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 physical and digital collections.
Check out our music recommendations for September 2017!
Imagine Dragons, Evolve
Originally from Las Vegas, Imagine Dragons have been making music together since 2008. Their style has been called indie rock in the style of electropop, which means they are big with the college radio crowd. Their third studio album Evolve shows some artistic growth, but mostly carries on with the formula from the first two albums that catapulted them to international fame. They haven’t let stardom go to their heads and have contributed to and promoted a number of charities, and even started one for young people with cancer. Imagine Dragons will be at the Barclays Center in October, but until then you can watch their video for “Thunder."
Meek Mill, Wins and Losses
Meek Mill is a hip hop artist and former battle rapper from Philadelphia. His new CD is a thematic step up from his Dreamchasers mixtapes, which were typical brag and swagger but still showcased his vaunted lyrical skills. Now, Meek seems to be maturing and rapping more about the after-effects of pursuing material goals and the devastating loss of his friend and collaborator Lil Snupe. Despite his ongoing feuds with 50 Cent, Drake, and others, Meek still has an army of guest stars to flesh out the new songs. Check out the clean version of the track “1942 Flows."
There is a growing, unfortunate trend in new music releases where there is little advance warning before an album drops. If you ever wondered why Queens Library doesn’t get a new CD until weeks after its release, it is usually because it's not available to order until it has already been released on streaming services. Such is the case with Jay-Z’s 13th studio album, 4:44. It was worth the wait, though, as it is considered one of his best albums. It can also be considered as a companion piece to his wife Beyoncé’s super-hit album Lemonade, on which she accuses him of infidelity. On 4:44, Jay-Z raps about the infidelity charge, his friendship with Kanye West, and some personal issues with his mother, among other topics. It has been a giant success with the critics and his fans. But what does the title mean? Let's find out.
Chris Stapleton, From a Room Vol. 1
Kentucky native and former member of the SteelDrivers, Chris Stapleton has released his second solo album. The songs cover a range of styles, from country and soul to blues and Southern rock. The lyrics tend to be about flawed people who fail but keep on trying to better themselves. If Stapleton is referring to himself, you wouldn’t know it by looking at his chart success and crossover popularity. His guitar playing is outstanding as well. Listen to the latest single, “I Was Wrong."
Arcade Fire, Everything Now
Arcade Fire is an art rock, indie dance band from Montreal. They have been festival and critical darlings since their 2010 album The Suburbs hit a nerve and found commercial success. The band incorporates many unusual instruments, such as xylophone, French horn, and hurdy-gurdy, which only adds to their charm. Their fifth album, Everything Now, takes some bold steps in new directions and has led to some confusion as to what their future might sound like. Will they be more concerned with social commentary or making music to dance to? Their satirical online promotions for the album indicate that they don’t take themselves too seriously and there is still plenty of fun ahead. You can hear the entire album on Freegal.
Kesha (stylized as Ke$ha) is a well-known dance-pop star, songwriter, and rapper. Her megahit “Tik Tok” sold over 14 million copies internationally. Her career took a hit when she got into legal battles with her former producer and entered rehab. She’s come back strong, though, and her new album Rainbow is equal parts angry, sad, and upbeat. Kesha delves into different styles, exploring country, rock, and feminist protest themes to showcase her new independence. You’ll dance, you’ll cry, and you’ll be glad she’s overcome her struggles to release such a powerful record. Her fans made it number one on the Billboard Top 200 when it was released, but new fans should keep it going on the charts for quite some time. Hear it for yourself (in clean and explicit versions) on Freegal.
DJ Khaled, Grateful
Originally known only as a hype man in the record industry, DJ Khaled has gone on to become a record producer, disc jockey, author, and rapper of renown. All of those skills come into play when he puts together a new album, and Grateful is no exception. Every song features a guest artist from his circle of musical celebrity friends, and the record went immediately to number one on the Billboard Top 200. Grateful was nominated for five MTV Video Music Awards last month. Though he didn’t win any that night, DJ Khaled was center screen for much of the show. You can stream the whole album (in clean and explicit versions) on Freegal.
LeToya Luckett, Back 2 Life
LeToya Luckett came to prominence in the music world as a member of Destiny’s Child, where she sold over 25 million albums and won two Grammy Awards. Her solo career has also been successful, with her first two records topping the R&B charts. As a songwriter, LeToya concentrates on the standard R&B themes of love, loss, and empowerment, but she isn’t just filling in the blanks on some musical template. It's obvious from her performances that her words are important to her, and she conveys her feelings to the listener with her heart on her sleeve. LeToya also acts and you may have seen her as the star of the movie Preacher’s Kid or on the HBO show Treme. She may never completely break free from her connection to Destiny’s Child, but she does deserve to be recognized on her own merits. Watch the video (well, short film, really) for the song “In the Name of Love.”
Harry Styles, Harry Styles
You loved him in the boy band One Direction and saw him in the movie Dunkirk. Now, Harry Styles has a solo album and it is reminiscent of the height of 1990s Britpop. Where One Direction was pop and dance oriented, Harry goes for more of a soft rock sound, with decided undercurrents of Oasis and the Verve. It's as though he wants to draw us in closer and give us a hug for taking the time to listen. There are upbeat, rocking songs, to be sure, but the overall vibe is intimate and confessional. Harry’s contract calls for two more albums, and this one will make you impatient for what’s next. Stream it on Freegal.
Isley Brothers & Santana, Power of Peace
You might be forgiven if you saw this album and assumed it was some forgotten relic of 1969, a time when Santana and the Isley Brothers were in peak form and peace & love were on everyone’s minds. However, Power of Peace is a brand-new album from these veterans of rock and funk, and the message of peace is just as relevant today as it was back then. All of the songs on the record are cover versions of well-known classics by Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, and others. They are given new life with fresh arrangements that highlight the funk vocals of the Isleys and the Latin-tinged guitar groove of Carlos Santana. The combination works, and you are left wondering why they didn’t think about collaborating years ago. Put on your tie-dye, hold up a peace sign, and listen to it on Freegal.
Milky Chance, Blossom
Most people probably haven’t heard of the German folktronica group Milky Chance. That's probably why they have one the most “shazamed” songs of all time. “Stolen Dance” is number 15 in the Shazam Hall of Fame, to be exact. The trio’s odd but catchy blend of beats, guitar, and reggae rhythms would certainly cause most people to take notice. That particular song does not appear on their new album Blossom. Instead, we get 20 tracks of mostly upbeat music that will have you bopping along and humming to yourself. You’re almost guaranteed to hear it at your local hipster coffee shop. Check out the video for the title track.
Third Day, Revival
Third Day is a contemporary Christian band from Georgia who spread the gospel in a Southern rock style. They’ve been performing since 1992 and have developed a large following, including secular fans, due to their dynamic songs and enthusiastic stage presence. Their most recent album, Revival, is a celebration of their 25th anniversary, and is a bit of a throwback to their original country stomp roots. Newer fans that are more familiar with the band’s contemporary sound might be a bit confused, but they’ll soon be in the swing of things. Listen to the whole album on Freegal.