Music Monday: catching up on January

Welcome to A&E Blogs — here, Mast writers with passions for all things A&E can share current cultural happenings and their take. This is Brooke Thame’s “Music Monday,” where she highlights music news, and new or imminent music releases.  

The last few weeks of January were busy in the music industry, with releases by the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Ne-Yo, and Fall Out Boy. Not to mention the pending release of the “Fifty Shades of Gray” soundtrack and the return of a female rap icon during the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Singles:

  • “Heartbeat Song” – Kelly Clarkson

Guess who has finally returned after making fans wait for four treacherous years? None other than Kelly Clarkson! On Jan. 2, the original American Idol dropped her new single “Heartbeat Song,” a tune about falling in love again and remembering how to turn it “up, up, all night long.” This song may be about being reawakened to romance, but for all of us Clarkson fans it’s an ode to falling back in love with the original Idol icon. Her full length album, “Piece by Piece,” is being released on Feb. 27. Until then, I will definitely be turning Kelly’s “Heartbeat Song” “up, up, all night long”.

  • “I’m A Ruin” – Marina and The Diamonds

Marina Diamanis is also back after completing the “Electra Heart” era of her musical career. “I’m A Ruin” is the latest in a slew of singles that Marina & The Diamonds has dropped in preparation for the release of her new album. “Froot” will be dropping on April 3 and seems to be reminiscent of the dark pop that fans love but will offer something different as Marina journeys away from her “Electra Heart” persona into something new.

Albums:

  • “American Beauty/American Psycho” – Fall Out Boy

It would appear that Fall Out Boy not only wants to be remembered by all of us formerly Emo kids who blasted their music to validate our Emo-ness, but by all kids for centuries to come. Having a single named “Centuries” that is extremely fun to sing in the shower is a great first step. “Centuries” isn’t the only shower-worthy song on Fall Out Boy’s album “American Beauty/American Psych0” (released Jan. 20), and it surely won’t be the last to come from the decade-old group of rock ‘n’ rollers. If they keep making songs like that, then kids in the year 4015 will surely be belting out their lyrics just the same.

  • “Non-Fiction” – Ne-Yo

R&B artist Ne-Yo dropped both the original and deluxe versions of his sixth studio album titled “Non-Fiction” on Jan. 27.  After releasing several singles in 2014, the “Let Me Love You” singer finally came out with a collection of songs that are “complete fiction” but “made up of…true stories about real people”, according to the Deluxe Album’s intro track. I’m not sure what that means, but I do know that an album sung by Ne-Yo and featuring the likes of T.I. and Juicy J is worth listening to – true, fiction, non-fiction, or whatever.

  • “Reflection” – Fifth Harmony

Those who have been following Fifth Harmony since their formation on the X-factor will be pleased to hear that their first full-length album, “Reflection”, dropped on Jan. 30. They also managed to have their single “Sledgehammer” be moderately successful and their album hold the number one spot on iTunes for several days after its release.

Future Music:

  • “Fifty Shades of Gray (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)”

Now that we’ve all bought our tickets for “Fifty Shades of Gray” we might as well buy the album as well. The soundtrack for the steamy Valentine’s Day film releases on Feb. 10 in plenty of time to listen to all of the even steamier songs included on the album, especially Beyoncé’s sexy rendition of “Crazy In Love”.

In Related News:

  • The Super Bowl Halftime Performance

While Katy Perry may have begun Super Bowl Halftime Show, Missy Elliot drove it all the way home. I was surely not the only one that screamed in uber excitement when one of rap’s most legendary female artists popped up on the screen. At that moment the “California Girls” singer was obsolete, and the “Super Bowl Halftime Show featuring Katy Perry” became a Missy Elliot concert. America agreed, jetting over to iTunes to download the three songs that Missy performed during her appearance. On Feb. 2, “Get Ur Freak On”, “Work It”, and “Lose Control” held the #3, #4, and #6 spots on iTunes. I won’t completely discredit Katy, though. Her vocals were good, the sets were amazing, and we all have a gif of that adorable offbeat dancing shark posted somewhere on our social media profiles. 🅼

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