Some pretty big things in the music world happened this week. First, we have some fantastic bands returning to the spotlight. Florence and The Machine, the Chromatics, Passion Pit, and Hot Chip all announced albums due out in the spring, and shared lead singles from said albums. Second, we have hip-hop giants Kendrick Lamar and Drake releasing some standout material. Here’s week’s list of songs.</p>
1. "What Kind of Man” – Florence and The Machine
Recently, Florence Welch reflected upon her 2011 album, Ceremonials, saying “Ceremonials was so fixated on death and water, and the idea of escape or transcendence through death, but the new album became about trying to learn how to live, and how to love in the world rather than trying to escape from it.” This goal is definitely seen off the lead single for her new album, How Big How Blue How Beautiful, to be released on June 2. The song starts off slow, with Welch describing how she got entangled with her lover, and explodes into somewhat of a rock song that talks about the turmoils of the relationship.
2. “Lifted Up (1985)” – Passion Pit
Passion Pit has been teasing new music for a while now, releasing demos, uploading videos and sharing Facebook photos frequently. Last week, they even collaborated with Madeon on an EDM single called “Pay No Mind”. Now, they have finally made an announcement about their album, Kindred, which will be out on April 21. The song stays in the same lane as their past albums, with Michael Angelakos singing in his falsetto voice over a synthpop music arrangement.
3. T”he Blacker the Berry” – Kendrick Lamar
Fresh off of some Grammy wins for the single “I,” Kendrick Lamar has released this incredible single, which is a rather honest think piece in response to the extremely prevalent issues regarding race. In the verses of these songs is Lamar, addressing the oppression he faces very candidly, with frustration and passion.
However, the lyrics at the beginning and ending kind of anchor this song, and offer a different perspective. It’s powerful and reflective, and shows Lamar struggling to understand and justify his feelings based off of his past. The song is a journey to listen to through and through, hence why I didn’t include any lyrics, but it’s definitely worth checking out.
4. “No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross” – Sufjan Stevens
On March 31, Sufjan Stevens will release his 7th studio album, Carrie & Lowell. It’s a return to his more folk style material, as the album is named after his stepfather and deceased mother, and tells an extremely personal take about his odd relationship with his mother. The song, “No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross,” is essentially just Stevens singing over a guitar, but the deeply personal lyrics make the single stand out over any other folk song. “I’ll drive that stake through the center of my heart / Lonely vampire / Inhaling its fire / I’m chasing the dragon too far,” is just one example of the extremely raw lyrical content.