For several years, I’d penned a quarterly series of articles about the songs I’d been listening to that particular season. It was my way of sharing the new music that I’d discovered in the spirit of helping others to find some great new music to listen to. The series was titled “What Are You Listening To?” and at first the pieces generated a lot of interest, but eventually attention to the pieces waned and perhaps this was due to the title.
Since new music is still something to be discovered, I’ve decided to continue the series, only this time with a new title. “Hot Songs” and “Hot Albums” will be quarterly reviews of the current songs and albums I’m listening to and hopefully you’ll find something within the pieces to whet your appetite for new music.
Since the dull summer of new music in the year 2013, things have heated up and the winter of 2014 has filled my iPod with all sorts of great new stuff. From hot beats to tender ballads and vintage sounds, this season has produced many great tunes that fill up my music listening hours. Check out some of the songs I’m listening to this winter:
F for You – Disclosure, featuring Mary J. Blige
This one’s a must have for any of you dance music fans out there. The original version, sans Mary J. Blige, is infectious enough, but the queen of hip hop soul has proven time and again that her powerful vocals work fantastically with a nice dance floor groove, and so the version containing her vocals is smoking hot!
Talk Dirty – Jason Derulo, featuring 2Chainz
This current smash is a little hip hop, a little reggae, and plenty of fun. The song’s got a 90’s rap-dance feel to it and the horns in the background give the song an added dimension that is so catchy.
Hard Out Here – Lily Allen
The sassy British songstress known as Lily Allen has been missing from the music scene for quite some time now. Her first two sets, the most recent being her “It’s Not Me It’s You,” released in 2009, earned the singer a nice following and a reputation for a unique brand of ska/punk/pop mixed in with a little bit of brash and risqué honesty. Well, after too long a hiatus that included a marriage and the birth of two sons, she is back in the studio working on her as yet untitled third studio album. “Hard Out Here” is the debut single from that record and upon first listen it’s plain to see that Allen is back and as sassy as ever.
Into the Blue – Kylie Minogue
Australian superstar Kylie Minogue returns this March with the follow-up to her highly successful “Aphrodite” record, and this one is the first single from the new record, entitled “Kiss Me Once.” The song is melodic and thoughtful and typical of the pop dance sounds that made Kylie famous. Check out Into the Blue.
Let Her Go – Passenger
British folk rocker Passenger hearkens back to the classic folk songs of the late 60’s and early 70’s with this beautiful song. The singer’s tender voice melds perfectly with the touchingly sensitive lyrics. This is one great song!
The Man – Aloe Blacc
The “Man” with the Tracy Chapman-like voice on Avicii’s now classic tune “Wake Me Up” has made an album, “Lift Your Spirit.” This first single cleverly employs a well known line from Elton John’s “Your Song” and it’s pretty catchy, too, though Blacc’s vocals were more appealing on his first big foray into the music world. Guest vocalist Donny Brocs adds some hip hop into the mix and altogether it’s a pretty good song!
Can’t Remember to Forget You – Shakira and Rihanna
This highly anticipated duet from two high profile singers became a smash hit in its first week, debuting in the top 30 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The song is from Shakira’s forthcoming English language album and the tune is decidedly Shakira, with fast paced vocals and rhythm, and Rihanna’s soulful vocals add a whole new dimension to the song.
Dark Horse – Katy Perry
Way back in October, Katy Perry released two songs ahead of her 4th studio album, “Prism.” Both tunes were somewhat of a departure in sound for the singer, who’s known for cranking out dramatic pop ballads. “Dark Horse” was one of the songs (the other being “Walking On Air”), and at the time I said on my blog that it reminded me of her previous “E.T.,” only a lot edgier. The song is dark, with a bassline that’s simply hypnotic, and Juicy J’s rap only adds to the effect of this great, great tune. In fact, the song recently hit the top spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 simply on popularity alone, as the tune had not been released as a single. Now that’s the mark of a great song!
Happy – Pharrell Williams
In these days where vintage music has ruled the airwaves, singers like Bruno Mars and Pharrell Williams have found great success. Here Williams picks up where he left off on Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” with a Motown sound that’s simply ear candy.
The Chain – Brandi Carlile
I have never been a big fan of country music, but this one from alternative country/folk rock singer Brandi Carlile is too dramatically good not to love!
Well these are some of the songs I’m listening to these days. It’s certainly been a cold winter, but the pop music world has definitely been on fire these days. I hope you’ll take the chance to catch some of these songs, if you haven’t already, and stay tuned for “Hot Albume: Winter 2014 Albums,” coming soon.