Arts & Entertainment

A Season of Stars

Musicians seem to like releasing music in the fall. Really, most of them probably like to release music any time people are likely to buy it. Still, many significant artists have already released music this semester and more have work coming soon.

Acts ranging from The Voice winner and Avril Lavigne/Carrie Underwood hybrid Cassadee Pope to professional surfer dude and beach rocker Jack Johnson have both released successful albums in September and October respectively.

In this piece, the author discusses three albums among the most highly-anticipated albums still to be released this semester: tween sensation One Direction’s Midnight Memories, American Idol’s country crooner Scotty McCreery’s See You Tonight, and pop princess Katy Perry’s Prism.

This is They?

Coming off of the wind of their feature film This is Us, boy band One Direction plans to release their third album Midnight Memories on November 25, 2013. Formed by Simon Cowell or Nicole Scherzinger (depending on the story) during the seventh series of the United Kingdom’s The X Factor, this group has found massive worldwide success—primarily through a fiercely dedicated teenage fan base.

With hits like “What Makes You Beautiful”, “One Thing”, and “Kiss You” though, these guys have still failed to establish a clear artistic direction aside from being a pop band. Throughout their history though the band has hinted at a mission to create a young, relevant, and rock-influenced sound.

Unsurprisingly then, the band has stated that this album will lean even further in this rock direction. Perhaps with this release, One Direction can begin to transition from a teen sensation to a mature musical entity.

Collegiate Country

Scotty McCreery won the tenth season of American Idol, released the hit singles “I Love You This Big” and “The Trouble With Girls”, and then began to step slightly to the left of the public eye. This move is not surprising, though, since McCreery is currently attending North Carolina State University. But what does this development mean for this young artist’s recording career?

On May 6, 2013, McCreery released a new single “See You Tonight”, the title track from his upcoming sophomore album set to be released on October 15, 2013. This track has made significant if not stellar impact on country radio and may contain clues about McCreery’s future direction. The track is simultaneously young and contemporary and traditional and well-crafted. It truly provides a young person’s version of country music.

An outspoken anti-fan of country music’s current truck song fetish, McCreery may just prove with this album to be an important voice in country music with a unique sound and lyrical point of view.

Hear Her Roar

Arguably the biggest act in pop music right now, Katy Perry has been gearing up to release her third major album, Prism, on October 22, 2013. With a golden truck publicity stunt, a collection of quality promotional singles, and a solid showing at the iTunes Festival, Perry has built up anticipation for this release.

Starting with the hits “Wide Awake” and “Part of Me” and continuing through a darker iTunes Festival performance, Perry has shown that she plans to take a different direction from the candy-coated days of California girls and wild Friday nights.

No one should really be surprised by this artistic turn as Perry was heavily influenced by Alanis Morissette’s intense Jagged Little Pill album and has continuously demonstrated herself as a powerful singer-songwriter in her own right—notably with an early single “Thinking of You” and a stripped-down performance of 2011 hit “The One That Got Away” at the 39th Annual American Music Awards.

Thankfully, Perry is not leaving her prosperous pop music behind. Instead, as demonstrated by songs like “Dark Horse” and “By the Grace of God”, she is taking her early influences and increasing maturity and using them to give her pop artistry a new layer.

– Jay Kucia, Contributing Writer

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