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Paradise Reclaimed? “The Gate” by Björk

I was idly scrolling through Facebook when I saw Bjӧrk’s announcement that her new single, “The Gate,” would be released on September 18th. I was ecstatic. I was anxious. Inevitably, though, I got caught up with school; I washed helplessly away on tides of homework and caffeine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_n0Ps1KWVU0

I was aimlessly adrift until September 14th, when Bjӧrk made another surprise announcement that she was too excited to wait and that she would be releasing “The Gate” at midnight that night (technically the 15th).

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Spinning Singles: Eleven, “Step Forward”

Two of the newest artists to watch are currently working through their undergrad at the University of Pennsylvania. Eleven, a budding band started by Blue Bookhard and Karis Stephens, recently released their single “Step Forward.” Bookhard floats you in with sounds just shy of evanescent, before dipping down to more grounded tones on the synth. Stephen wanders onto the beat moments later, with a voice smoothed out by her acapella experience. She leaves traces of an Alessandra Cara kind of lull, while dishing out lyrics more fitting to an album by Marian Hill, a more established Philadelphia duo, “You don’t like the rain/a gemini too, 5’6” on a good day.”

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Spinning Singles: Tinashe, “Flame”

With the best assets of a dancer, model, songwriter and singer wrapped into one package, Tinashe has the makings of a superstar. From her dazzling performances on tour to her collection of mixtapes and albums, the star potential is evident in everything in which she partakes. After being enchanted by her feature on Snakehips’ “All My Friends,” I’ve held the belief that she’s one of the most talented artists in the business. And yet, not everyone shares my romanticized view of the songstress. Maybe you vaguely remember her face, never heard of her before, or worse, forgot that she even exists.

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Spinning Singles: EDMONDSON, “Meanwhile”

Legendary producer and so-called “Fifth Beatle,” George Martin, once told a story about the 1967 classic “Strawberry Fields Forever.” According to Martin, the track’s slow build, its fusion of traditional rock elements with studio innovation, came about after a frustrated John Lennon decided to join two different versions of the song together in the studio. Beatles comparisons are a lot—but “Meanwhile,” the new track off EDMONDSON’s upcoming record, Strange Durations, recalls some of their later work like “Fields” in its willingness to push the listener in unexpected directions. Beginning with bittersweet piano licks, the track veers into new territory midway, eventually settling into a horn-driven groove, as sassy as its first bars are reflective. It includes shakers, changing time signatures and what sounds like a circus whistle. “Meanwhile” assembles its pieces into an intriguingly new sound, one that challenges the listener while inviting her in.

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Spinning Singles: Lorde, “Green Light”

Lorde is an icon. She’s the voice of our generation, and old folks are jealous for it. David Brooks and the rest of the fake news media don’t actually think of millennials as hopelessly privileged social media zombies. Instead, they resent that we had Pure Heroine, Lorde’s 2013 opus, where they had disco or whatever your parents promote as “real music.” With Heroine, Lorde delivered an album-length testament to teenage glory, told not by an aged folk singer nostalgic for his pink carnations and his pickup truck, but rather by one of our peers – a precocious 17 year-old already wise about her formative years. https://open.spotify.com/track/3FQ26GroLnhQEja48FKYqT

Lorde’s age at the time suggested something akin to a child prodigy, but it also proved an essential component to her songwriting.

Spinning Singles: Coldplay, “Hypnotised”

Upon seeing the cover art for Coldplay’s newest single “Hypnotised,” I feared that they had not yet put their 2015 album, A Head Full of Dreams, to rest. The single was released today without any previous announcement, which shocked me. Regardless, I feared that once more, Coldplay would try to blend in with what’s mainstream instead of retaining their signature mellow style. Their recent release of the collaboration single with The Chainsmokers, “Something Just Like This,” affirmed my doubts even if it was a good, catchy song. I love Coldplay, but I must say that A Head Full of Dreams appeared to have been written by a procrastinating college student at 3AM, and that’s not even getting into the terrible CGI chimpanzee versions of Coldplay in the music video for “Adventure of a Lifetime.” I nearly lost hope in Coldplay, but not quite.

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Spinning Singles: Lecrae, “Blessings”

For a genre whose lyrics are typically built off of braggadocio and pride, hip-hop has been taking a humbler stance recently. Maybe “humble” is not the right word, but amidst the bombastic bangers and club hits, a few artists have put out introspective tracks acknowledging where they were in the past and thanking those who have helped them achieve success. Big Sean’s third single “Blessings” from 2015’s Dark Sky Paradise was an eerie and spectral track which saw him shout out his grandma and mom for their support. Likewise, the infectious, gospel-inspired “Blessings” off of Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book though much more light-hearted, continued this same theme, with Chano expressing gratitude to God. So in 2017 when Lecrae releases a new single of the same name, does he offer anything new?

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The Purest Form of Adulation: “Carolina”

The Mexican music scene is highly underrated, especially when it comes to anything that isn’t bachata, reggaeton, cumbia or other mainstream genres. Right now, one type of music that truly represents art is a hybrid of acoustic and indie with a splash an indescribable psychedelic element, which not many Mexican artists have mastered. It’s the type of music that you don’t have to understand in order to sway along to it or have it end up stuck in your head like a sweet daydream playing over and over again. I’m talking about music by artists like Siddhartha, León Larregui, Zoé and now Salvador y el Unicornio. However, if you do understand the lyrics, the experience is much more lucid and indulging.

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The Sun’s Top 10 Songs of 2016

In a great year for rap, hip-hop and emo, The Daily Sun’s Arts & Entertainment writers came together to name the 10 best songs of the year. 

10. “(Joe Gets Kicked Out of School for Using) Drugs With Friends (But Says This Isn’t a Problem)” — Car Seat Headrest 

Steve Jobs once said that hallucinogens reveal another side to reality, but in “Joe Gets Kicked Out Of School” — written about an acid trip taken by Car Seat Headrest frontman Will Toledo — the revelations aren’t so pleasant. On acid, Toledo sees himself and his friends as “filthy people,” hedonistic pleasure-seekers with no meaning or purpose. Good thing the song is so fun. The band’s album, Teens of Denial, builds huge, operatic epics from the building blocks of indie rock, and “Joe” is a perfect example, a seven-minute journey that begins with Toledo strumming an acoustic guitar and develops into a foot-stomping breakdown.