NOW That’s What I Call Music! 62 brings another round of hit singles and features six emerging artists
NOW That’s What I Call Music! 62 just came out with another set of hit singles and a NOW What’s Next feature spotlighting six new artists. You can read about the hitmakers on the Knockturnal and on my weekly Scoreboard column, but here I will focus on the NOW What’s Next class. The set starts with Cleveland native Earl St. Clair, a soul revivalist who gets the party started with “Feeling Alive.” His voice recalls another neo-soul up-and-comer Leon Bridges, though “Feeling Alive” is faster than anything Bridges ever recorded.
The foil for @earlsaintclair is YouTube sensation Alex Aiono, who has 18 times the Instagram followers of the other five artists on this edition of NOW What’s Next. His 209 YouTube videos, mostly covers of popular songs, have amassed over 500 million views. On his most popular video Aiono mashed up Drake’s “One Dance” and Nicky Jam’s “Hasta El Amanecer,” showing off both his English and Spanish singing and rapping skills. Now that he has signed with Interscope, @alexaiono has branched out to solo work and “Work The Middle” is his first single and his entry into NOW What’s Next. On it, Aiono takes on the Aaliyah “Rock The Boat” vibe, though the track is not particularly memorable. Even if his solo career goes nowhere, @alexaiono will be fine covering hit singles based on his YouTube activity.
Alex Aiono has a blast on Instagram; his next test is to translate social media success into chart success
Pop entries on NOW What’s Next 62 come from Nashville-based Taylor Buono and from Sweden’s Léon. Buono’s both “Technically Single” and “emotionally unavailable” on her featured single, though if you really want some pop psychology, go to Julia Michaels’s “Issues” earlier on NOW 62. Léon continues the NOW What’s Next Scandinavian streak following Dagny from Norway, who appeared on NOW What’s Next 61. Her “Tired Of Talking” is the best pop song in this batch due to her vocal ability that shifts from channeling Tove Lo to imitating Adele. No wonder @leon has been invited to the Meadows Festival in Queens, New York, in September.
Léon is Sweden’s newest emerging pop artist
Finally, this edition of NOW What’s Next has more alternative rock than usual with “Get Up” by Mount Holly, a new Southern California band, and “Take It All Back 2.0” by Nashville’s Judah & The Lion. While “Get Up” does an adequate job imitating Jane’s Addiction, “Take It All Back 2.0” is tranformational due to its genre-bending. On it, @judahandthelion sing about people dancing along “to the mando’ and some sort of a hip-hop beat,” a meta-reference to “Take It All Back 2.0” that combines country-rock (including a banjo) with a hip-hop groove. That combination took the song to #1 on Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart in January, though in 2017 that is not good enough to make the Hot 100. Nonetheless, if NOW’s inclusion of @judahandthelion exposes them to a bigger pop audience, the band may well be on their way to cross over like Twenty One Pilots in 2016. Check out “Take It All Back 2.0” below and buy or stream NOW 62 now: