Ed Sheeran- Divide
The typical nice-guys-finish-last music that Ed Sheeran puts out usually makes me want to roll my eyes so hard that the sheer g-forces will remove my head from my body and send it spinning into the cold, unfeeling universe. That is to say, he’s a bit of a whiner overall. This poor-me, rich, white, Ron-Weasley-lookin’-motherfucker over here often plays the songs that my 7th grade Creative Writing class would call trite and a little sanctimonious.
Tl;dr- Calm the fuck down, Sheeran.
Which is why, it almost pains me to admit that I find myself constantly listening to his new album “Divide” in my daily life. While Im a long way from joining the -utterly insane- fandom on his tumblr sites, I will always admit when I’ve been wrong about a musician. Even if its only the one time.
Buckle up, buttercup. This is a long one.
What the fuck is wrong with 2017? Seriously. Did someone find my old iPod from the 10th grade and think: You know what? We need all these bands to release some new singles this year just to fuck with this guy. I feel like his nostalgic angst will be the fuel that lights 2017 ablaze.
…anyway here’s “Wonderwall”
Just kidding. This is a new Linkin Park song. Kind of.
I wasn’t aware that it was 1999 and Incubus was, once again, making me want to drive around all night tonelessly singing along with their new song. Get it? Because that song was also called “Drive”?
God, I’m funny.
In all seriousness, Incubus has always been a band known for their ability to transcend genres and for expertly crafted lyrics; this new single is no exception to that rule. The song hits hard with metal guitar riffs and a frenetic energy that is reminiscent of albums like “S.C.I.E.N.C.E”. However, that fact may also be the biggest flaw.
Jens Lekman, a Swedish chanteur nonpareil, has produced what is easily (at least, at this point in late February), my favorite album of the year so far. Blending styles as disparate as calypso, disco, folk, and indie pop, Life Will See You Now is a triumph of a record. Unabashedly, unreservedly, this is a fantastic album. Occasionally, it suffers from an abundance of over-earnest, almost saccharine outpouring of emotion. But it’s forgivable under the circumstances – Lekman manages to make the songs on this album so heartbreaking, so real, and so cutting, that the odd misstep is waved away with few reservations.
Once, in a great long while, an album comes out that speaks to a generation. Every track, a master class in prose and lyrical ingenuity. An album with music so powerful it makes the great masters- Chopin, Mozart, Mercury, Bowie – spin in their graves so hard, the friction causes a tectonic shift that would bring the Titans to their knees.
This is not that album.
With its sweeping orchestral flourishes and heart-on-its-sleeve lyrics, it’s pretty clear that Little Fictions, the seventh studio album from British band Elbow, is a love letter to someone. Nearly every song is infused with some kind of romantic sentiment, be it desperate longing to regret or stupidly giddy happiness at being with someone you adore. In the wrong hands, these songs could be overwrought, even saccharine. But the members of Elbow have twenty years of songcraft under their belt, and they know how to treat these tracks with the quiet tenderness and breathing space they deserve.
Hot off the heels of my time with (The Blood Album) I’ve found myself diving back in to the wild world of early 2000s hardcore and pop-punk; for better or for worse. With that I’ve been doing a sort of “Where Are They Now?!” with my old mix CDs; trying to see if their new songs are more like Fuller House or The Godfather: Part 2.
Though Tourist in This Town is Allison Crutchfield’s first full-length solo effort, she’s an old hand at the scene. Often with her twin sister Katie (best known for her work as the lead singer of Waxahatchee) in tow, the Birmingham, Alabama native has been slogging away dutifully in the DIY scene since her early teens as a member of the Ackleys, P.S. Eliot, Bad Bananas, and Swearin’. With this wealth of experience under her belt, the resulting solo album is a powerful debut. Seamlessly bringing together a number of genres and influences, it’s also a harrowing emotional gutpunch. This is an album whose opening track includes the words, “Our love is here to die.” And over the course of ten tracks and thirty-two minutes, that’s exactly what happens.
Im not the kind of person that usually gets excited when I see a debut single from a songwriter who works with the likes of Justin Bieber or Selena Gomez, but in an attempt to branch out from the more aggressive songs I decided to give this one a listen.
Julia Michaels is a 23 year old song writer who writes for many musicians I wouldnt give the time of day to, so I would be lying if I said I had high expectations. I would be continuing to lie if I didnt say- emphatically and without a hint of irony- that this single is amazing.
Julia (we’re, in no way, on a first name basis) writes from a place that I think a lot of us can identify with in this song. The whole song calls out what its like to be a little weird, a little crazy, and attracted to those who share this weird and crazy world with us. She openly owns the idea that she might be unhinged, and the guy in the story might be jealous or intense, but unlike a lot of pop songs it never feels like she’s glorifying abuse. Just glorifying what its like to be young and in crazy, stupid, ill advised love.
Maybe its me reading too much in to it, but there also seems to be a sense of realization that this might just be dumb and young love towards the end of the last verse. Which is exactly the kind of self-reflection that we so often assume that the younger generation is incapable of (largely because we incapable of self-reflection at her age). Any song that lets the paint peel away slightly is always a joy to me, and something that shows why she has been such a hard working songwriter.
I suppose if you take anything away from this review, let it be not to judge a book by its cover and give the song a listen. If nothing else, the nostalgia hit for those of us over 27 might be worth the ride. It can be found on both Youtube and Spotify.
The Score: 7/10