Wednesday, July 17

A&E writers preview anticipated albums set to be released this winter

(Rachel Bai)

(Rachel Bai)

2017 was an exceptional year in the music world with major musical comebacks from pop singers such as Lorde and Kesha, along with impressive releases from artists including SZA, Alessia Cara and Kendrick Lamar. With the start of the new year, music fans can only hope that 2018 is an equally captivating year. Here are just a few album releases to look out for this winter quarter.


After her controversial departure from Fifth Harmony, Camila Cabello is finally releasing her first studio album as a solo artist. The self-titled album will include her hit single “Havana,” which topped charts across the world. While “Havana” is an ode to her hometown in Cuba with upbeat and bright piano notes, Cabello’s next single in the album, “Never Be the Same,” feels more like a conventional electronic pop song with its intensely romantic lyrics and bright, peppy vocals. Whether “Camila” takes on the bouncier, vibrant style of “Havana” or leans more toward a typical dance pop album, one thing is certain: Cabello has already proven herself a force to be reckoned with, even without the backing of the powerhouse Fifth Harmony.


“MANIA” will be Fall Out Boy’s first album release in three years since 2015’s “American Beauty/American Psycho.” The album features songwriting collaborations with popular songwriters including Sia. Singles off the album like “Young and Menace” hint at a slight progression from the group’s notorious emo pop sound to a more mainstream electronic pop sound with synth-heavy beats and smoother vocals. The band also embarked on a worldwide tour in support of the album in October 2017, which will continue until April.

“Primal Heart”

New Zealand singer-songwriter Kimbra will provide her fans with new music on her album “Primal Heart” on Jan. 19. Kimbra first gained popularity as the backing vocalist for the 2011 Gotye song, “Somebody That I Used to Know,” and the indie pop songstress has consistently delivered seamless vocals on her first two studio albums, “Vows” and “The Golden Echo.” Late 2017, Kimbra released the two singles from the upcoming album “Primal Heart,” including “Everybody Knows” and “Top of the World.” In “Everybody Knows,” Kimbra’s dulcet voice rings out over calming percussion beats before the song turns into a burst of energizing and pulsating synths. “Top of the World,” a staccato number full of breathless lyrics and racing drum hits, demonstrates Kimbra’s soothing and versatile sound. On “Primal Heart,” listeners can expect Kimbra to share her dreamy, sassy and exciting sound.

“I can feel you creep into my private life”

Tune-Yards, the indie pop music project of Merrill Garbus and Nate Brenner, is following up its 2014 album “Nikki Nack” with “I can feel you creep into my private life,” Garbus’ fourth studio album and the first album with Garbus and Brenner as an official duo. Garbus wrote the lyrics for the album while Brenner, a frequent collaborator and newly confirmed member of Tune-Yards, handled the album’s production. On the record’s 12 new tracks, the duo explores political themes such as race, feminism and environmentalism in what looks to be their most upbeat record to date. The first single, “Look at Your Hands,” combines ’80s electronic beats, Brenner’s distorted bass lines and Garbus’ robotic vocals to create a playful track whose lyrical depth and pointed message separate it from previous Tune-Yards releases.

“Always Ascending”

“Always Ascending” marks Scottish indie rock band Franz Ferdinand’s first record since the departure of guitarist and co-founder Nick McCarthy in 2016. With the addition of guitarist Dino Bardot and keyboardist Julian Corrie, the band claims it will expand upon its post-punk style by interweaving futuristic and naturalistic motifs and exploring more synthetic sounds while avoiding auto-tuned artifice. The title track, which was released as the first single from the record, features an electric disco pop sound with a hypnotically energetic hook and enticing vocal harmonies. The band also began a massive world tour Dec. 4 which will conclude May 17 after a show at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles on May 15.

“How to Solve Our Human Problems”

The Scottish indie pop band Belle & Sebastian released the first of three EPs in December, with plans to release the other two EPs all under the name “How to Solve Our Human Problems” later this winter. The first volume of “How to Solve Our Human Problems” features five tranquil songs like “Sweet Dew Lee” and “Fickle Season,” which include smooth and tender guitar riffs and relaxing drum beats. Hopefully the group can expand even further upon the peaceful and optimistic sound of the first EP – if so, the next two months are sure to be filled with plenty of charming tunes from Belle & Sebastian.

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Quad editor

Warner is the editor of the Quad. He was previously the assistant editor for the Music | Arts beat of Arts during the 2017-2018 school year and an Arts reporter during the 2016-2017 school year.

Del Rosario is the 2018-2019 prime content editor. She was previously an A&E staff reporter.

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