in tone from the beginning of the album to the end is obvious. Cooper and Lady Gaga couldn’t be more different in sound and style, yet some of the best songs include both of them. This is a true and unironic marriage of country and pop. The song featured in the preview trailer, “Shallow,” must be heard in its entirety. Other favorites are “Out of Time,” “Diggin’ My Grave” and “Look What I Found.” The album is one of my favorites this year.

Lauren Juaregui

“Expectations” single

(Syco/Columbia)

This new single from Lauren Juaregui is too good. It’s much slower and stripped down than what I’ve previously heard from the former Fifth Harmony member. News about her rippled through entertainment sites when she came out as bisexual in 2016, and now she’s making waves with her music again. “Expectations” is a sexy and sensual R&B track with a great guitar solo. Her vocals only get better as the song gets more dramatic. In the equally sultry black-and-white video, there are two of her and one of them ends up dancing seductively toward the other. It’s definitely worth the watch. This song is the lead-up to her yet-to-be-titled debut solo album, which will be released in 2019. If the album can hold a candle to this single, then it will be amazing.

Jess Glynne

Always In Between

(Atlantic)

Three years have passed since we’ve been graced by an album from this powerful and soulful singer. Jess Glynne sings from the gut. It’s not hard to feel what she’s sharing. She can hit some interesting low notes, quickly changing to the difficult high notes and making it seem easy. The album is mostly pop, with a little bit of soul. On her first album, I Cry When I Laugh, I thought Glynne sounded a bit like Rihanna, but the similarity doesn’t show up as much on this album. She’s really finding her own voice. One of my favorite songs, “I’ll Be There,” is extremely catchy, and it’s hard not to sing along. She uses a yodeling technique on the chorus and sounds amazing doing it. Other good tracks are “123,” “These Days,” which features Rudimental, Macklemore, and Dan Caplen, and “So Real (Warriors),” featuring the house music DJ KDA and the punk-R&B brass band Too Many Zooz.

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Photo by Alonso Reyes on Unsplash

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