This Week In Records (07/07/2019) – Ed Sheeran, Sam Fender & Jaden

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After a slower week, this Friday we were hit with a few more exciting releases, from Ed Sheeran (and his collaborators), Sam Fender and a brand new album from Jaden Smith.  Apart from that, we got another pop gem from ROSALÍA and a new single from Snow Patrol.  Buckle up, because I have a lot of thoughts…

Jaden – ERYS

Jaden Smith, twitter-philosopher-turned-rapper aimed high with this 17-track concept album, but it’s obvious that a lot of work was put into this record and he undoubtedly pulled off the ambitious ERYS.  With a wide range of influences and a whole list of collaborators including A$AP Rocky and Tyler, The CreatorERYS is a totally unique album.

ERYS tells the story of the eponymous protagonist becoming the leader of a semi-dystopian Los Angeles through the power of drug-induced mind control by giving out a new substance, Pink, to secure his power.  The visual aspect of the record is equally significant to the music, with all of the videos sharing the same pink sunset theme.

But in many ways, this is not your standard rap album, and Jaden doesn’t discriminate when it comes genres that have influenced his musical style.  After touring with Fall Out Boy, he gained an appreciation for alternative rock which makes several appearances on ERYS, most notably on ‘Fire Dept’, which is a straight-up punk rock track.  Despite these songs that stand out, the album as a whole still maintains its music and vocal coherence, which is highly impressive.  All in all, through ERYS, Jaden has managed to create a strong album, which is equal parts chill and thought-provoking.

Jaden’s ERYS is out now via MSFTSMusic / Roc Nation Records.

Lighthouse Family – Blue Sky In Your Head

Elsewhere in this weeks album releases, pop/soul group Lighthouse Family have released their first album in 16 years with Blue Sky In Your Head.  They’re back with the kind of nostalgic and melancholic tracks that helped them rise to fame in the ’90s.  They seem to have maintained this style despite their lengthy hiatus, which is admirable for any group making their comeback in an ever-changing music scene.

However, it’s unlikely that these vibes will have the same impact or popularity in 2019, perhaps only appealing to original fans rather than expanding their audience.  Blue Sky In Your Head is an easy listen – the music is smooth and the lyrics easily-accessible, but it doesn’t have a particularly profound effect on the listener.

Lighthouse Family’s Blue Sky In Your Head is out now via Polydor Records.

Ed Sheeran feat. YEBBA – ‘Best Part Of Me’

It finally happened.  My one wish in this life – someone gave Ed Sheeran his acoustic guitar back and he actually sounds like himself again.  This time collaborating with YEBBA, fresh from her collaboration on Mark Ronson’s Late Night Feelings. ‘Best Part of Me’ is the soft, romantic pop song that defined Ed Sheeran and served him so well at the beginning of his career, and I’m personally glad that he’s decided to return to his roots as a part of his upcoming project.

Hopefully we’ll see more tracks like this one on the collaborations album, despite the fact that most of what we’ve heard so far has been rather disappointing.  ‘Best Part of Me’ is charming, happy and much more profound than what we’ve seen so far.  My hopes are high…

Ed Sheeran’s ‘Best Part Of Me’ feat, YEBBA is out now via Atlantic Records UK.

Ed Sheeran feat. Chris Stapleton & Bruno Mars – ‘BLOW’

…and suddenly, the dream is dead, as Ed Sheeran, alongside Chris Stapleton and Bruno Mars, decide to take on classic rock!  I’m not going to lie, when I heard the heavy guitar intro come crashing into ‘BLOW’, I was intrigued, it had potential.  And then the vocals started.  I had been previously warned that this was a weird track after my initial excitement about ‘Best Part of Me’.

I admire Sheeran experimenting with some different genres, but he just isn’t a rock vocalist.  With this setback, ‘BLOW’ is disjointed – the music is stronger than the vocals, and each singer sounds way too different to make it sounds coherent.  It’s a confusing mix of pop and country vocals stuck over a rock backing track.  ‘BLOW’ tries to hard to capture the chaos of classic rock but comes off as a poor remake.

Ed Sheeran’s ‘BLOW’ featuring Chris Stapleton and Bruno Mars is out now via Altantic Records UK.

Sam Fender – ‘Will We Talk?’

On a more positive note, Sam Fender has released a lovely rock tune ahead of his upcoming album Hypersonic Missiles, due to be released this September.  Even at just under 3 minutes, ‘Will We Talk?’ combines a heavy drum line and loud guitars with Fender’s more pop-oriented vocals to make a really accessible alternative track that earns him his mainstream success.  This single represents what makes Sam Fender stand out among other up-and-coming artists in the music industry right now – he’s original in his music and lyrics, following his own style instead of the crowd, and for this reason, ‘Will We Talk?’ has the potential to become an instant classic.

Sam Fender’s ‘Will We Talk?’ is out now via Polydor Records.

ROSALÍA – ‘Milionària’

Next up, some exciting Latin dance-pop from Spain’s ROSALÍA.  A great summery party song sang almost entirely in her native Catalan, it really puts the ‘nuevo’ in ‘nuevo flamenco’.  ‘Milionària’ has the fast beat typical of classical flamenco with a newer twist – her vocals are strong and show ROSALÍA to be a powerful artist.  The lyrics bring her inspirations to the 21st century and set it up to be a club classic.  It also goes to show how our own charts in the UK have evolved – first with the increase of Spanish language songs making an appearance and now with a track in Catalan – as a sociolinguistics student, I’m honestly thriving.

ROSALÍA’s ‘Milionària’ is out now via Columbia Records.

Snow Patrol – ‘Time Won’t Go Slowly’

Straight from Northern Ireland (much like this article), Snow Patrol are back with their first release of 2019 with ‘Time Won’t Go Slowly’, a laid-back love song that puts chilled-out vocals at the centre of attention.  It’s a nice track, but it isn’t especially memorable in comparison with both this week’s releases and the bands back catalogue.  It isn’t a bad track, but it doesn’t really grab my attention.

Snow Patrol’s ‘Time Won’t Go Slowly’ is available now via Polydor Records.

Selected Other Releases

SINGLES

Belle & Sebastian – ‘Sister Buddha’
Blithe – ‘Masochistic’
Fangclub – ‘Vulture Culture’
Jason Derulo feat. Farruko – ‘Mamacita’
Mahalia feat. Burna Boy – ‘Simmer’
Post Malone feat. Young Thug – ‘Goodbyes’
Skunk Anansie – ‘What You Do For Love’
Westlife – ‘Dynamite’

Albums

KOKOKO! – Fongola
Marshmello – Joytime III

This Week In Records: Playlist Edition

Want to listen to all of this musical goodness? Follow our shiny Spotify playlist for The Edge‘s picks of what new music deserves to be on your radar each and every week.

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First year French and Spanish student. Always going through some kind of music-based phase

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