Our Hot Music Picks for February

Posted by: yetheart, February 4, 2015 4:51 pm
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2014 Forest Hills Drive

Looking for new music? Look no further than your local Queens Library! Every month, our expert staff will bring you the best of what's new in our collection. Check out these music recommendations for February.

J. Cole, 2014 Forest Hills Drive
Don’t let the title fool you, rapper J. Cole is from North Carolina, not Queens. 2014 Forest Hills Drive is his third album and a labor of love. J. Cole wrote and produced it and with little pre-release fanfare it went straight to number one on the Billboard 200 chart. The critics called the album everything from sincere to corny, simplistic to ambitious — but the sales tell us it is resonant with his fan base and very popular. Check out the song "Apparently".

Various Artists, 2015 Grammy Nominees
February is Grammy Month and every year there is a new CD of the hit songs that are nominated for awards. From country music to dance-pop, Beck to Hozier, these tracks cover the best of the previous year’s popular music. Is your favorite song of 2014 included? For a full list of nominees and the results after the show on February 8, check out the official Grammy website.

Mikky Ekko, Time
If you’ve been waiting for Mikky Ekko’s debut full-length CD since his 2012 duet with Rhianna on “Stay,” you aren’t alone. The demand has been finally been met and Time looks to be the first break-out hit of 2015. Mikky’s soaring tenor is put through its paces in 12 songs ranging from gritty to glossy alternative pop. You can hear them all right now on Freegal with your Queens Library card.

Billy Talent, Hits
Formally known as Pezz, the Canadian punk band Billy Talent has been touring and recording since 1994. They don’t often come to America, though, so you could be forgiven for not knowing about them. Now you can catch up with their biggest songs on their new CD. Like many angry young bands before them, Billy Talent have grown up a bit and are now tackling more mature themes with better musicianship. Follow their evolution on the CD or check out their YouTube page.

Lupe Fiasco, Tetsuo and Youth
Lupe Fiasco’s parents didn’t want him to be a rapper. Other rappers didn’t appreciate his disdain for the thug life or his rejection of the material trappings of fame. As a glasses-wearing, self-proclaimed “Muslim nerd,” he had a hard time fitting into the Chicago hip-hop community. Somehow, he managed to impress Jay-Z, which started a partnership that launched his career. He has had highs (The Cool) and lows (Lasers), but he’s always been unique.  Check out the song “Dots and Lines,” complete with banjo intro, here.

Bettye Lavette, Worthy
It's been ten years since Bettye Lavette last gave us new music, but our patience has been rewarded with Worthy. On this CD, Bettye gives her unique style to songs written by Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger & Keith Richards, and Paul McCartney & John Lennon, to name only a few. From her start at Muscle Shoals in 1972, she has explored many vocal styles from soul, R&B, and gospel to jazz and rock to create a sound all her own. Check out the trailer for Worthy.

Meghan Trainor, Title
Yes, she is all about that bass, but now Meghan Trainor has a full new album of cheeky dance pop songs to brighten your gray, wintery days. The name of the CD is simply Title, which may cause some Abbott & Costello-ish confusion (ask your grandparents) when searching for it. It is hard to believe that she has been singing since the age of six and recorded her first album at fifteen, though that may explain her tween appeal. Expect plenty of sass and she-bop when you listen to Title on Freegal.

Hozier, Hozier
The Irish singer-songwriter known as Hozier got a lot of attention last year for his song “Take Me to Church.” So much global attention, in fact, that it would be hard to follow up his breakthrough hit with anything half as successful. His self-titled debut album contains 12 other indie/soul/blues tracks hoping to catch some of that buzz. Is he a one hit wonder? Listen to the whole album on Freegal and decide for yourself.

Nicki Minaj, The Pinkprint
More than 20 years after Sir Mix-A-Lot gave us the karaoke favorite “Baby Got Back,” Nicki Minaj had to up the ante and sample it with her homage “Anaconda” from her new album. The innuendo doesn’t stop there, and many of the new songs get pretty explicit in their explorations of sexy fun time. This is definitely not for the kiddies. Nicki mostly raps on these tracks but saves for the last song a beautiful ballad to remind us that she can really sing when she’s done messing around. Listen for yourself to “Grand Piano”.

Jazmine Sullivan, Reality Show
R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan was on track in 2010 to break big and was featured as a Rising Star in Billboard magazine. She had already had a hit with “Need U Bad” and was working with Missy Elliot and others when she decided suddenly that she wasn’t having fun any longer and retired from the music business. After a few years of TV watching, she realized she had a calling to return.  Jazmine soon recorded 14 new tracks for Reality Show, an homage to her time spent couch surfing. The fans hadn’t forgotten and the album went to number one on the R&B chart. You can hear the whole album on Freegal with your library card here.