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February 27, 2021
 

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Icon music review: The four most anticipated albums of early 2021

From Drake, Willie Nelson, Foo Fighters and Evanescence

Reviewed by Craig Hoffman 
The calendar has flipped to 2021. That means a fresh start for everyone. This includes the music industry. This year should bring with it a ton of great new music from the biggest names in the industry. Here are several albums we are looking forward to in the first part of this year!

What new music releases are you eager to listen to this year? Let the Icon know in the comments!

January- Certified Lover Boy (Drake)
Certified Lover Boy is the upcoming sixth studio album by Canadian rapper Drake. It is scheduled to be released in January 2021. The first single for the album, “Laugh Now Cry Later,” featuring American rapper Lil Durk, debuted in August 2020. 

According to Charles Holmes at Rolling Stone, the song “sounds like Drake featuring Drake,” further explaining that the song "is the embodiment of what happens when you surround real Drake with a room full of past Drakes, like a tortured Canadian reboot of Being John Malkovich.”

The album hopefully will be better than this opening track, or Drake is going to take a hit from the critics.

February- That’s Life (Willie Nelson) 
That’s Life is the upcoming seventy-first solo studio album by Willie Nelson. It is scheduled to be released in February. This tribute to Frank Sinatra is the second volume of Nelson’s Sinatra collection, following My Way (2018).

Nelson and Sinatra were close friends, musical collaborators, and admirers of each other’s work throughout Sinatra’s lifetime. Sinatra opened for Nelson at Golden Nugget in Las Vegas in the 1980s.

This album is of particular interest to this reviewer. Nelson is a music legend who is still going strong at the age of 87.

Also in February- Medicine at Midnight (Foo Fighters) 
Medicine at Midnight is the upcoming tenth studio album by American rock band Foo Fighters. Foo Fighters were originally compared to Grohl’s earlier group, Nirvana. Grohl stated that Nirvana songwriter Kurt Cobain influenced his songwriting: “Through Kurt, I saw the beauty of minimalism and the importance of music that’s stripped down.”

But the group has carved out their identity after playing together for the last twenty-five-plus years. Grohl said the new album was inspired by “Our love of rock bands that make these upbeat, up-tempo, almost danceable records.”

The band released the first single, “Shame Shame” in November of 2020.

March- The Bitter Truth (Evanescence)
The Bitter Truth will be the fifth studio album by American rock band Evanescence. It is scheduled for release in March. Amazingly, Evanescence was originally promoted in Christian stores. Later, the band was adamant they did not want to be considered part of the Christian rock scene.

Lead singer Amy Lee was excited about the new album during an interview on Reddit last year: “I can't wait for you to hear it. It’s dark and heavy. It's also got moments of weird and sparse. Little bit of everything. Definitely some Open Door vibes but not the same.”

The Bitter Truth was first announced with the release of its lead single, “Wasted on You,” in April 2020. The single reached number 16 on U.S. Hot Rock & Alternative Songs (Billboard).

Final Take: It’s exciting to see musicians once more creating new albums for fans to enjoy. Even better, live music will (likely) return by the year’s end! Great tunes in 2021: 5/5 

Craig Hoffman is a music graduate of Ohio Northern University and The University of Akron School of Music. He also serves as the Icon’s Japan correspondent.

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