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JESUS IS COMING—REALLY
Your skepticism is understandable, given recent history. (10/21a)
STRUNG OUT
ON STRINGS
KG is happy for a change. (10/21a)
U.K. MIDWEEKS: A BATTLE FOR #1
Sometimes our two countries seem quite distinct from each other taste-wise. (10/21a)
ALL ABOUT
THE BENJAMIN
Hot derby in 3, 2, 1... (10/21a)
TOP 50 CHART: THIS THING IS BROKE
Never...again (10/21a)
BEHIND THE SCENES WITH KANYE
And lo, there was much earned media.
MOE, MARSHMELLO AND MONEY
The story of a "faceless" brand that got very, very big.
THE NEW WORLD OF A&R
The trap they all fell into.
GRAMMY NOMS
Who deserves consideration in the genre categories?
Critics' Choice
LISTEN BEFORE CASTING YOUR BALLOT: BRANTLEY, SIA, SAM AND NICK
10/27/15

SONGS

Brantley Gilbert
, “One Hell of an Amen” (Valory/BMLG): Gilbert goes big on this rocking elegy, a lighter-lifting salute to a life well lived that embodies everything contemporary Country does best—heartland sentiment, sturdy-as-a-mountain melody and wailing guitars—in a way that listeners anywhere can feel down deep. The powerhouse track, co-penned by Mike Dekle and Brian Davis, hit #1 at Country radio just after Gilbert’s honeymoon and the death of his grandfather; nothing could better summarize the song’s bittersweetness.

 Sia, “Elastic Heart” (RCA): Though it took a bit longer to ignite than anthem “Chandelier,” this Diplo-produced gem, co-written by Sia, Thomas Wesley Pentz, Andrew Swanson and Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye, provided further confirmation of the singer/songwriter’s eccentric brilliance—for emotional punch and melodic payoff, she’s tough to beat. The lyric’s motifs of resilience are matched by soaring hooks and endlessly inventive sonic touches.

Sam Hunt, “Take Your Time” (Capitol Nashville): How much has mainstream Nashville music evolved in the last few years? Apart from the slight drawl in the vocal, you’d be forgiven for mistaking this simmering track (co-written by Hunt with Josh Osborne and Shane McAnally) for an R&B-inflected pop song. Hunt skillfully weaves his vocal between singing and recitative, invoking vintage soul, and the incandescent chorus lodges in your skull.

RECORD

Nick Jonas, “Chains” (Island): On the heels of falsetto-fueled smash “Jealous,” Jonas explores darker pop territory with this ode to erotic captivity, produced by Jason Evigan, who co-wrote the tune with Ammar Malik and Danny Parker. The ravishing track completed the singer’s transition from bubblegum idol to mature pop artist, and his powerhouse vocal showcases new depth in his range.