Graphic by Anya Herzberg
“Only Child”- Sasha Sloan
By: Addison Childre
Los Angeles based indie-pop singer, Sasha Sloan, released her album “Only Child” on October 16. Heavily influenced by The Killers, Robyn, and Coldplay, the ten-track debut album is nostalgic storytelling at its best, and Sloan at her most raw and vulnerable. Sloan has stated in interviews that the album wasn’t easy to produce, as she experienced a lot of anxiety during the album making process. Listening to “Only Child,” you would find this hard to believe, as any weaknesses she may have had are well hidden behind her powerful lyrics and haunting ballads.
Sloan knows how to do sad songs well, as most of her tracks have a hint of melancholic nostalgia. Her lyrics are often personal recounts of her life, and how it could have played out. The title track, “Only Child,” tells her lonely tale of growing up as an only child, as well as her fantasy of life with siblings, whom she describes as “built-in best friends.” Sloan, wistfully longing for a sister, sings, “People would say we look like each other … when our parents fight, we’d just smile.” For many of us, this longing is real. As such, Sloan’s stories feel so human and relatable. If you’re looking for an album/storytale to get lost in this fall – this is the one!
“Savage Mode II”- 21 Savage
By: Zach Issacs
Expectations were set high for Savage Mode II, a sequel to the hit 2016 album Savage Mode, from St. Louis producer Metro Boomin and Atlanta rapper 21 Savage. With the addition of Morgan Freeman’s chilling narrations, this movie-like album was well engineered and planned out. The LP only offers three features: a solid feature by Yung Nudy, an excellent Young Thug verse, and a disappointing performance by Drake on the track Mr. Right Now. The first song on the album, Runnin, following up the Morgan Freeman led Intro, has a hard-hitting beat and a hype mood to start the project. Morgan Freeman offers another fantastic message midway through the album in Snitches & Rats (Interlude), followed by a very good feature by Yung Nudy in another song with the same title. This is a solid project with more good than bad, but Metro Boomin failed to produce the hard hitting, eerie, piano beats that are his forte. The one song that matches his signature is Many Menwith a thumping bass and great verses by 21 Savage. The play on 50 Cent’s classic song, Many Men (Wish Death), is done remarkably and, in my opinion, is the best song on the album.
By: Sabrina Bergeron
Shawn Mendes’s latest single, “Wonder,” is a discussion of toxic masculinity.
He sings, “when I cry into my hands, I’m conditioned to feel it makes me less of a man.” This is a nod to the common stereotype that for men, crying is a sign of weakness.
Mendes explained that prior to dating fellow singer-songwriter Camila Cabello, he thought of himself as a “pretty open, emotional, guy.” However his relationship with Cabello made him want “to be the man, and strong.” Ultimately, he realized that “real strength does lie inside of being emotional and vulnerable.” This is reflected in “Wonder,” which illustrates insecurities, fear of judgement, and the liberation of showing one’s feelings.
“Wonder” begins slow but has an abrupt beat-drop. The cadence of the lyrics also parallel the melody: once Mendes reaches the chorus, he speeds up and lets his emotions intensify.
Overall, I think “Wonder” is great for its technicality and message. Highlighting the struggle of masculinity, the single created a pathway for listeners to recognize that strength lies in the physical and the emotional.