Photo: BIGHIT MUSIC
Listen: Tomorrow X Together & Jonas Brothers Unite For Funky Summer Single "Do It Like That"
Combining their pop and K-pop powers, the Jonas Brothers and TOMORROW X TOGETHER crafted what may just be "the collaboration of the year."
Sibling trio Jonas Brothers and K-pop quintet TOMORROW X TOGETHER have both proven they know how to craft a catchy tune. Now, they've combined their hitmaking power for "Do It Like That" — and it's a perfect summer anthem.
Produced by Ryan Tedder, the upbeat pop track sees JB and TXT trade verses over an infectious bassline, made complete by cheeky lyrics: "Oh my God/ You blowin' my mind like that/ Oh my God/ The way that you bring it right back."
"Do It Like That" arrived alongside a playful music video with shots of each group on an all-white stage. The Jonas Brothers play the guitar and drums, while TXT perform their typical seamless lockstep choreography.
The TOMORROW X TOGETHER guys shared their thoughts on the groovy new track in a press release through BIGHIT MUSIC, with SOOBIN declaring it the "summer anthem of the year." As HUENINGINGKAI added, "It's a song that you want to listen to when you're headed on a trip with your besties or whenever you need to recall the happiest moments in your life."
The collaboration also marks a special moment for TXT in a couple of ways: Not only does BEOMGYU note that it's their first song they recorded in the U.S., but it's also a full-circle collab for some of the members.
"I grew up listening to Jonas Brothers' music, so it's very surreal that we had a chance to collaborate with them on this track," YEONJUN revealed. And in TAEHYUN's eyes, "Do It Like That" is "the collaboration of the year."
This year has been busy for both the Jonas Brothers and TOMORROW X TOGETHER. In January, TXT released their fifth EP, The Name Chapter: Temptation. The fourth-generation K-pop powerhouses are currently promoting the album on the Act: Sweet Mirage international tour, which includes a headlining slot at Lollapalooza in Chicago in August.
In May, the Jonas Brothers delivered The Album, their sixth studio LP and first album in four years. Later this year, they will embark on a North American tour, beginning August 12 in the Bronx, New York.
Watch the feel-good music video above, and check back to GRAMMY.com for more updates on new music releases.
Photo: Ollie Millington/Redferns
9 Songs You Didn't Know Jon Bellion Wrote & Produced: Hits By Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez & More
Pop superproducer Jon Bellion is the man behind Tori Kelly's new ep, 'tori,' but he's also been involved with countless hits for more than a decade. Check out nine of Bellion's biggest songs, from Eminem to Jonas Brothers.
If the name Jon Bellion sounds familiar, it's probably because of his 2016 single "All Time Low." With its relentless "low-low-low-low-low" chorus, the electronic-fused pop confection scored Bellion his first major hit — as a solo artist, that is.
Prior to Bellion's breakthrough with his debut solo single, he'd already made a name for himself behind the scenes by writing and producing songs for the likes of Eminem, Jason Derulo, Zedd and CeeLo Green. And in the seven years since "All Time Low" became a top 20 hit, he's celebrated plenty of other smashes with some of pop's A-listers from Christina Aguilera to Justin Bieber.
This year alone, he worked with the Jonas Brothers to executive produce their statement-making record The Album, helped shape Maroon 5's "Middle Ground" — which is expected to be the lead single off the veteran pop-rockers' forthcoming eighth studio album — and teamed up with Switchfoot for an orchestral 2023 update of the band's 2003 breakout single "Meant to Live."
Bellion's most recent work can be heard on Tori Kelly's new self-titled EP tori, which dropped July 28. Along with producing the project, Bellion joined Kelly for a magnetic, electro-tinged track titled "young gun." Upon the EP's release, Kelly herself noted Bellion's impact, calling their collaboration "the start of something really special."
In honor of Bellion's latest project, take a look at nine songs you may not have known contained Bellion's signature touch — a roadmap to his becoming one of the most in-demand producers of the moment.
Eminem feat. Rihanna — "The Monster"
One of Bellion's earliest smashes came courtesy of Eminem — well, and Bebe Rexha. The pop singer penned the track's dark hook while working on her debut album, but it later made its way to Eminem and eventually shapeshifted into his fourth collaboration with Rihanna. The song became the duo's second No. 1 collaboration following 2010's "Love The Way You Lie" and remains one of most monstrous hits in Bellion's career.
Jason Derulo — "Trumpets"
Jason Derulo worked solely with Bellion on this top 20 hit from his 2013 Tattoos, which was later re-packaged as 2014's Talk Dirty. Built around an irresistible horn line of, yes, literal trumpets, Bellion and Derulo concocted a bouncy, flirtatious symphony to smoothly objectify the R&B singer's lady love, and manages to name drop Coldplay, Katy Perry and Kanye West over the course of just three minutes and thirty-seven seconds.
Christina Aguilera feat. Demi Lovato — "Fall in Line"
Bellion handled production on Christina Aguilera's fierce 2018 team-up with Demi Lovato, "Fall in Line," off the former's 2018 LP Liberation. Behind the boards, Bellion effectively captured all of the feminist rage and empowerment that the two vocal powerhouses lit into their lyrics, pairing their sneering vocals with a vamping strings section, rattling chains and a robotic male overlord futilely demanding, "March, two, three, right, two, three/ Shut your mouth, stick your ass out for me."
"Fall in Line" scored a nomination for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 2019 GRAMMYs, marking Aguilera's twentieth career nod and Lovato's second.
Maroon 5 — "Memories"
To kick off their seventh album, JORDI, Maroon 5 enlisted Bellion to co-write lead single "Memories." The gentle ballad found frontman Adam Levine mourning the loss of a friend, pouring one out over a lilting reggae-pop line that cleverly samples Johann Pachelbel's "Canon in D Major." While the heartfelt song is dedicated to the band's longtime manager (and namesake of the LP) Jordan Feldstein, who tragically passed away in 2017 due to a blood clot, the relatable sentiment of "Memories" helped it peak at No. 2 on the Hot 100.
In addition to "Memories," Bellion also worked with the band on two other songs from JORDI, co-writing fourth single "Lost" as well as Anuel AA and Tainy collab "Button." Three years later, he would reunite with the band to co-write and co-produce their latest, equally delicate single "Middle Ground" alongside the likes of Andrew Watt and Rodney Jerkins.
Miley Cyrus — "Midnight Sky"
Miley Cyrus came raring into her glam rock-inspired album Plastic Hearts on the back of "Midnight Sky," an unapologetic statement of independence following her split from longtime love Liam Hemsworth. Dripping in sultry synths, the power ballad took a page from '80s rock icons like Joan Jett, Debbie Harry and Stevie Nicks.
The sound was an entirely new one for Cyrus — which is one of Bellion's tools when working with a new superstar for the first time. In a 2023 Billboard interview, he likened his approach to inventing a new kind of ride for the given A-lister. "They have already built an amazing theme park: millions of people go to it and experience their roller coasters," he said. "They put me in charge of revamping or creating a new section of the theme park, and they let me be the foreman of it all." The new style worked in Cyrus' favor, and earned Bellion yet another top 20 hit on the Hot 100.
Justin Bieber — "Holy"
Bellion's fingerprints are all over Justin Bieber's 2021 album Justice, starting notably with its Chance the Rapper-assisted lead single "Holy," which he both co-wrote and co-produced. The superproducer contributed to six other songs on the pop-driven LP — including the pop radio No. 1 "Ghost," which was inspired by Bellion's late grandmother — as well as three deluxe tracks. And though Bellion didn't have any credited features, his voice can still be heard: he offered background vocals on seven of the songs.
Justice earned Bellion his very first GRAMMY nomination, as the project was nominated for Album Of The Year at the 2022 GRAMMYs (Bieber also received seven other nods).
Selena Gomez — "My Mind & Me"
Bellion first collaborated with Selena Gomez on Rare album cut "Vulnerable" alongside Amy Allen, Michael Pollack and The Monsters & Strangerz. Two years later, the entire team reunited for the title track to the pop singer's Apple TV+ documentary My Mind & Me.
Bellion and co. helped Gomez tap even further into the most vulnerable side of her psyche to date. "Vulnerable" saw Gomez letting her guard down with a new flame, but "My Mind & Me" allowed her to completely lay bare her mental health journey. "Sometimes I feel like an accident, people look when they're passin' it/ Never check on the passenger, they just want the free show," she sings. "Yeah, I'm constantly tryna fight somethin' that my eyes can't see," over spare guitar and piano.
Jonas Brothers — "Waffle House"
After the success of their 2019 comeback album Happiness Begins with producer Ryan Tedder, the Jonas Brothers recruited Bellion to helm the boards on their 2023 follow-up The Album. The producer helped the hitmaking siblings tap into a new facet of their pop-rock sound, finding inspiration in the '70s music their dad raised them on. (As Joe Jonas told GRAMMY.com upon the album's release, Bellion "was saying exactly what we were hoping for" when they first met to mull over ideas.)
While Bellion had a hand in every song on The Album, second single "Waffle House" is the latest to earn both him and Jonas Brothers a top 15 hit on pop radio. Bellion also serves as the one and only featured artist on The Album, coming out from behind the boards and into the vocal booth for bombastic closer "Walls."
Tori Kelly — "missin u"
Tori Kelly first linked up with Bellion thanks to Justin Bieber, as the pair worked together with the Biebs on tender bonus cut "Name" from the Justice sessions. So, when it came time to launch a new era with her self-titled EP tori, the songstress turned to Bellion to help bring her vision to life.
On lead single "missin u," the two-time GRAMMY winner throws the guitar-driven singer/songwriter vibes of her past work out the window in favor of a sleek R&B sound reminiscent of the early 2000s. The sonic gear shift is a natural fit for her lithe voice as she replays a romance that "was rainin' purple skies in my room." Somehow, Kelly even manages to outdo the vocal acrobatics of "missin u" with a deliriously brilliant "R&B edit" that adds even more layers, soul and vocal flourishes to the single.
"When I first started working with Jon Bellion, we were just beginning to scratch the surface on a new sound that truly felt like my own," Kelly explains in a video celebrating the release of her self-titled EP tori. "I know that I'm gonna look back on this collaboration as the start of something really special." As for Bellion's thoughts on his latest project? "Tori Kelly's the greatest vocalist of all time!"
Photo: Simone Joyner/Getty Images
10 Can’t-Miss Acts At Lollapalooza 2023: Pusha T, Tomorrow X Together, Karol G & More
Lollapalooza 2023 will be held Aug. 3-6, with dozens of artists appearing across eight stages. Read on for 10 of the most anticipated performances at the Chicago festival.
Lollapalooza, which started off as the brainchild of Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell in 1991, has become one of the world’s most famous festivals. Its popularity — due in part to the festival's ability to draw some of the biggest names in music, as well as buzzy up-and-comers — has allowed Lolla to expand into Brazil, Argentina, Sweden, France and India.
Taking place Aug. 3-6, this year's Chicago headliners include Kendrick Lamar, Billie Eilish, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lana Del Rey and The 1975. The festival will also host a slew of aftershows all over the city featuring festival performers like A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Carly Rae Jepsen, Portugal. The Man and Noah Kahan.
While these stars will undoubtedly put on impressive performances, they aren’t the only musicians that are drawing fans to the festival. Dozens of artists will appear across Lollapalooza's eight stages. From rap to rock, punk to pop, here are 10 artists who deserve to stand in the spotlight all on their own — and whose sets you shouldn't miss.
Canadian alt-rock group The Beaches embody the effortless cool many bands boast but few fail to execute. The all-female quartet, who beautifully meld new-wave sounds with the ferocity of pop-punk, are gearing up to release their sophomore album Blame My Ex due out Sept. 15.
Lead single "Blame Brett" is an intoxicating anthem in which lead singer Jordan Miller pledges to battle heartbreak with apathy: "I’m sorry in advance / I’m only gonna treat you bad / I’m probably gonna let you down / I’m probably gonna sleep around […] but don’t blame me, blame Brett".
The Beaches scored a major label deal with Island Records and released their debut album, Late Show, in 2016. They've since amassed six No. 1 singles on Canadian alternative radio, and have toured with the Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters and Avril Lavigne.
The Beaches perform at 1:15 p.m. Thursday at the Bud Light stage.
Beauty School Dropout
This L.A. rock trio got the ultimate endorsement after they were signed by Mark Hoppus under the new label Verswire with Pete Wentz and Sherry Saeedi. In a press release, Hoppus stated that he was "always impressed by how hard these guys work, their talent and uncompromising creativity, and their dedication to their fans."
In addition to supporting Blink-182 on their long-awaited reunion tour, Beauty School Dropout released their debut album We Made Plans And God Laughed in 2022. Saturated with heavy guitar riffs, catchy choruses and invigorating percussion, the album has received well over 14 million streams.
Newer songs from the group include the pulsating dance floor anthem "FREAK" as well as "dying to be you." The latter, which was released in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Month, was written about the band’s mental health struggles and the unceasing desire to be something else.
Beauty School Dropout perform at 2:10 p.m. Thursday at the BMI stage.
Key Glock is a charismatic emcee who possesses the sagacity of rappers nearly twice his age. In an interview with Billboard, the 25-year-old explained that his influences range from Three 6 Mafia to Johnny Taylor. "The soul music, that’s more of the real life stuff, where hip-hop is more of the entertainment and street life stuff. They both had a toll on me coming up."
This February, Key Glock released his third studio album, Glockoma 2, which followed the murder of Glock's cousin and Paper Route Empire founder Young Dolph. Paper Route Empire’s in-house producer Bandplay is responsible for producing half the songs on Glockoma 2, which are a slick combination of pulsating, infectious beats ("Work") and darker, more cerebral offerings ("F— Dat S—"). As Glock continues to double down on his craft, he has stated that Dolph will always serve as his motivation.
Key Glock performs at 7:45 p.m. Thursday at the Bacardi stage.
This Columbian siren fiercely established her place in reggaeton with 2020’s her smash hit "Bichoita." Since then, Karol G has performed at Coachella, collaborated with Shakira on the song "TQG" and sold out Madison Square Garden. She was also nominated for a GRAMMY in 2022 and a Latin Grammy that same year.
She also made history when her most recent album, Mañana Será Bonito ("Tomorrow Will Be Beautiful"), became the first fully Spanish-language album by a female artist to top the Billboard 200 chart. Mañana Será Bonito explores everything from pop-rock to Caribbean melodies. During her attendance record-breaking performance in June as part of TODAY‘s Citi Concert Series, Karol remarked: "The last two years we’ve been growing as a movement and Latinos, we support what we do around the world so we’re here proud of all of us and it’s such an amazing moment."
Karol G performs at 8:40 p.m. Thursday at the Bud Light stage.
Irrefutable pop prodigy Declan McKenna is known for drenching infectious sun-soaked melodies with fiery lyrical realism. His 2015 single "Brazil" catapulted McKenna into the spotlight, and earned him a spot in Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent Competition — which he won.
The 24-year-old has continuously cranked out tunes that drastically set him apart from his peers. Older gems like "Isombard" challenge repulsive right wing rhetoric while newer songs from Mckenna’s catalog — including his latest single, "Sympathy" — reiterate the importance of authenticity and positivity. That sentiment is present throughout McKenna’s currently unannounced third album, and he couldn’t be prouder. "I’ve made a hella weird new album: it’s got a lot of strangeness to it, but that hasn’t come through me trying to be anything other than myself," he told NME in July.
Declan McKenna performs Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the Bacardi stage.
Hemlocke Springs’ major breakthrough came courtesy of TikTok, where "Girlfriend'' became a viral sensation. The synth-laced sparkly pop gem has since amassed nearly 30 million streams on Spotify. "People are saying this reminds them of a Prince song, and I’m like ‘Prince?!’ I’m just a small country girl!" the singer told Rolling Stone.
Springs, who was born in Concord, North Carolina was embarking on a journey to receive a Master of Science degree from Dartmouth when she became more serious about music. Though she hasn’t abandoned her educational aspirations, she does have a few more songs under her belt including "heavun," "stranger danger!" and "sever the blight."
Hemlocke Springs perform at 1:00 p.m. Friday at the BMI stage.
The poetry that MAVI enraptures his listeners with is ripe with blistering sincerity. His first album, 2019’s Let the Sun Talk, was made while the musician was just a freshman at Howard University and was praised for its complexity.
MAVI’s second independent project, End of the Earth, was lauded even more and landed the emcee opportunities to work with the likes of Earl Sweatshirt and producer the Alchemist (MAVI also opened for Jack Harlow on tour in 2021). His latest album, Laughing So Hard It Hurts, shows off the musician’s maturity as he explores themes of generational trauma as well as the painful aftermath of losing people closest to you.
"I made this gentle album to be gentle with myself," MAVI told OkayPlayer. "Everybody else don’t got to be gentle with me. Being gentle with the album, I feel is the best way to hear it and to listen to it."
MAVI performs at 2:50 p.m. Saturday at the Bacardi stage.
Rap’s most infamous kingpin has been working the festival circuit hard in 2023: Pusha T has performed at Coachella, Governors Ball and Primavera Sound. The Daytona rapper will bring his bold antics (like transforming the stage into own personal drug den) to Lollapalooza with a solid catalog featuring some of hip-hop’s most memorable hits.
Pusha started out his career as one half of the popular duo Clipse, alongside his brother Malice. The GRAMMY-nominated pair released a slew of impressive albums, including 2002’s Lord Willin’ and 2006’s Hell Hath No Fury. Once they disbanded in 2010, Push signed to Kanye West’s GOOD Music record label. In 2013, the emcee released his debut album My Name is My Name which featured the popular single "Numbers on the Boards." Over the last decade, Pusha T has collaborated with artists like Jay-Z, Pharrell, Kehlani, Rick Ross and Kid Cudi. On 2022's It's Almost Dry, fans were treated to a Clipse reunion as Malice appeared on the album’s final track entitled "I Pray For You."
Pusha T performs at 8:45 p.m. Saturday at the Perry’s stage.
Tomorrow X Together
This K-Pop group formed in 2019 and is the second boy band to debut under Big Hit Music, a subsidiary of HYBE corporation (Big Hit is also home to BTS). Earlier this year, Tomorrow X Together embarked on a 16-city worldwide tour, and will be playing Lollapalooza for the second year in a row. The newest EP, The Name Chapter: Temptation, was released earlier this year.
They have recorded three studio albums total and during their debut became the fastest K-pop group to reach number one on the Billboard World Albums and World Digital Song Sales charts with their hit single "Crown" and EP The Dream Chapter: Star.
Last year, Tomorrow X Together made history by becoming the first K-pop act to perform at Lollapalooza, making the headlining slot they hold this year that much sweeter. In July, they teamed up with the Jonas Brothers for the light-hearted and cheerful "Do It Like That," which was produced by Ryan Tedder.
Together X Tomorrow perform at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Bud Light stage.
This Chicago trio specializes in moody, midtempo songs with an alt-rock feel. Dehd’s most recent album, Blue Skies, is a sonic testimony to the group’s effortless chemistry as evidenced by their creative approach. The pulsating dexterity of "Bop" feels like the equivalent of catching lightning in a bottle, while "Empty in My Mind" is alluring for its crisp vocals and surprising simplicity.
However, that straightforwardness also contains depth. On "Waterfall," they speak on the country’s current cultural landscape by saying: "I don’t care about American ways/It doesn’t change/I’m dreaming of the one who understands." In an interview with Under The Radar, singer/guitarist Jason Balla explained the song was written "in the context of all this social unrest. I think America stands for a lot of things, and it can feel so discouraging…but it’s also a reminder that you have to keep working towards undermining that loop."
Dehd perform at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the T-Mobile stage.
Photo: Pamela Littky
Inside Jonas Brothers' 'The Album': How Leaning Into Joy, Fatherhood & Dad Rock Spawned Their Most Definitive Music Yet
On their sixth album, the Jonas Brothers celebrate the music, people, places and sounds that helped them reach their full potential — and create the music they've always been destined to make.
Of all the album names in all the world, the Jonas Brothers decided that they would go as straightforward as possible for their sixth LP: The Album.
But for such a simple title, it holds a lot of meaning to Joe, Kevin and Nick. Not only are they feeling better than ever as a group and as individuals, but they collectively view it as their best body of work to date.
"We just said, 'Look, if you're going to pick up any of our music, we hope you pick up this one first,'" Joe explains. "It also makes it really easy for marketing in the future — The Tour, The Album, The Shirt, The Hat," he adds as all three brothers share a laugh.
While The Album is a departure from their more contemporary-leaning comeback album, 2019's Happiness Begins, it doesn't lack the feel-good energy present throughout their catalog. It shows another side of their musicality, one that brings in long-held influences like the Eagles, the Bee Gees, the Police, America, Sly and the Family Stone, Hall & Oates, among many others.
It's a rather full-circle moment for the siblings as well. As they lean into the music their dad played growing up, they're all dads themselves (ironically, to all girls). As the bros point out, it's also the first time they've all been in the same place in a long time — and that's exactly what makes The Album so special.
Whether it's the seamless harmonies on lead single "Wings," the passionate (and sexy) tributes to their partners on "Miracle," or the pure joy on "Celebrate!," all 12 tracks on The Album are a manifestation of the synergy and bliss the Jonas Brothers are reveling in. And though longtime JoBro fans will always hold classics like "Year 3000" and "Burnin' Up" dear, their latest project captures the Jonas Brothers in their most authentic and realized form.
Below, the Jonas Brothers break down some of the biggest inspirations for The Album — from finding the perfect producer, to their tight-knit community and an overwhelming feeling of gratefulness.
Producer Jon Bellion
Joe: We've had a few people tell us how it would be nice for us all to get together and work on some music. One of the guys from Monsters & Strangerz, Stef, works with Bellion a lot, and he said, "You guys should definitely hang out."
Originally, our first meeting was just going to be, like, a proper get-together and not just get in the studio, which was a first — we usually just jump in right in the deep end. We all were coming from separate places, so we were like, "We're really just gonna go meet somebody right now?"
But we're glad we did, because we spoke with Jon about where he felt like the music could go, and he was saying exactly what we were hoping for. He played us "Montana Sky," in a very demo phase, and we flipped out. We were like, "can we record this right now?" And he was like, "Well I'm actually flying on a plane tonight." And we were like, "Please stay."
Kevin: He changed his flight and we ended up recording the vocals you hear [on the track] today. And that was the first song on the album.
Nick: It was an incredible start. I think the key was connecting the dots with him, and then us bringing our thoughts, perspective and sound to it. That just happens naturally when we put our voices on something, it sort of molds into something new. So it wasn't 100 percent there, but it got there. That was the case with the whole album — once we got into the process of actually recording the rest of it, working on lyrics and everything else, we added our touch throughout.
Nick: We were raised on the Eagles and the Bee Gees, and a lot of great music from the '70s and early '80s.
Joe: We would drive around in the minivan — you know, the kids of today might be listening to Kids Bop or Baby Shark, and we were listening to Carole King's Tapestry, and the Bee Gees, and the Beatles. And we were thinking every other kid on the playground was listening to the same thing. That's how we discovered harmonies, how we discovered some of the tones and guitars and the way, rhythmically, a guitar would be played when it was going from funk music to classic rock and roll.
Nick: We were already kind of trending in that direction, where we really liked that sound as our next kind of evolution. We had a lot of fun making Happiness Begins, but that certainly [had] more sort of modern influences at the core.
Joe: What we really were striving for with this album was to create something that sonically was competitive and sounded kind of like you could hear it anywhere, and also gives nods to some of our biggest influences in our career and the music our dad raised us on.
Kevin: It's not like we were making a tribute album. This is definitely us really wanting to put our stamp on the sound, and this organic growth of who we are as a band and we can continue to translate that in playing it live.
Nick: [There was] definitely some influence of our church upbringing [too]. The choir [elements] on this [album came from] kind of that soul influence — Doobie Brothers, Marvin Gaye, places where you get the sense that there's a lot of vocalists in the environment, creating a proper vibe. On songs like "Vacation Eyes," that was key.
"Walls" is definitely a combination of like, Oasis meets gospel. I just loved the blending of the sounds and how they all work together very well. Jon comes from a similar background musically, and [brought] some of that to the table as well.
Harmony (In Many Forms)
Nick: [Three-part harmonies] was one of the main things that we wanted to spotlight and worked hard with Bellion on. Because we sing in harmony a lot, it can lean country at times. We are not country artists by any means, but we have that Americana sort of feeling there and those roots. I think it's more of the Americana/soul and classic kind of rock and roll elements that all sort of make up what that sound becomes.
Kevin: I definitely feel like we're in the most similar place we've ever been in our lives, as brothers, as fathers, and as friends. It's interesting that there is that parallel [of so many harmonies on the album], maybe intentionally or unintentionally. We just wanted to spotlight the things that were important to who we are and the kind of music we wanted to make.
Joe: It was a late night, I think I was in the UK at the time. Jon texted us this lengthy message about wanting some inspiration for a song title. [He asked,] "What's a place that comes to mind that really kinda sums up you guys as brothers?" And we're like, "Well, that's a big ask."
I just wrote "Waffle House." And then Jon just wrote question marks. I second guessed myself, and then I was like, "You know what, actually, yes, I did mean that. And here's why."
Growing up, the short version goes, we weren't old enough to go out with our bandmates and get a pint after a show. So we'd go to the only place open in the middle of America, usually it was Waffle House or TGI Fridays — you know, there's many of them you can name, but Waffle House was the one that sounded catchiest in my head. So we ended up going with it and it worked itself out. And I like writing songs about food.
Kevin: It's worked out for you so far.
Nick: It was less about the specific moments [at those places], and more about that chapter of our life and journey, and what we were all going through.
A lot of people ask, "How have you guys stayed so normal amidst the craziness of your life?" And I think it's because we had a built-in community — with each other, obviously, and our family, but also with our band and management team. And wherever those deep conversations, or fights, or things that led to positive outcomes and personal growth [happened], that was definitely an invaluable time in our life and journey.
Joe: I'm still waiting for that Waffle House For Life card.
Nick: We all spoke to [Jon] separately about what it was like to become fathers and what it's like to be a father. He took that and came back with the bones of a song, and then we all kind of added our own touch to it vocally and in other ways.
It's one of those things that we're so in it, that at times we have to sort of just pour our heart into to it in a different way than just sitting down and putting pen to paper — actually sit with a trusted collaborator, who's on a similar life journey with two kids of his own, and speak about what that experience is like. That directly influenced how ["Little Bird"] was created.
That was a really freeing and liberating thing for this project, to approach this process in a different way. It's still as personal as it's always been, and as meaningful for us, but the actual functionality of the process has evolved for us. It's been incredible to take that step.
Speaking about fatherhood of course made us all cry, and we continue to every time we sing it live now.
Joe: It's a tough one to sing live, vocally and also emotionally, but we don't intend to take it off [the setlist].
Kevin: I'm really excited for that first guitar moment. People will get accustomed to that sound, and so they'll know [it's coming] when we play it on tour. I'm excited for those two moments to connect.
Nick: [Being fathers] affects every aspect of our life and the way in which we operate as a whole. So it's definitely in [The Album]. But it's more just the depth we feel, and depth of the relationships in our life — our kids, our wives, family — everything takes on a deeper, and more complex meaning. Most of the songs are either about family, and brotherhood, or, obviously, our romantic relationships.
Simply Having Fun
Nick: We always try to have as much fun as possible. We were forced, in a way, to approach this process very differently than we ever have, because we were all recording in different parts of the country, living in different countries, and occasionally meeting up in person. There was an energy to it because of the nature in which it was recorded that forced us to take our time, to have as much fun in the process as possible, and also to be really intentional with the time that we had.
I think it's incredible to be almost 20 years into our career and continuing to have these new experiences — and that's not limited to the way in which we go about making an album. It was a new and exciting experience for us all over again, and how rare is that? That any sort of chapter of our life and journey, these albums represent more than just a body of work that we're really excited about and want the world to hear, but really kind of encapsulate who we are at that moment in our life.
We've seen our fans grow with us, and sort of mirrored the experiences that we're going through. It's great that the music represents that. Hopefully they connect with it in a whole new way because of that.
Joe: We're still young guys doing this, and we have many, many years ahead of us. And we're in the best place in our lives, so why not continue to release music?
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15 Must-Hear Albums Out In May: Jonas Brothers, Summer Walker, Paul Simon & More
From Sparks' offbeat 'The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte' to the heartfelt storytelling on Lewis Capaldi's 'Broken by Desire to Be Heavenly Sent,' and growth set to R&B from Lola Young and Arlo Parks, check out 15 albums dropping this May.
Spring is in full bloom, and with it comes a slew of inspiring records and unmissable tours. May brings upon us the return of giants and some promising newcomers, and whether you like the country music of Parker McCollum or the Mexican pop of AQUIHAYAQUIHAY, this month's releases offer something to please every taste.
This month, the Jonas Brothers finally make their awaited return with The Album, while Ed Sheeran completes his math symbols series with Subtract. Paul Simon will turn dreams into reality with Seven Psalms, and Tuareg collective Tinariwen will continue their desert blues exploration on Amatssou. Early aughts pop-punk outfit the Exploding Hearts will get a remastered, expanded reissue, and dance music maven LP Giobbi will make her studio album debut with Light Places.
Below is a guide with 15 must-hear albums dropping May 2023. Read on for known names that might reignite your passion, and budding acts who will make your curiosity flourish.
Ed Sheeran - Subtract
Release date: May 5
Completing Ed Sheeran’s series of albums titled after mathematical symbols, Subtract (stylized as -), will feature 14 cuts that deal with the singer’s "fear, depression, and anxiety" throughout the hardships that shaped his past year, according to an Instagram post.
Sheeran added that his wife’s tumor diagnosis while pregnant, the death of his best friend Jamal Edwards, and a 2022 plagiarism trial "changed my life, my mental health, and ultimately the way I viewed music and art," prompting him to scrap "a decade’s worth of work with my deepest, darkest thoughts."
Produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner, Subtract is billed as an acoustic album, ranging from "pared back, folk-leaning textures to bolder, full-band/orchestral arrangements," which can be seen through pre-release "Boat" and lead single "Eyes Closed."
Jonas Brothers - The Album
Release date: May 12
The Jonas Brothers’ sixth studio album has been teased since 2020, but after several delays (including the COVID-19 pandemic), the The Album will be unleashed into the world. The trio told Variety that the follow-up to 2019’s Happiness Begins "features elements of classic ’70s pop and Americana with a modern edge," and was inspired by another sibling trio — the Bee Gees — as well as rock bands the Doobie Brothers and America.
Produced by Jon Bellion (who is also the album’s only featured artist), most of its tracks were performed at the Jonas Brothers’ fifth and final Broadway show on March 18, 2023. However, expectations remain high as the album release will be accompanied by a yet-to-be-announced tour.
Kaytraminé - Kaytraminé
Release date: May 12
Fusing the talents of top-rated producer/DJ Kaytranada and rapper Aminé might have been one of the most ambitious efforts of 2023.
Although they have been frequent collaborators since 2013, including Kaytranada producing three songs out of Aminé's 2015 mixtape Calling Brio, this is the first time they unite forces for a whole record as Kaytraminé.
Parker McCollum - Never Enough
Release date: May 12
2021’s Gold Chain Cowboy set Parker McCollum on the path to becoming a country music star. The major label debut followed two self-released albums — 2015’s The Limestone Kid and 2017’s Probably Wrong, and ended up winning New Male Artist of the Year at the American Country Music Awards — as well as a double-platinum single, "Pretty Heart," and a gold-certified single, "To Be Loved by You."
McCollum continues to look forward with Never Enough. Among its 15 tracks, there is the first time he ever said "beer" in a song, as well as singles "Handle on You," "Stoned," "I Ain’t Going Nowhere," and "Speed." The singer is also extending his tour through the summer, with the participation of fellow country artists like Larry Fleet, Randy Rogers Band, and Flatland Cavalry on some dates.
LP Giobbi - Light Places
Release date: May 12
Boundary-bender musician, producer and entrepreneur LP Giobbi believes in "letting yourself get lost and finding out it’s exactly where you were supposed to be."
The statement, and title of her debut studio album Light Places, follows lyrics from the Grateful Dead’s "Scarlet Begonias": "Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places / if you look at it right." Giobbi, who is also a confessed Deadhead, said that the lyrics are one of her father’s favorites, "and almost a philosophy for the way he lives and taught my brother and me to live."
Produced almost entirely during flights while she toured the world with her "one-woman jam band" DJ sets, Light Places expands Giobbi’s classical jazz training into buoyant dance rhythms, and features collaborations with DJ Tennis, SOFI TUKKER, Caroline Byrne, and more. As a preview, she recently released singles "Can’t Let You Go (feat. Little Jet)" and "All I Need."
AQUIHAYAQUIHAY - NO ME BUSQUES DONDE MISMO
Release date: May 12
The forerunners of M-pop (Mexican pop) and a self-professed "anti-boyband," AQUIHAYAQUIHAY are known for blending traditional Latin genres with R&B and hip-hop. The 20-something quintet are set to release a new album, NO ME BUSQUES DONDE MISMO.
Formed in 2016, AQUIHAYAQUIHAY released their debut album, DROPOUT in 2019 and signed with DJ/producer Steve Aoki’s Latin underground label, Dim Mak en Fuego. The group dropped two EPs in 2021, titled :) and :(.
Summer Walker - Clear 2: Soft Life
Release date: May 19
"Y’all ready for some new music?" Summer Walker asked the crowd during her set at April’s Dreamville Festival. The question was preceded by the announcement of her upcoming EP, Clear 2: Soft Life.
Clear 2 is a sequel to Walker’s first EP, 2019’s Clear, which was released just nine months before her breakout debut studio album, Over It. Debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart, the LP earned the biggest streaming week ever for an R&B album by a woman, and set the singer as a force to watch. Her 202 sophomore album, Still Over It, surpassed its predecessor and debuted at No. 1 on the same chart.
"This one — I want it to be a lot longer so I can really get that sound out," Walker recently told Billboard about her upcoming EP. "I make what I got to make for the radio, but I’m very excited for [Clear 2]. Hopefully, my budget will be permitted."
Lewis Capaldi - Broken By Desire To Be Heavenly Sent
Release date: May 19
"If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it" seems to be a saying that Lewis Capaldi currently lives by. The Scottish sensation said in a press release that he doesn’t want to "create a new sound for myself, or reinvent myself," and therefore his much-awaited second studio album, Broken by Desire to Be Heavenly Sent, will follow his usual emotionally-driven delivery.
The album was recorded with a minimal set-up, consisting of only a "small interface, laptop, speakers, and a Shure SM7B vocal mic," as well as the same team who worked on his first album, 2019’s best-seller Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent: TMS, Phil Plested, Nick Atkinson and Edd Holloway.
Preceded by singles "How I'm Feeling Now," "Forget Me," "Pointless," and "Wish You the Best" — of which the last three topped the UK Singles Chart — it looks like Capaldi’s right to bet on his tried and true formula, with enough skills to spark curiosity from the audience, over and over again.
Paul Simon - Seven Psalms
Release date: May 19
Seven Psalms is Paul Simon’s fifteenth album, and his first of new material since 2016’s Stranger to Stranger. According to the six-decade-spanning singer, the project came to him in a dream and was inspired by the Book of Psalms.
Including seven acoustic tracks that are meant to be listened to as one uninterrupted piece, the album also features British vocal group VOCES8 and a participation by Simon’s wife, singer/songwriter Edie Brickell.
Seven Psalms is said to be a departure from any of his previous work, which encompasses the illustrious Simon & Garfunkel albums Bridge Over Troubled Water, Sounds of Silence, and more. An accompanying documentary, In Restless Dreams, is also set for release.
Juanes - Vida Cotidiana
Release date: May 19
While Juanes found immense success in 2021 with his cover album Origen, winning Best Pop/Rock Album at the Latin Grammy Awards and Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album at the GRAMMY Awards, his latest original work dates back to 2019, with the LP Más futuro que pasado.
Considering the events the world went through, 2019 feels more like a century ago. Therefore, Vida Cotidiana (or "daily life," in Spanish) arrives as a testament to the Colombian star’s reflections and changes during this turbulent time.
The 11-track collection also marks Juanes’ return to rock and Latin American folk foundations, while examining "love, marriage, family, and his country," according to a press release. So far, he released three lovelorn advance singles off the album: "Amores Prohibidos," "Gris" and "Ojalá."
Tinariwen - Amatssou
Release date: May 19
Amatssou means "beyond the fear" in Tamashek, the native language of the Tuareg collective Tinariwen — which, in turn, means "deserts." Known for their sociopolitical resistance and commitment to portraying the struggles of Mali, Amatssou stands as a fitting title for the band's ninth studio album.
Recorded inside a makeshift studio tent in Algeria, the record was produced in L.A. by GRAMMY winner Daniel Lanois) and features country musicians Wes Corbett and Fats Kaplin, furthering the collective’s link to the musical style. In a press release, Tinariwen are said to "have always been a country band, albeit a North African take on that most North American of genres."
Tinariwen will embark on a U.S. and Europe tour starting on May 27 in Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music. They will also perform at festivals including Glastonbury and Roskilde.
Arlo Parks - My Soft Machine
Release date: May 26
Contrasting with her delicate voice, British singer/songwriter Arlo Parks said in a statement that her sophomore album, My Soft Machine, is all about "the mid-20s anxiety, the substance abuse of friends around me, the viscera of being in love for the first time, navigating PTSD and grief and self-sabotage and joy." In summary, it’s a record about "what it’s like to be trapped in this particular body."
With an exceptional talent to transcribe raw emotions into contemplative, spacious music, Parks has given a taste of what to expect from this release through the singles "Blades," "Impurities," and "Weightless." She will also celebrate this moment by touring Europe and Asia in the following months, including performances at Spain and Portugal editions of Primavera Sound Festival
Lola Young - My Mind Wanders and Sometimes Leaves Completely
Release date: May 26
"And I like to think that I'm growing up and that I'm learnin'/But I've no idea what's underneath," reflects the south Londoner Lola Young on "Stream of Consciousness," the lead single for her upcoming album, My Mind Wanders and Sometimes Leaves Completely.
Following up on her 2021 EP After Midnight, the release is said to reflect Young’s "journey towards being a woman and figuring out who I am." Through her poignant lyrics, the 21-year-old gives a glimpse into the joys and pains of love in the 2020s. "I swear it don't hurt / You're looking at her / I'm looking at you," she muses in "Annabel’s House (From The Train)."
Nominated for the Rising Star Award at the 2022 BRIT Awards, she also revealed in an interview for NME that the album will be "slightly different" from her previous work, featuring more retro, alt-rock, and indie influences with a "raw edge."
The Exploding Hearts - Guitar Romantic (Expanded & Remastered)
Release date: May 26
The short-lived but still impactful Exploding Hearts will get a brand new chance of reaching more fans this spring. Their 2003 album of power-pop classics, Guitar Romantic, is being reissued to celebrate its 20th anniversary.
Soon after the album release in 2003, three members of the band tragically passed away in a van accident while returning home from a gig in San Francisco. Surviving members King Louie Bankston (who passed away last year) and bassist Terry Six maintained their legacy through the duo Terry & Louie. Now, Six partnered with the band’s original producer, Pat Kearns, for the album reissue, and plans to play tribute shows in the upcoming months.
Guitar Romantic (Expanded & Remastered) will feature unreleased material, like conversations from the members, a King Louie Mix of "I’m A Pretender," and an unheard version of "So Bored."
Sparks - The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte
Release date: May 26
"So many people are crying in their latte" is the kind of musing about the contemporary world that only outlandish duo Sparks could have transformed into an engaging, nifty track. The lyrics come right off "The Girl is Crying In Her Latte," a preview single from their upcoming studio album of the same name.
Starring Cate Blanchett and her dandy dance moves in the music video, the track is proof that Sparks still have their finger on the pulse of culture, even after five decades of activity. "Veronica Lake," the second single off the project, keeps that same vein, bringing a modern spin to the narrative of actress Veronica Lake changing her hairstyle in order to protect factory workers during World War II.
The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte arrives after 2020’s A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip, and will be their first release under Island Records in 47 years. The pop rock pair is also scheduled to tour multiple cities in the U.S., Europe, and Japan in the summer.