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Campbell: Sheeran’s new album sinks, Minus the Bear soars

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“Divide” by Ed Sheeran

Release: March 3

Genre: Pop

Rating: C-

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last few weeks then I’m sure you have heard Ed Sheeran’s latest single “Shape of You.” The single is for sure a banger that will probably be a hit through the summer. It’s also left listeners with anticipation for the entire album. Now that the entire thing is here, though, we can finally find out if it has lived up to all our expectations. The 16-track album is filled with everything from acoustic renditions (“Eraser”) to all-out pop jams (“Shape of You”). “Castle on the Hill” is probably one of my favorites as it seems pretty all encompassing. It’s pop-y, danceable, with fun kind of sounds like a John Mayer hit.  These three songs are probably the only ones I truly enjoy on the entire album though. Essentially, the LP is all over the place and reminds me of that excruciatingly terrible mash up between Nelly and Florida Georgia Line. Like in the song, “Galway Girl,” Sheeran has a bluegrass, country sound complete with fiddles, but then he starts rapping and it doesn’t fit at all. Although I praise Sheeran for being experimental, I’m ready for him to go back to the good ol’ days of his first album “+” from 2011.

Download: “Castle on the Hill”

 

“VOIDS” by Minus the Bear

Released: March 3

Genre: Alternative-rock

Rating: B+

Experimental rock has been emerging over the last few years with bands like Fitz and the Tantrums, Passion Pit and Arcade Fire. Minus the Bear has been around since 2001, but is clearly not as big as these names, although they should definitely be on your radar. “Last Kiss” starts off the album with scratchy guitar riffs and spacey electronics that keep you hooked and interested to see where the rest of the album goes. Since I haven’t heard of this band until this album, I was worried that the second song “Give & Take” was going to set the overall tone for the album, because it sounded like a watered-down Radiohead song, but I’ve decided it was just one mistake that ended up on the album because “Call the Cops” goes back to the spacey electronics and haunting vocals that continue through the tracks “Silver” and “Robotic Heart,” which raps up the album with a killer-guitar and vocal parts. Minus the Bear seems to be a perfect mix between experimental-alternative and experimental-rock. They never get too weird and indie, like Alt-J, but also don’t stick to a basic rock sound like Shinedown, and although I love both of those bands, Minus the Bear has a quality that fits them right in between.

Download: “Robotic Heart”

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