The National – I Am Easy to Find
If you’re looking for the National’s best album, this isn’t it. The Cincinnati-originated, Grammy Award-winning band’s eighth album, I Am Easy to Find, comes with the highest of highs and lowest of lows.
On May 17, this album was released alongside a 24-minute short film, directed by Mike Mills and starring Alicia Vikander. The album features an array of female artists, such as Irish singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan and Bowie collaborator Gail Ann Dorsey, which all complement frontman Matt Beninger’s baritone voice. The award-winning Brooklyn Youth Choir are also featured on tracks such as “Oblivions” and “Underwater”.
This album has a number of outstanding tracks. “Rylan”, a highly anticipated release finally coming to us nearly eight years since the National first played it live in 2011, “Quiet Light” and “Where is Her Head” feature some of the best of the National’s performances. Meanwhile, some tracks like “The Pull of You” and “Roman Holiday” contribute little to the album.
This album isn’t groundbreaking, but is still a beautiful piece of art that demonstrates where the band is at this moment of their lives and marriages. If you’re a listener like me, you may create a playlist that takes out some songs from the album. Rating: 3/5
Lewis Capaldi – Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent
Lewis Capaldi’s debut album is one for the books. While the single “Someone You Loved” begins to climb the charts in the U.S., Capaldi has been known across the pond for quite some time. The 22-year-old Scot has toured with big-name acts like Sam Smith and headlined Glastonbury, the UK’s biggest music festival.
His first full-length album, Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent, released May 17, comes with a lot of memorable songs. From the powerful and in-your-face first line of “Grace”, to the moody final notes of “Headspace”, this album captivates.
Capaldi is known for being funny and personable, taking regularly to the internet to post about tour life and his bathroom habits, but his music shows his softer side. If you’re looking for a beautiful album with emotional and instrumentally simplistic tracks, this is one that comes highly recommended. His personality is just a much-loved bonus. Rating: 4/5
Ed Sheeran – No.6 Collaborations Project
For Ed Sheeran, this isn’t his first trip around the collaboration block. No.6 Collaborations Project, released July 12, features some of the biggest names in music today. From rap legend Eminem to country music star Chris Stapleton, this album runs the gamut of genres. But the biggest take-aways from this album depend on how you approach it. Fans of Sheeran’s previous works may be left disappointed, as the album differs immensely from any of his previous releases.
All in all, this album brings nothing new to the table musically. “South of the Border” with Camilla Cabello and Cardi B is hard to pick out from the average Top 40 hit while “Best Part of Me” featuring YEBBA, while not a bad song, is like any other mushy-gushy love song of Sheeran’s previous discography.
That being said, there’s a few notable highlights. “Remember the Name” featuring Eminem and 50 Cent reiterates Ed Sheeran’s belief in working for his dreams and not letting others stop him, and is enjoyable even for people that don’t enjoy rap or hip-hop. “BLOW” is another curveball: a song featuring Chris Stapleton and Bruno Mars that sounds more like a Beastie Boys track than something any of the featured artists would release. The idea of a collaborative project like this is genius. The work involved is extensive, from writing songs to asking artists to be featured to getting permission from labels- I commend Sheeran for his efforts. Unfortunately, a majority of songs themselves are less than impressive and unmemorable. If you’re looking for something to listen to for 3 weeks and then grow sick of, this is for you. If you’re looking for something to keep you listening, look elsewhere. Rating: 2/5
By Hannah Schulz | Head Copy Editor