As we transition from the long car rides and lazy days of summer into the fast-paced hustle and bustle of the new school year, we’re at a sort of crossroads.
Do we still want to jam out to the same music that evokes the easy-living of the summer, or do we want to change our tune and listen to music that helps us to remain motivated, energized and on-point for whatever this stressful semester decides to throw at us?
I’ve compiled a list of some albums released this year that are not only some wonderful bops and bangers, but, I believe, provide a balanced blend of different sounds to space out to, whether it’s in the dorm, the library or a weekend road trip out of town.
Hippo Campus, a rock band from St. Paul, Minn., came out with “Landmark” this year—an album that ranges from light, airy sing-alongs to songs that are more experimental and raw. Tracks seamlessly transition, and all throughout the album there is a universal catchiness. Summer-y and sweet, it’s also a chill listen that can be great studying music.
An album that received much anticipation prior to its release was Lorde’s “Melodrama.” Lorde comes close to reaching the same magnitude as her first album with this one, as it provides an introspective lens on gut-wrenching heartbreak, love and budding maturity.
It’s a voyage from one end of a relationship to the next, and Lorde navigates this with her signature dark undertones, mixed with infectious beats and very relatable lyrics.
“Lust for Life” by Lana Del Rey is easily my favorite album of the year. This album is perfect for any long drive, intimate evening or weeknight spent zoning out on your bed. Infused with hip-hop, jazz and hues of Hollywood film noir, it’s also socially-woke, and there’s a broad spectrum of sounds that the album provides.
To give perspective on its sheer variety, Del Rey features people like A$AP Rocky and The Weeknd, alongside Stevie Nicks and Sean Ono Lennon—is there any sound this album doesn’t give?
Equally an album that helps me focus, and is chilled and breezy, is“ GALLERY” by A R I Z O N A, an electronic rock band. Most of it sounds as if you’re on a spaceship orbiting the moon, and the songs connect straight to the heart. The beats are a perfect backdrop for any setting and compliment virtually every mood.
I just recently discovered this one, but “Things I’ve Never Said” by Frances, an English singer-songwriter, is a definite hidden gem. A powerful, low-key collection of songs, this album features some songs that are more upbeat than others, but all manage to pack a punch. There’s a certain level of endearing truthfulness that permeates the whole thing.
My sixth and final suggestion is “You’re Welcome,” an album by the low-fi rock band, Wavves. Beachy and edgy, the songs are perfectly fast-paced, and all are pure, anthemic bangers—amazing to begin your day, or your coveted weekend.