Happy Monday after the Super Bowl! If you’re anything like me, you’re wishing we had today off from work. I’m not much of a drinker, but I still have the post-Super Bowl letdown. Mine is from food. The Super Bowl is the perfect excuse to make every delicious party food known to humans and eat all of it over the course of the evening. I am still feeling the effects of all that food. On the plus side, I don’t have to make lunch for the rest of the week with all the leftovers I have. And even though many of us do have to work today, we have music to carry us through. Let’s get into this week’s Take 5.

Small Talks – Oceans

I already talked extensively in the premiere for Small Talks’s new album A Conversation Between Us how it feels like Cayley Spivey is talking directly to the listener. I even mentioned “Oceans” by name. I need to bring it up again though, because I have been enraptured by this track since I first heard it. Giving yourself to someone and exploring all of the depths they have to offer is both thrilling and terrifying, and Spivey conveys that wonderfully on “Oceans.” The lyricism is vivid and accessible. The music is just the right amount of tumultuous to convey that emotion while still maintaining a crisp, melodic sound. “Oceans” leaves me floored every time I hear it, and that’s why it’s on this list.

The Avett Brothers – Neapolitan Sky

The Avett Brothers have a long history. Their first album came out in 2002, and they’ve steadily released music since then. With that said, the last couple years have been unusually quiet for them. With only a few singles over the years since 2016’s True Sadness, we were due for a new song. “Neapolitan Sky” delivers everything their fans might want. Brothers Seth and Scott Avett’s lyrics and dual vocals deliver the profundity of Americana vibes with their usual twist. The sliding guitar introduced in fleeting moments gives the track a noticeable flavor, and Bob Crawford’s violin adds texture to a song that actually clocks in as one of the band’s most subdued. Is this the beginning of a new album cycle for The Avett Brothers? Yes or no, “Neapolitan Sky” is sure to satisfy those longing for new music from the band.

Emily Reo – Strawberry

It took me approximately half a second before I was sold on Emily Reo’s new single “Strawberry.” If you know me, you know those opening synths, in all their futuristic glory, are what I live for. Once that intro ends and Reo comes in with a dreamy pop-inspired melody, I was all the way in. Both of those elements stay strong throughout the track, with the synths twisting and morphing as needed to suit Reo’s powerful emotions. While “Strawberry” is named after a fruit, it’s anything but sweet. Reo delivers a scathing indictment of the patronizing nature of our male-driven society, and it’s hugely satisfying to listen to her rip apart all of the worst behavioral tendencies of those in charge. With that message wrapped in lovingly crafted synth-pop, Emily Reo has a gem of a track in “Strawberry.”

Patrick Martin – Cinema Love

I adore love songs. I know in real life love is often messy and complicated and more complex than we experience in our media. Still, there’s something heartwarming about watching a romance on screen or listening to a big love song. Patrick Martin has come through in spades with “Cinema Love.” There’s a lot of impressive elements here. All of the cinematic lyrical ideas he incorporates that sound completely earnest, the beautiful falsetto he employs, and the enchanting synths that weave into the track. Most impressive of all is that this is Martin’s very first release. With such a strong debut, it’ll be exciting to see what Patrick Martin cooks up next. “Cinema Love” gives me high hopes.

Nina Nesbitt – Is It Really Me You’re Missing

If you need a new album to check out this week, I would strongly suggest you check out Nina Nesbitt’s new project The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change. There’s a huge amount of variety on the project, and all of it showcases Nesbitt’s ability to write songs that pierce the heart and her vocals that soar, celebrate, and mourn in equal measures when needed. “Is It Really Me You’re Missing” falls into that last category, and it’ll break your heart. There’s very little production on the track, mirroring the emotional emptiness and punch of the lyrics. Those lyrics deal with someone Nesbitt just can’t seem to get out of her life, someone who only comes to her when no one else will deal with their problems. Having that dynamic in your life is exhausting, and Nesbitt conveys that weariness while still keeping her voice and her own emotions strong. “Is It Really Me You’re Missing” is a great showcase for what Nina Nesbitt’s new album has to offer, so get to listening.

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