March 22, 2017 The Signal page 19
Ed Sheeran’s ‘Divide’ unites fans
‘Divide’ has Sheeran experimenting with new sounds. By Lily Firth Staff Writer
It’s not news to anyone that Ed Sheeran has been a very successful and popular artist. Fans of the British singer fell in love with everything from his poetic ballads to his upbeat acoustic songs accompanied by his trusty guitar and loop pedal. Sheeran devastated his fans, though, when he announced in 2015 that he was going radio silent and dropping off the grid for a while, absent on social media and no longer creating new music, in order to do some quiet soul searching. Finally, Sheeran dropped his highly anticipated album on March 3, and he did not disappoint. Although his other albums were amazing, Sheeran outdid himself with his most recent album, “Divide.” He branched out
of his comfort zone and experimented with new instruments and sounds, including two very Irish sounding songs, “Galway Girl” and “Nancy Mulligan.” Of course, he still breaks hearts with his slow ballads, such as “Save Myself” in which he sings about having to save his own heart before he can love again. In the somber song “Happier,” he admits that his lover will truly be happier with someone else. Sheeran taps deep into his own emotions and experiences to make his music so personal and relatable to the audience. We can feel his pain through his tender and poignant lyrics. He added some upbeat songs to bring us back up, too. Some of his songs actually made me laugh out loud like“New Man,” which makes fun of the materialistic new man his past lover is bragging about to him. Even the
perky flutes in “Barcelona” made me want to smile and dance in my seat. Even some songs have important messages that make me reflect on our society. In “What Do I Know?” he ponders how to save the world with just a piano and some positivity. “Castle on the Hill” reminisces about simpler times and plays on my homesickness while I recall fond childhood memories. He also does an impressive job of rapping in “Eraser.” His lyrics aren’t nonsensical either –– he taps into his emotions and pours his heart out about what fame and money has done to him and how it is destroying a lot of his relationships. His album makes you laugh, cry, reminisce and even fall in
love with him. It is truly a beautiful work of art. There are a million praises I can say about this album, and I’m sure his fans will all agree with me. The charts agree, too –– his single “Shape of You” is already No. 1 in many countries and played repeatedly on the radio. This album is No. 1 in several countries, as well. Everyone has been buzzing and tweeting about this new album, including other successful artists such as Calvin Harris, who sent a loving tweet Sheeran’s way. Spotify also recently crowned Sheeran as the No. 1 streamed artist on its site. With the success of his album, I’m sure we will see a lot more growth and success from Sheeran in years to come.
Sheeran’s lyrics and singing cover a range of emotions.
Loud / High school students recite poems continued from page 1
Koffa first participated three years ago with his school, but last year, no teacher would run the program, preventing him from participating again. He started a poetry club and worked with Poetry Out Loud and the vice principal of his school to get involved again. “He’s an amazing young man,” Potucek said. “This concept opened up a world for him.” After competing in the regional competition in Camden, N.J., Koffa took the stage to talk about what the competition means to him. Potucek summarized what he said. “This was his window, his way to get out, his escape,” Potucek said. Breana Sena, the runner-up from Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School in Jersey City, N.J., gave a moving performance of “I Sit and Sew” by Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson. The poem reflected the author’s desire to escape to something greater. “I sit and sew — a useless task it seems,/ My hands grown tired, my head weighed
down with dreams,” Sena said quietly. Sena, Koffa and the other finalists were scored based on physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding and overall performance. In addition, an accuracy judge deducts points based on any mistakes a contestant makes. “We always tell the students up front… that it’s about the simplicity of your poem and connecting with the audience,” Potucek said. “If that means you need some hand gestures or some facial expressions — of course — then you should use those.” Potucek believes the most important thing about competing is clearly delivering the poet’s message. “I think probably the most important thing… is that the student becomes the shell for the poem,” said Potucek, a former accuracy judge. She hopes students learn something out of competing, whether they win or lose. “(I hope) they find out a little bit about more themselves,” Potucek said. In between the second and third rounds,
Jason Proleika / Photo Editor
a video honoring the 2010 state champion Shamsuddin Abdul-Hamid was projected onto the screen. Abdul-Hamid, affectionately called “Sham” by his friends, died unexpectedly at the age of 25 on March 3. In the video, Abdul-Hamid explained how Poetry Out Loud gives students access to great writers they might not have been able to study in school. “Organizations, like Poetry Out Loud and the New Jersey state arts council, they say that you, too — you, too, can do this,” Abdul-Hamid said in the video. “There are no boundaries, and I think that that’s sort of what we felt as a student having someone hand you a William Shakespeare sonnet — you sort of sit up and say, ‘What else am I worthy of?’” Like Koffa, Abdul-Hamin won the state championship on his third try. In two lines of “Hospital Window,” the narrator realizes that, although his father is likely close to the end, he is not afraid. He can still smile. “I am not afraid for my father— Look! He is grinning.”
Left: Students recite famous poems from memory. Right: Koffa wins the competition for his accuracy and emotion.
This week, WTSR assistant music director Nelson Kelly highlights some of the best new albums that the College’s own radio station, 91.3 FM WTSR, puts into its weekly rotation.
Band Name: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard Album Name: “Flying Microtonal Banana” Release Number: 9th Hailing From: Melbourne, Australia Genre: Psychadelic Experimental Rock Label: ATO Records “Flying Microtonal Banana” is the first of five albums that Melbourne’s King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard claim to have in store for us in 2017. If that was not enough ambition for you, the bad boys from down under recorded this album using decked out microtonal instruments to play in keys that do not exist on standard instruments. Signature guitar noodles and harmonies, syncopated drums and thumpin’ bass are joined by the wailing shrieks of a zurna, a traditional Turkish horn. “Flying Microtonal Banana” is a perfect entry point into Gizzard’s intimidating discography and a welcome sign of a great band pushing to expand their musical pallet. Must Hear: “Sleep Drifter,” “Bilabong Valley,” “Anoxia,” “Doom City” and “Nuclear Fusion”
Band Name: Pissed Jeans Album Name: “Why Love Now” Release Number: 5th Hailing From: Allentown, Pa. Genre: Noise Punk Label: Sub Pop Veteran punk band Pissed Jeans is back with its most socially conscious effort yet. Crusty, noisy and almost obnoxiously loud, “Why Love Now” is the soundtrack to your 40-minute riot about social justice. “Why Love Now” is chock full of angry and rowdy anthems. Simple song structures with repetitive, shouted choruses combined with feminist and socially conscious themes keep the record fresh. Must Hear: “The Bar is Low,” “Ignorecam,” “Love Without Emotion” and “Have You Ever Been Furniture”
The 03/22/17 issue of The Signal, The College of New Jersey’s student newspaper