Happy Sunday afternoon! Once again, it’s that time of the week to look back at the new releases of the last 7 days and highlight a few standouts. It was a busy week for full-length album releases, with new LPs from artists like Keith Urban, Anne-Marie, Janelle Monáe, Post Malone, and Willie Nelson, among others.
Keith Urban‘s tenth studio album Graffiti U released on Friday. The album has a strange start, the first two tracks trying too hard to be hip and modern. But “Same Heart,” the third song, is where it really feels like a Keith Urban album. With simple but earnest lyrics about how situations can change but people don’t, it’s the kind of song that calls up memories of driving around late at night and reminiscing about the good times.
Janelle Monáe‘s Dirty Computer, also released Friday, follows in the thematic vein of her first two albums, The ArchAndroid and The Electric Lady. Known for themes of sci-fi dystopia and finding individuality in a homogeneous society, Monáe encapsulates these themes best in the eponymous first song on the album. Featuring backing vocals from Brian Wilson, it opens the album with clean harmonies backed by contemporary synth-y sounds. And perhaps that’s the best way to summarize Monáe’s music: a marriage of the old and the new to create something timeless.
The lyrics of Jason Mraz‘s “Have It All” were apparently inspired by a blessing Mraz received from a Buddhist monk during a 2012 trip to Myanmar. He styled the words into a feel-good ditty, with lyrics like: “May it take no effort in you being generous / Sharing what you can, nothing more, nothing less / May you know the meaning of the word happiness.” Brimming with positivity and hope, it’s a song with a message the world needs right now. And with graduations coming up in May and June, the message is especially relevant to young graduates moving out into the world.
Also known as “Walmart Yodeling Kid,” Mason Ramsey experienced the sudden, explosive fame that comes with being the star of a viral video. At the age of 11, he’s already appeared on Ellen, sung at the Grand Ole Opry, and now he’s released an original song. It’s nothing like the classic Hank Williams songs he got famous for singing, but it’s a sweet, timeless sort of country song. Stripped of the rock and hip hop that tinges much of modern country, it’s cute—he acknowledges that “it’s pretty cool to be on TV,” but that he wants to “be famous for loving” someone.