Surprise! Given that I had been on a roll last Thursday with the newest music from February, and the fact that I always want to make this a weekly endeavor, I decided to review the new music from the first releases in March:
Ed Sheeran – Division
I am not one known to dabble in the most popular of music, and I have to quantify this section with a warning: I didn’t really like this very much. That’s not to say you won’t, because it’s apparent that Sheeran has a heavy following the world around, as this past Sunday’s iHeartRadio awards proved. I didn’t even realize that “Shape of You” was Sheeran’s big new single. Goes to show you how on top of popular music I stay, but there it is. He’s obviously a great songwriter, and even if it’s pretty standard, a song like “Castle on the Hill” must have our attention paid. It’s lyrically sumptuous, like when John (Cougar) Mellencamp wove us a tale about that young couple growing up in the heartland. In Sheeran’s version, he’s returning home for a visit with his parents, reminiscing as he passes all his favorite youthful spots on the drive through backwoods country lanes. If nothing else, he’s crafted a beautiful piece or two. It’s a shame the whole album isn’t as solid.
Grandaddy – Last Place
In the time between now and their last album, 2006’s Just Like the Fambly Cat, entire genres were formed and crushed beneath their own weight. Frontman Jason Lytle released two solo albums, contributed to works by Band of Horses and M. Ward and played with bands like Great Northern and Modest Mouse. Certainly this is one of the most anticipated records of the year, as Grandaddy crumbled abruptly with no expectations for a reunion in sight. Fans of their lo-fi alt-country sound longed for more, and here it is! The welcomed return begins with a spiteful annoucement (“Way We Won’t”) that they don’t care what happened in between their time off, and to them, it’s like we’re old friends who feel as if we just spoke yesterday. To some of us, that’s the way we want it. From there, it only gets better. I’ll let you indulge in the much-needed Grandaddy revival.
Coldplay – Hypnotised
We’re never going to get the original Coldplay sound, and that’s okay. It’s been about a decade since the boys from London even reminded us of their debut EP The Blue Room. It’s unfortunate for fans of that unique Radiohead-esque flavor, but they were always on a streamline towards U2. As Cory and Ican attest, their stage show is one of the most grandiose productions, and their songs must play to that arena tone. Apparently after A Head Full of Dreams finished, the group felt there were some tracks strong enough to place on an EP of their own, Kaleidoscope, including this new single. Strangely enough, this was better than any song on the actual album – it’s demure like a B-side from Viva La Vida, with a timbre out of Chris Martin we haven’t heard since X&Y. My point isn’t that the band should sound like they once did, however, and it’s clear that while their best stuff is behind them, there’s still a chance for magic. “Hypnotised” is their best song in years, and it owes a lot to their entire history.
Lorde – Green Light
In the years between Lorde’s breakout hit album Pure Heroine, Lorde has stayed out of the limelight as much as possible. Several similar artists attempted to catapult off of her fame, albeit in that way many artists evolve around the same time – most notably Grimes. While many of them – Charli XCX, Sia, Kimbra – have still found the time to produce great music, many in the industry were hungry for the 2014 Best Song Grammy winner’s follow-up. At first, “Green Light” sounds like she’s merely continuing where she left off, but by the time she sings “I hear brand new sounds in my mind”, the background piano lets us know that she’s attempting something original, a trampoline launch off of her rocketing debut.
We’ll see if this maintains it’s weekly premise, but I see a ton of material on the horizon. If nothing else, hopefully Lorde can tide you over!