MEGHAN TRAINOR - TITLE
LA Reid’s signing Meghan Trainor has already made women everywhere fall back in love with their curves, thanks to her catchy Grammy-nominated single, All About That Bass, which was the hit of last summer and spawned many viral tributes. Fans of the 21-year-old singer’s upbeat vocals and bubble-gum pop melodies, inspired by doo-wop, reggae and soca, will love her debut album Title. “I got a heart full of rhythm that beats with no pain, I got a head full of melodies stuck in my brain,” sings the Nantucket-born songstress in opener The Best Part (Interlude). Along with All About That Bass and new single Lips Are Movin’, which feature here, all the tracks - particularly Dear Future Husband, 3am, Dem Sticks and Walkashame - are fun and funky. Even the slower tunes such as Like I’m Gonna Lose You, Close Your Eyes and What If will stick in your mind. Trainor, who’s aspiring to be the female version of Bruno Mars, is on the right track, as Title makes the right impression.
JOEY BADA$$ - B4.DA.$$
When Brooklyn native Jo-Vaughn Virginie Scott, better known as Joey Bada$$, released his mix-tape 1999 in 2012, a buzz was created. Here was a high-school student forgoing hip-hop swagger, instead focusing on skill and creativity. Comparisons were instantly drawn with Nas and his debut, Illmatic. Another mix-tape and EP followed as did garnering a good, solid fan-base via touring. Now, with his debut launched on the same date as his 20th birthday, it seems the in-between years have been well spent. Admittedly it’s only January, but this is a hip-hop album which will be hard to beat this year. It’s not the most commercial of albums, so there probably won’t be many number one’s, though bonus track Teach Me will undoubtedly be a dance-floor filler. Like 1999, the album’s instrumentation and beats hark back to the 90s, the lyrics are clever and his rapping style manages to effortlessly switch between mellow and gruff. Highlights include opener Save The Children, Paper Trail$ and O.C.B.
RAE MORRIS - UNGUARDED
Rae Morris is already causing quite a stir with her debut album, having been dubbed in some quarters as “the voice of 2015”. The 21-year-old Blackpool-born singer-songwriter certainly sounds remarkably mature and assured on Unguarded with the catchy Under The Shadows garnering plenty of airplay on BBC Radio 2. Morris already has a great musical pedigree having sung with Bombay Bicycle Club and Clean Bandit and her own recordings are just as strong. Her collaboration with Fryars on the languid track Cold and the lovely Don’t Go are evidence of a blossoming talent. One to watch, for sure.
GAZ COOMBES - MATADOR
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since Supergrass released their stunning debut album and Britpop masterpiece, I Should Coco. Yet somehow, their former frontman Gaz Coombes looks exactly the same on the cover of his new solo album, Matador. What Matador loses in youthful exuberance, it gains in songwriting maturity. Full of songs of romance and doubt, the tracks are more reminiscent of his former band’s later work, but with electronic beats and keyboard sounds mixed in throughout. It’s a solid enough album, but perhaps missing that certain spark that made I Should Coco the perfect time capsule for that heady summer of 1995.