Music Scene: New from Ed Sheeran, Kanye West, Halsey and Drake

(Clockwise from top left) Recent releases from Ed Sheeran, Chvrches, Halsey and Kacey Musgraves. PHOTOS: ASYLUM UK, EMI/GLASSNOTE, CAPITOL, MCA NASHVILLE/INTERSCOPE

SINGAPORE - The recent crop of music releases includes two massively popular albums in the hip-hop world.

Kanye West's Donda and rival rapper Drake's Certified Lover Boy, put out a week apart, both set music-streaming records and topped the mainstream United States album charts.

Meanwhile, British pop star Ed Sheeran whets fans' appetite for his upcoming fourth album with the single Shivers, and American acts Halsey and Deafheaven reinvent their sound.

Check these out on streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music.

1. Pop

Shivers by Ed Sheeran

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British star Ed Sheeran's latest single Shivers will be included in his upcoming fourth album =, to be released on Oct 29.

"= (pronounced 'equals') is a really personal record and one that means a lot to me," he says.

"My life changed greatly over the past few years. I got married, became a father, experienced loss, and I reflect on these topics over the course of the album. I see it as my coming-of-age record and I can't wait to share this next chapter with you."

2. Hip-Hop

Donda by Kanye West

Kanye West's highly anticipated 10th album Donda generated plenty of headlines before it was released on Aug 29.

The American rapper, producer and former presidential candidate had drawn thousands to dramatic listening parties at stadiums in Atlanta and Chicago.

After the album was finally released, he claimed in a now-deleted Instagram post that his record label Universal Music Group had put it out without his approval.

West has been criticised for including controversial guest artistes Da Baby and Marilyn Manson in the album and at the listening parties.

Still, the record shot straight to No. 1 on the Billboard album charts.

3. Hip-Hop

Certified Lover Boy by Drake

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Rapper Drake's sixth album Certified Lover Boy broke records on music-streaming services Apple Music and Spotify with the highest streams within its first day of release.

It also topped the Billboard album charts, registering the highest weekly numbers since Taylor Swift's Folklore more than a year ago.

The record, which features a cover by English artist Damien Hirst, has a plethora of guest rappers across its 21 songs, includinghip-hop starJay-Z and R&B singer Giveon.

4. Alternative Rock

If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power by Halsey

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American singer Halsey worked with producers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, the Oscar-winning duo from industrial rock stalwarts Nine Inch Nails, on her fourth album If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power.

The singer says in an Instagram post: "This album is a concept album about the joys and horrors of pregnancy and childbirth."

It has been hailed by music critics as her best work so far.

5. Country Pop

Star-Crossed by Kacey Musgraves

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Singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves' fourth album Star-Crossed is the follow-up to Golden Hour, her 2018 release that won Album of the Year and Best Country Album at the Grammy Awards.

Crafted as "a modern-day tragedy in three acts", she adds that the album "tells an extremely personal journey of heartache and healing".

The singer has also released Kacey Musgraves Star-Crossed, a 50-minute film based on songs on the album.

6. Various Genes

The Metallica Blacklist by Various artists

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The Metallica Blacklist is a covers album featuring more than 50 artistes playing songs from Metallica's iconic self-titled fifth album.

It is part of the celebrations surrounding the 30th anniversary of one of rock's best-selling releases, often dubbed "The Black Album".

The sheer range of acts putting their own spin on the songs attests to Metallica's wide and lasting influence.

Some of the more surprising names include cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pop singer Miley Cyrus, indie singer Phoebe Bridgers, synth-pop legends Depeche Mode and jazz luminary Kamasi Washington.

7. Alternative Rock/Americana

Pressure Machine by The Killers

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The Killers sing tales of growing up in the American Southwest in seventh album Pressure Machine.

Work on the album started after the planned global tour for previous album Imploding The Mirage (2020) was cancelled due to the pandemic.

"Everything came to this grinding halt," says frontman Brandon Flowers. "And it was the first time in a long time for me that I was faced with silence. And out of that silence this record began to bloom, full of songs that would have otherwise been too quiet and drowned out by the noise of typical Killers records."

8. Synth-Pop

Screen Violence by Chvrches

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Separated due to restrictions brought about by the pandemic, the members of Scottish synth-pop band Chvrches worked on their fourth album Screen Violence through video calls and online audio-sharing services.

Singer Lauren Mayberry and producer-musician Martin Doherty were in Los Angeles while producer-musician Iain Cook was in Glasgow.

The album includes the single He Said She Said, which Mayberry says was inspired by things men have said to her.

"Like everyone, I've had a lot of time to think and reflect over the past year, to examine experiences I had previously glossed over or deeply buried. I feel like I have spent a lot of my life, personally and professionally, performing the uncomfortable balancing act that is expected of women and it gets more confusing and exhausting the older I get," says the 33-year-old.

9. Heavy Metal

Senjutsu by Iron Maiden

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British metal stalwarts Iron Maiden return with their first album of new songs in six years.

The title of their 17th album, Senjutsu, is a loose translation of the Japanese word for "tactics and strategy".

Frontman Bruce Dickinson says: "We're all really excited about this album. The songs are very varied and some of them are quite long. There're also one or two songs which sound pretty different from our usual style, and I think Maiden fans will be surprised - in a good way, I hope."

10. Dream Pop

Infinite Granite by Deafheaven

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American band Deafheaven move even further from their black metal/shoegaze roots and into dream pop territory on their fifth album, Infinite Granite.

In an interview with Grammy Awards' website, frontman George Clarke says: "I will say that we spent a lot of time on it and I think there's a lot of detail in it that wasn't necessarily present in our other albums. I think we really wanted to work more with nuance this time around."

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