New Music Friday: 7/31/20

 In Music, New Music Friday

Despite being a year of sever suckage, 2020 has been a great year for female artists that established their career in the ‘90s and are returning to music after a long hiatus. This week’s New Music Friday shines the light on two of the biggest voices of the ‘90s who have new music out for the first time in eight years.

Alanis Morissette Such Pretty Forks in the Road

The resurrection of female superstars from the 1990’s continues with the release of Alanis Morissette’s ninth studio album, Such Pretty Forks in the Road. The angst found in Jagged Little Pill is all over the new album although the cause of the pain is completely different.

25 years ago, Morissette exploded on the music scene and wanted the whole world to know that she was jilted and pissed off. The whole world listened as Pill went on to sell over 33 million copies and win five Grammy Awards. It is also the inspiration for the Broadway musical of the same name. 

With her first release in eight years, Alanis tackles many of her more recent triumphs and struggles, including multiple miscarriages, embezzlement, and the birth of two children. There is a lot of pain scattered throughout the new album and it comes across the heaviest in “Reckoning.” The song’s theme is about the sexual abuse she suffered for a long time when she was younger and questions why the people around her at the time didn’t come to her rescue. It’s clear that these people didn’t have the young star’s best interest in mind.  

Much like the new Fiona Apple album released earlier this year, Pretty Forks was recorded in Morissette’s California home and leans heavily on her strong voice and piano playing. “Reasons I Drink” is an upbeat and heavy piano song that discusses some of the singer’s addictions. In the song, Morissette sings of how drinking is not a problem for her but rather a partner she relies on to get through certain aspects of life. 

There wasn’t a young woman in 1995 that did not sing every song on Jagged Little Pill at the top of their lungs. 25 years later and new generations of women have been introduced to that album and can relate to it now more than ever with the growth of the #MeToo movement. The young women from 25 years ago have grown with Alanis and many of them have gone through a number of the topics she sings about on the new album. The album showcases a lot of the pain Alanis has suffered through since 2012’s Havoc and Bright Lights and is full of raw emotion and honesty. It’s impossible to believe she will ever duplicate the success of Pill but Such Pretty Forks in the Road is destined to be one of her most beloved albums. @Alanis

Brandy B7

Another 90s diva is making a return after a long hiatus and this time it is Grammy Award winning R&B singer Brandy. The “Moesha” star releases B7, her first album of new music since 2012’s Two Eleven and features 15 songs and includes collaborations with Chance the Rapper, Daniel Caeser and her 18 year-old daughter Sy’Rai. That’s right – Moesha is the mother of a high school senior. 

The album is trenched in classic R&B and is easily her most personal album yet. “I Am More” which features a rock vibe is all about the Mississippi native demanding more in a relationship. She refuses to be the other woman or sidepiece in the song and demands her lover to make a decision. “High Heels” features the singer rapping about how it took a long time for her to get herself right again while daughter Sy’Rai sings the opening verse and chorus. 

B7 is a great R&B album but one unlike anything Brandy has done before. The singer explores some new sounds while still staying true to her R&B upbringing and dives into some very personal themes for Brandy. @4everBrandy

Hockey Dad Brain Candy

Australia’s Hockey Dad were all set to release a new album and tour festival after festival to only find themselves on the side of the road like every other band in the world waiting for things to return to normal. It’s disappointing because the duo has knocked it out of the park on the third album which would have been perfect to hear in a field or farm somewhere. 

Brain Candy puts the garage rock sound of the band on full and display and right out the gates they hit the listener dead in the ear with two tracks that reflect on love and regret. The album takes an unlikely turn starting with “Itch.” The song channels some mid-90s alternative songs from bands like Silverchair and Radiohead. “It’s definitely the most non-Hockey Dad song we have ever recorded,” says vocalist Zach Stephenson.

The duo is looking to follow in the success of other Aussie artists like Tame Impala and Courtney Barnett and it’s easy to see the trend continue if they keep releasing albums like Brain Candy and build off it. Hopefully for Hockey Dad and their fans 2021 will bring some normality back to the world and they can get back on the road and play ever festival from the Falls Festival to Glastonbury to Coachella. @hockeydadband 

Check out these other great release out this week……

  • E^st I’M DOING IT
  • Madeline Kenney Suckers Lunch
  • The Psychedelic Furs Made of Rain

Steven McCash is the Music Columnist for SoBros Network. He is the pioneer of New Music Friday, highlighting each week’s new releases in the world of music, in addition to the occasional live show review. Follow on Twitter: @MC_Cash75

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