This Week In Records (01/12/2017): Ed Sheeran, U2, & N.E.R.D

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It’s December. You’re officially allowed to whip out the Christmas playlist and buy that Baileys which has been staring at you in Sainsbury’s for the past two months. You can wear your ugly Christmas jumper with pride to lectures, and eat as much food as you like with the excuse of “It’s Christmas!”. Alongside the start of the most wonderful time of the year (try not to sing that as you read it), we’ve also been gifted with another set of releases to make up This Week In Records. With a big duet from Ed Sheeran and Beyonce and another album from rock legends U2, it’s a lot for us to get stuck into so without further ado, let’s get into it.

U2 – Songs Of Experience

Will U2 ever stop producing quality music? Well, if Songs Of Experience is anything to go by, not any time soon. Led by trailblazing single ‘Get Out Of Your Own Way‘, the prodigious rock quartet push their way past that iTunes fiasco from their last album with an eclectic mix of pop, rock, and even a little bit of biblical preaching from Kendrick Lamar in probably the strangest collaboration since, well, U2 and Kendrick LamarSongs Of Experience really sees the band coming to terms with a world closer to the brink than it ever has been before, with opening track ‘Love Is All We Have Left’ seeing frontman Bono at his most fragile and emotive, but there’s still time for love and hope (‘Lights Of Home’, ‘Ordinary Love’) as the band take on all the darkness they see in the world head-on. That’s not to say Songs Of Experience is all preaching and piousness – ‘You’re The Best Thing’ and ‘The Showman (Little More Better)’ are sheer classic-rock-meets-pop-production delights, full of irresistible riffs that you can’t help but dance to delivered confidently by a band who refuse to simply fade away. No, U2 are far more confident leading the charge against a troubled world with their delicious mix of wavey pop preaching (‘Lights Of Home’) and harder rock bangers (‘American Soul’) and to be honest, there’s no better early Christmas present than this.

N.E.R.D ft. Future – ‘1000’

After we saw Rihanna feature on N.E.R.D‘s comeback track ‘Lemon‘ a few weeks ago, it’s now time to see the trio collab with another of the biggest artists in America right now, Future. The latest cut from their acrostic titled upcoming album No One Ever Really Dies, leans more towards the uptempo stylings of previous N.E.R.D releases, with fast-paced verses over a frantic beat. If you’re particularly enjoying the trio’s return, you won’t have to wait long for the album – out on December 15th, it also features Ed Sheeran, M.I.A and a double helping of Kendrick Lamar. With their first new tracks since 2010’s Nothing, it’s certainly nice to have new material from this groovy band.

Ed Sheeran and Beyonce – ‘Perfect Duet’

This one is just so, so pure. ‘Perfect’ was already the definitive couples’ song of 2017, so it’s fitting that, as we approach Christmas (and its focus on family and togetherness), Ed Sheeran would re-release it to give those evenings spent by the fireplace the perfect soundtrack. What we didn’t expect was that he would pair up with Queen Bey herself to produce one of the most beautiful duets I think I’ve ever heard. Their vocals are just so raw, and the lyrics so emotive (“When I saw you in that dress, looking so beautiful / I don’t deserve this, darling, you look perfect tonight”), that you can’t help falling in love with this one. At the very least, it’ll have you dreaming of those cold winter days spent curled up on the couch with your loved ones, and isn’t that what we want at this time of year?

MOIR – ‘The Truth Is’

Electro-soul newcomer MOIR causes a splash with her debut single ‘The Truth Is’. Taking inspiration from the likes of Sampha and Jessie Ware, it’s the singer’s ethereal vocals which really sets her apart, creating a track which unfolds and often surprises alongside electronic undertones. Autobiographical in tone, it explores mental health and personal trauma, something which continues in her debut EP, set for release in February. ‘The Truth Is’ is just the beginning for MOIR, and she’s starting with a bang.

Wolf Alice – ‘Santa Baby’

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past six months, you probably get the hint that here at The Edge we’re pretty massive fans of delightfully dreamy indie-rock quartet Wolf Alice. So when we heard they were releasing a cover of Christmas classic ‘Santa Baby’ just as we were getting ready to don our Christmas jumpers and bring out the Baileys, well, we were pretty darn excited. Their version certainly lives up to that expectation and, although perhaps more chilled out than the rather more seductive original recording, just goes to prove that there’s really no kind of song they can’t try without it turning out a masterpiece (if their stellar second album hadn’t already). This one definitely has us dreaming of the turkey and yule log as we head towards the holiday season, and as such is well worth adding to your Christmas playlists.

Selected Other Releases

Albums

A2 – Blue
Blackbear – cybersex
Chief Keef – Dedication
Joe Hertz – Night/Daze
Miguel – War & Leisure
Mina Rose – Issue 25 EP
The Rolling Stones – On Air
Van Morrison – Versatile

Singles

Bruno Major – ‘I Think It Must Be Christmas’
DJDS ft. Empress Of – ‘Love’
G-Eazy ft. Halsey – ‘Him & I’
Jax Jones ft. Ina Wroldsen – ‘Breathe’
Jessie Reyez – ‘Cotton Candy’
Kiesza – ‘Hello Shadow’
Lxury – ‘Acid Rain’
Martin Garrix & David Guetta ft. Jamie Scott & Romy Dya – ‘So Far Away’
Ms Banks – ‘Bangs’
PRETTYMUCH ft. French Montana – ‘No More’
The Go! Team – ‘Mayday’
The Fratellis – ‘Stand up Tragedy’
WESLEE – ‘Boy Like You’
Will Heard – ‘Fallin’ 4 U’

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About Author

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Records Editor at The Edge. Also a third year English and History student who has an unhealthy obsession with Foals.

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I play/watch/listen to things, then write about playing/watching/listening to things. Special powers include downing two litres of tea at a time and binging a 13-episode Netflix series in only 12 hours. Deputy Records Editor 2017/18, or something like that.

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