New Music Friday: June 19

It’s Friday once again and that means another edition of New Music Friday is here! This week we have the latest tunes from award winning artists John Legend, H.E.R., Alicia Keys, The Killers & Ashe featuring Niall Horan.

“Never Break” by John Legend

EGOT winner John Legend dropped his seventh studio album, Bigger Love today on this important date, Juneteenth, a day in which African Americans commemorate the anniversary of the emancipation of slaves in Texas in 1865.

I would like to highlight the closing track, “Never Break” off said album because of it’s relevance and resonance to today’s society.

While you may interpret this song to be about a solid relationship that will never break no matter what life throws at them, you can also say this is a song about being resilient during tough times like the pandemic we still find ourselves living in.

What’s striking about the song is how impactful the lyrics are (a snippet of the chorus seen below) to today considering Legend wrote this song before the COVID-19 crisis began and before the protests against police brutality started. It really makes you motivated that the world will get better. This song will spark the confidence we all need to make positive changes in life overall and to maintain our courage with whatever life throws at us.

We will never break
Built on a foundation
Strong enough to stay
We will never break
As the water rises
And the mountains shake
Our love will remain

Legend’s winning artistry is proven once again on this record with love and unity as the central theme throughout.

Fun Fact: Artist Charly Palmer designed and painted the album art.

In a recent Instagram post (seen below), Legend revealed who inspired him to make this album. He credits his wife, his family, and the rich tradition of Black music that has made him who he is as an artist.

View this post on Instagram

I’m so excited to introduce my new album #BiggerLove to the world. Here’s the album cover painted by brilliant artist @charlylpalmer. Swipe for the track list, including my amazing featured guests. This project has been a labor of love for me, something I’ve spent over a year conceiving and creating. I poured my heart and soul into these songs and collaborated with some incredibly gifted co-writers, producers and musicians. The songs are inspired by the loves of my life: my wife, my family and the rich tradition of black music that has made me the artist I am. All of these songs were created prior to the world being rocked by a pandemic, prior to the latest police killings in the U.S. that sent so many to the streets in protest. During these painful times, some of us may wonder if it’s ok to laugh or dance or be romantic. Lately, the images of black people in the media have been showing us with knees on our necks, in mourning, or expressing our collective outrage. We feel all those emotions. But It’s important for us to continue to show the world the fullness of what it is to be black and human. Through our art, we are able to do that. This album is a celebration of love, joy, sensuality, hope, and resilience, the things that make our culture so beautiful and influential. I’m under no illusion that music can save the world or solve the world’s problems, but I’ve always turned to music to help me through tough times and I know many of you have done the same. That’s why I couldn’t wait to release this album to the world. I debuted in 2004 with an album called Get Lifted. And now, as we enter the summer of 2020, I hope this new album can get you lifted again, fill your hearts with love and inspiration, give you something to dance to, something to hold hands to, something to make love to. A week from today, on June 19, I invite you to experience a #BiggerLove.

A post shared by John Legend (@johnlegend) on

I predict he will earn more Grammy noms for this song and album. He collaborated with a wide variety of artists including Grammy-winning Gary Clark Jr. and Grammy-nominated Jhené Aiko just to name a few. So go check out the new album, Bigger Love today!

“I Can’t Breathe” by H.E.R.

This is a powerful new song from the 2x Grammy-winner. H.E.R. has excellently crafted and enveloped all the frustration the world is seeing right now into this beautiful song. The third verse is by far the most potent part of the song in my opinion. Names like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Trayvon Martin and more are shown in the music video who were killed by police brutality over the past years. It’s so surreal that so many innocent lives were taken away at the hands of the police.

The video which was shot in black and white displays some captivating images/footage of the peaceful protests that took place recently around the world like in New York City, Belgium, Syria and Los Angeles.

Props to Shane Adams for editing this music video. The whole world needs to share and see this. Please download/stream H.E.R.’s latest single, “I Can’t Breathe,” right here.

“Perfect Way To Die” by Alicia Keys

15x Grammy-winning artist, Alicia Keys has dropped another masterpiece of a song! Like H.E.R.’s new song, this too is another single you should all be listening to right now. It’s a beautiful, heartfelt piano ballad that Keys has made. She said it’s right for this time and per her video tweet for Spotify: “I really hope you can feel it and it gives you what you need right now.”

Keys described in her latest Instagram post, “the song title is so powerful and heartbreaking because WE are heartbroken by so many who have died unjustly.⁣⁣” She goes on to say:

Of course, there is NO perfect way to die. That phrase doesn’t even make sense. ⁣⁣

⁣⁣Just like it doesn’t make sense that there are so many innocent lives that should not have been taken from us due to the destructive culture of police violence. ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
Sometimes I don’t have the words and music is the only thing that can speak.⁣⁣
I hope this speaks to you.⁣⁣
I hope one day this song won’t be so relevant.⁣⁣
⁣⁣
Let’s NEVER stop fighting for justice.

Well said! You can get Alicia Keys’ new song, “Perfect Way To Die,” right here.

“My Own Soul’s Warning” by The Killers

This is The Killers’ third new track released from the upcoming sixth studio album, Imploding The Mirage which will be out sometime later this year. It follows “Fire In Bone” and “Caution” which recently hit #1 on the US Billboard Alternative Songs chart.

Fun Facts: Artist Thomas Blackshear’s “Crow Tribe of Indians” painting is the single artwork. He granted the band permission to use his art for this song. He also designed the album art too! That painting is called “Dance of the Wind and Storm.”

This is another banger from the 5x Grammy nominated rock band! The multilayered opening track features lead singer Brandon Flowers’ usual signature flair and it doesn’t disappoint. From my interpretation, the song talks about attempting to go against one’s gut instincts but in the end it’s not right, so they have to go back to whatever it is or was that felt comforting.

This could apply well to most life situations like when somebody makes a mistake but realizes quickly and would do whatever it takes to go back and make up for lost time or to return to a status quo, etc.

According to a Radio.com interview, Flowers said this leading track sets the tone for the rest of the album. “Spiritually and sonically, it embodies what the rest of the songs are.”

Looking forward to hearing the album later this year. I hope this quarantine provides the band extra time for them to polish another solid record.

“My Own Soul’s Warning” by The Killers is available now to stream and download. Pre-order Imploding The Mirage here. Also check out their recent iHeartRadio Living Room Concert Series set here.

“Moral Of The Story” by Ashe feat. Niall Horan

Rising singer-songwriter Ashe joins pop artist Niall Horan for a revamped version of her hit song, “Moral Of The Story.” It’s truly special when artists collaborate together and this is no exception.

Horan tweeted in regards to the original version of the song that “from the minute Ashe got in touch” with him, he loved it so much. The “chord choices to the natural storytelling melodies she possess, it was a no-brainer that I was going to be a part of it.”

Several Facetime sessions later and the rest is history! They’re now calling each other friends for life after working on the song together from quarantine.

From Ashe’s perspective, she recently tweeted that Horan was just one out of a handful of people she would trust in handling her material. “There’s only a few humans I trust with my music and I feel lucky Niall’s become one of those people.” Even though their friendship is still young, she can’t wait to learn more about his craft as an artist. “He’s not in it for fame or praise,” she added.

The song talks about the mistakes people make in life most notably in a relationship where things aren’t always clear 24/7. It’s okay because you’ll live and learn and move on from the past.

Overall, I really enjoy how both of their vocals come together cohesively in this remixed version. The chorus and the “oh-oh..oh-ooh-oh’s” are the most infectious parts about the song. Definitely will be playing this on repeat!

Get the new version of “Moral of the Story” today! Visit Ashe’s official website for updates, videos, and more!

That wraps up another edition of New Music Friday! Check back in one week’s time where I list the next five songs you need to hear! Stay safe, continue to help the world out anyway you can, educate yourselves on the importance of Juneteenth and have a great weekend!

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