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in this issue ASA BUTTERFIELD BY MITCHELL NGUYEN MCCORMACK

Music: New Albums from Florence + The Machine, Blur, and More

UNCHAINED MELODIES

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HOW BIG, HOW BLUE, HOW BEAUTIFUL
Florence + The Machine

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In the age of online streaming, good songs really come and go. Only those that are more than just aurally pleasing will remain on top of the game. In that light, Florence + The Machine’s latest album is a true masterpiece. The recording was conceived when singer Florence Welch went through a nervous breakdown, inspiring the deep, introspective lyrics resonating through powerful numbers such as “What Kind of Man” and “St Jude.” But the real beauty of this album is its coherence, as each song tells part of an unfinished story with missing dots that only another can complete. The artfully exquisite music videos also do the album justice and beautifully bring its evocative melodies to life.

THE MAGIC WHIP
Blur

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Although “The Magic Whip” sounds like Blur, it looks anything but. The band’s first album in 12 years, it came to be when they were “stranded” in Hong Kong for five days following a cancelled concert. What’s great about the album is actually its music videos. The “Go Out” clip, for instance, is basically a mix between kitsch karaoke displays and a woman making ice cream from scratch. There’s a strong vibe of Andy Warhol-ism that feels unapologetically rebellious and further epitomizes what Blur essentially stands for.

BENEATH THE SKIN
Of Monsters and Men

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Being the most successful Icelandic band in the world could have easily corrupted the beautiful sounds that Of Monsters and Men are well known for. But “Beneath the Skin” only shows how well their folksy sounds has developed. It remains an apt soundtrack to life’s great moments seen through the eyes of the young and experienced in togetherness. If there’s a record made to heal old wounds, this is it.

FOREVER
Alesso

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EDM is only getting louder and louder with a new crop of Scandinavian DJs touring around the world. Swedish musician Alesso is one that has been notching up great singles, pairing with big names such as David Guetta, OneRepublic and Usher. “Forever” is excellent an soundtrack for your daily commute, and the beats would likely be quite familiar to your ears. Overall, “Forever” is not bad, but surely Alesso has more up his sleeves.

EVERYTHING IS 4
Jason Derulo

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Sometimes it’s hard to take modern pop artists seriously, given how superficial their lyrics tend to be and their clichéd personas. However, Jason Derulo’s allout effort to be a jack of all trades does warrant some appreciation. Sadly, the album “Everything is 4” doesn’t have anything new or fresh. If anything, Derulo seems to be trying too hard to feature too many musical genres in one album, making him a master of none.

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