Marquette Wire

Music’s element of surprise

Following trends, Drake drops album without warning

Infographic+by+Hannah+Feist+hannah.feist%40marquette.edu
Infographic by Hannah Feist hannah.feist@marquette.edu

Infographic by Hannah Feist hannah.feist@marquette.edu

Infographic by Hannah Feist hannah.feist@marquette.edu

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Craving new music for months, or even years, before a release date builds anticipation for many music fans. But what if when refreshing Spotify, a brand new 22-song album was there by surprise? This is what Drake fans experienced March 17.

Drake refers to his latest release, “More Life,” as a playlist rather than an album. His fans have been gifted surprise music before, and they are not alone. Plenty of artists have latched onto the idea of surprise releases while others stick to the traditional format of announcing a release date and slowly releasing singles as the date approaches.

Nikki Svabek, a freshman in the College of Communication, said when release dates are too far away, she tends to forget about them.

“Logging into Spotify and seeing brand new tracks gets me really hyped,” Svabek said.

Beyoncé’s self titled album, released in 2013, was the first surprise drop to set the trend, according to an article in GQ. From putting free music on every Apple device, like U2 did in 2014, to popularizing a new streaming platform like Beyonce did in 2016, the spontaneous release has gotten mostly positive reactions from students.

Svabek listed Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” as one of her favorite surprise releases, saying it was “a true blessing.”

Blessings are exactly what Atlanta-born rapper, Future, had in mind for his fans this year. Within a span of two weeks, Future released not one, but two surprise albums, each 17 songs long.

Rajiv Kalyanaraman, a freshman in the College of Business Administration, praised Future for his albums saying that they are some of the rapper’s best work. Between the 34 songs on both albums, only two of them feature other artists.

Artists of all genres have toyed around with surprise versus planned releases. Flume, an electronic artist, shares singles leading up to his EP, “Skin,” which is set to release in November.

Kalyanaraman expressed love for some of electronic artist Flume’s previous releases, both surprise and planned work.

“No matter what is going on in my life, I can always turn to Flume for his ecstatic drops and jungle feels,” Kalyanaraman said.

One band that has had great success with planned releases is The 1975. The band uses their social media accounts to give small hints to fans.

Their last album came out summer 2016 with a long-awaited release date. While they had a planned date for the new record, they left certain song release dates up in the air. Late 2016, the band tweeted there would be new music in 2017, but revealed no further details.

Other bands, such as the Lumineers, use this technique to keep themselves relevant in the music world,  putting new songs out to lead up to the day of the album release.

Sara Riegler, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, waited for the arrival of one of her favorite albums, “Cleopatra,” by the Lumineers.

“We waited years for it, but it was so worth it,” she said, showing just how satisfying the wait for a much anticipated album can be.

However, Riegler admitted she does not favor one release style to another.

“Surprise albums can be awesome too,” Riegler said. “They are sort of like a surprise gift from your favorite band.”

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