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Listen Up: Punk and Drake help beat early senioritis

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Since the beginning of April, I have been burnt out and ready for the end of the semester — a case of senioritis coming one month early. But the beginning of April is also the worst time to check out with exams and papers around the bend and fast approaching. Still, this column has given me the opportunity to make searching for new music part of my “work,” and for that I am grateful.
So take an hour or two off and check the best music I heard last week.

“Next Thing” by Frankie Cosmos

One of the tenets of punk rock is to just get to the point. The shorter the song, the better.

Punk bands accomplished this by taking one emotion — usually anger — and espousing it over power chords; any song longer than three minutes being laborious. They were usually forward with what they had to say: “I am the antichrist,” “I wanna be sedated” and so on.

No song on Frankie Cosmos’ first two albums exceeds two minutes, but they could not feel more different than punk songs of similar lengths. Each track follows its own path of emotion, epic outpourings condensed into bite-sized pieces.

Frankie Cosmos is the stage name of 22-year-old Greta Kline, and along with artists like Eskimeaux, Mitski and Beach Fossils, Cosmos has been a part of the burgeoning lo-fi scene that exists on the Internet and in touring vans across the country. Mainstream success has eluded these bands so far, but with more releases like “Next Thing,” it might not be too far away.

“Next Thing” is a straightforward record, with nothing really remarkable about the guitars, bass and drums. Cosmos’ hushed voice hovers over the smooth instrumentals, bringing together songs that are short and sweet but full of emotional force.

The DIY mode of operation for Frankie Cosmos is part of what makes its music so exciting. The songs sound finely crafted, but the album as a whole sounds like it could have been put together in one night.
Cosmos even sings, “I haven’t finished this song yet / Will you help me fix it?” on the track, “Outside with the Cuties.”

Catching Frankie Cosmos in the early stages, while it still has its startup charm, is the best time to discover an artist. It might not be long before it is the “next big thing,” instead just “the thing.”

“Pop Style” and “One Dance” by Drake

Even though it has been one of the most anticipated albums for the past few years, there have not been many clues on what “Views From the Six,” Drake’s fourth album, would sound like. Two tracks from the album were released last week — tracks that have both the grimey style Drake has been experiencing recently and the easy swing he has perfected over the years.

“One Dance,” with Wizkid and Kyla, has that swing, a smooth R&B track that is quintessential Drake. His vocal style would fit on any of his albums, but the worldly instrumental is more indicative of his recent work.

“Pop Style” is the darker Drake, a distorted, ominous track that features Jay Z (for two bars) and Kanye West. It shows an alienated superstar, enough time spent in limelight for the wonder to fade.

“Views From the Six” will likely be a mix of both styles and is now almost assured to be a fascinating continuation for one of music’s biggest stars. It will be released April 29.

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