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Tracking COVID-19 at UCLA

Music Preview: ‘Tis the season for album releases in the rush of winter quarter

(Emily Dembinski/Illustrations director)

By Vivian Xu and Yasmin Madjidi

Jan. 4, 2021 6:14 p.m.

No winter wonderland is complete without a soundtrack. While fall quarter was marked with releases from pop powerhouses like Ariana Grande and rakish rock stars like Miley Cyrus, winter hints at a flurry of new records. The ever-sunny Westwood may never be blanketed with fresh snow, but Bruins can experience the season with a shift in their playlists.

Continue reading to catch a glimpse of the Daily Bruin’s recommendations for albums to keep on your radar for winter quarter.

(Courtesy of Republic Records)
(Courtesy of Republic Records)

“Certified Lover Boy” by Drake

October’s Very Own is reemerging from the six with his sixth studio album.

Drake’s much-anticipated “Certified Lover Boy” is set to drop in January. Although the exact release date and track list are still speculative, the rapper has been teasing the project on social media and announced its release in August alongside the trumpet-filled hip-hop lead single, “Laugh Now Cry Later,” featuring Lil Durk. With prominent features on the album from rising artists like Jessie Reyez and Roddy Ricch, the upcoming release is a follow-up to his 2018 hip-hop and R&B record “Scorpion.”

Remaining true to his OVO brand, the rapper previewed the new album with a trailer on his 34th birthday in October. Although the video only featured angelic instrumentals, Drake recreated his past LPs by placing himself in the previous cover’s artworks. The nostalgia hints that the upcoming release may be drawing inspiration from the relaxed R&B and smooth flows of his past work.

The established rapper’s discography has no limit, and Drizzy is sure to impress.

– Yasmin Madjidi

(Courtesy of Roswell Records)
(Courtesy of Roswell Records)

“Medicine At Midnight” by Foo Fighters

Open up – Foo Fighters is here with a dose of new music.

The rock band’s 10th studio album is slated for release on Feb. 5, only a few months after the group performed the record’s lead single on the Nov. 7 episode of Saturday Night Live. Led by frontman and former Nirvana member Dave Grohl, the band’s signature intense grunge rock sound has rewarded it with 11 Grammy Awards – but that doesn’t mean Foo Fighters isn’t dipping its toes in sonic experimentation.

In promotional interviews, Grohl divulged that the new album gravitates toward a lighter pop sound and is chock full of upbeat dance tracks. Lead single “Shame Shame” encapsulates the airier vibe, with minimalistic percussion and playful syncopated vocals that stand in stark contrast to dark lyrics threatening, “I will smother you.”

Yet with its new, groovier sound, the only thing Foo Fighters will be smothering listeners with is its effervescent bops.

– Vivian Xu

(Courtesy of Big Machine Records)
(Courtesy of Big Machine Records)

“Life Rolls On” by Florida Georgia Line

Even from across state lines, Florida Georgia Line has one state of mind: country.

Consisting of members Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley, the country duo has set its fifth studio album release for Feb. 12. The pair skyrocketed to fame when debut single “Cruise” hit airwaves in 2012 and the country hip-hop fusion track has since sold over 10 million units, earning a diamond certification by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Although the duo may have popularized the mingling of country and hip-hop, their upcoming album seems grounded in country rock. The project’s recent single, “Long Live,” celebrates hometown pride with a twangy croon as Hubbard and Kelley praise, “Long live all the small towners, sunup to sundowners.” Powered by a laid-back singalong melody, the track sets a warm and feel-good atmosphere that transports listeners to languid country kickback.

Using harmonies instead of airplanes, Florida Georgia Line is bringing listeners to the heart of the South.

– Vivian Xu

(Courtesy of Epic Records)
(Courtesy of Epic Records)

“Life Support” by Madison Beer

Madison Beer is becoming a pop star of her own.

Her debut album, “Life Support,” is slated to release Feb. 26. After Justin Bieber tweeted a cover Beer posted on YouTube in 2012, the singer has blossomed under the limelight, releasing her debut EP “As She Pleases” in 2018. Her angelic voice and relatable lyrics on heartbreak have established a dedicated fanbase, which she has recently grown with the help of TikTok.

With more than 13 million followers on the platform, Beer often promotes her music, and consequently hundreds of thousands of videos, using her songs in the background. The second single off her upcoming project, “Selfish,” has also been used by popular creators on the app such as Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae. Featuring airy melodies and themes of finding closure after a toxic relationship, the song hints at Beer’s personal growth that inspired much of the entire release.

At only 21 years old, the emerging artist is sure to ground herself in her debut album.

– Yasmin Madjidi

(Courtesy of dodie)
(Courtesy of dodie)

“Build A Problem” by dodie

dodie is building problems and an album all at the same time.

Since posting her first song on YouTube in 2011, dodie is gearing up to release her debut album on Mar. 5. The English singer has amassed nearly 2 million subscribers on the video platform, where her original music showcases her signature ethereal falsetto with delicate melodies supported by fluttering instrumentals.

The upcoming album appears to hold strong to her trademark gossamer sound, as lead single “Cool Girl” leans heavily into tender strings while dodie’s soprano floats into higher registers. Inspired by character Amy Dunne’s monologue in the film “Gone Girl,” dodie revealed in an Instagram story that the track expresses a similar distaste toward the societal standard that women should wordlessly endure whatever is thrown at them.

dodie may have no desire to be a cool girl, but her album promises to be a breezy listen indeed.

– Vivian Xu

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Vivian Xu | Assistant Arts editor
Xu is the current Music | Fine Arts editor of the Daily Bruin. She previously served as an Arts & Entertainment reporter from 2019-2020. Xu is also a news contributor, writing under the National News & Higher Education beat. She is a second-year neuroscience student from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Xu is the current Music | Fine Arts editor of the Daily Bruin. She previously served as an Arts & Entertainment reporter from 2019-2020. Xu is also a news contributor, writing under the National News & Higher Education beat. She is a second-year neuroscience student from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Yasmin Madjidi | Assistant Arts editor
Madjidi is the Lifestyle editor at the Daily Bruin. She was previously an Arts & Entertainment contributor. She is also a fourth-year English student with a minor in Literature and the Environment and a transfer student from San Diego.
Madjidi is the Lifestyle editor at the Daily Bruin. She was previously an Arts & Entertainment contributor. She is also a fourth-year English student with a minor in Literature and the Environment and a transfer student from San Diego.
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