Look out for new albums, novel next week


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Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival in 2018. Ed Sheeran has a new album releasing next Friday.

By Nick Glover, Editor-in-Chief

It’s hard to believe that next week will be May already. In the deluge of media constantly thrown at us, here are three important releases to look out for next week.

“Maps” – Billy Woods and Kenny Segal

Underground hip-hop fans rejoice: A new Billy Woods album is on the way. “Maps,” a collaboration between Billy Woods and Kenny Segal, is releasing next Friday. If the lead single “FaceTime” is any evidence, “Maps” will combine Woods’ lyrical and intense vocals and Segal’s smooth and jazzy production. “FaceTime” features a melodic saxophone and boomy drums that are written and designed to make speakers shake. As for the rapping, woods’ lyricism is great from the first line. “Ready to die, it’s no Biggie” opens the track by both paying homage to legendary rapper The Notorious B.I.G., also known as Biggie, and showing Woods’ ability to craft great punchlines. “Ready to die” is one of Biggie’s albums, so pairing the two phrases up like this emphasizes Woods’ creativity. Judging from the pair’s 2019 collaboration “Hiding Places,” “Maps” looks to be one of the best hip-hop albums of the year. 

“-” by Ed Sheeran

The fifth piece in his series of albums named after mathematical symbols, Ed Sheeran’s new album “-” releases next Friday. So far, two singles from this album are out: “Boat” and “Eyes Closed.” “Boat” is reminiscent of early Sheeran, soft and acoustic with deep sadness in his lyrics. The main line of the post-chorus, “But the waves won’t break my boat,” gives the song an upbeat and hopeful mood – something new to Sheeran’s work. “Eyes Closed” has a rhythmic and bouncy acoustic guitar intro that feels almost like a pop-infused Justin Beiber song. Sheeran sings higher on this track than he normally does, mirroring the vocals of a typical pop star. Sheeran’s attempt to bring pop-influence into his music is, in my opinion, poorly executed, making “Eyes Closed” less moving than his typical soft ballad-style songs. If you’re looking for a mixed bag of interesting acoustic ballads and cheesy, poorly produced pop songs, keep your eyes open for “-” next week. 

“Paper Names” – Susie Luo

Susie Luo’s debut novel “Paper Names” is set to release Tuesday. The novel looks at three main characters: Tony, a Chinese immigrant, his daughter, Tammy and Oliver, a white lawyer. As a violent attack occurs in New York, Tammy, Tony and Oliver all cross paths. A look at the American Dream and the way it changes throughout time, place and person, “Paper Names” is shaping up to be one of the best debut novels of the year. Consistently reviewed as both strong in narrative and in prose, “Paper Names” is a story that I cannot wait to read.