Best Albums of Summer 2017

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The word “summer” alone is enough to excite anyone. Associated with vacation, relaxation, and the idea that for three months, you get to be 100% carefree. When you pair it with “new music”, though, and your carefree days get a whole lot better. Summer 2017 was full of new drops. From both artists we know and love, and new kids around the block, here are the best albums of the summer.    

 

Lana Del Rey, Lust for Life

Release Date: July 21

Right from the title, Lana Del Rey delivers something that we haven’t really seen in her past albums: hope. In Lust for Life, each track provides a comforting reassurance, like sunshine on a cloudy day. She gives us a taste of the bittersweet treat known as love (Love) and how it feels to be carefree (Lust for Life). By the final two tracks (Change and Get Free), she solidifies her message that life is worth living, with a vow to move out and free herself of darkness.

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Lorde, Melodrama

Release Date: June 16

Before I say anything, I will say this: Welcome Back. After (finally) returning to us, Lorde gives us Melodrama; and her heart is on her sleeve. She tells a raw, home-hitting, confession of what she feels she means to others (Liability), which isn’t much of anything. Although not fragile (Homemade Dynamite), she calls out that her heart and soul need to be handled with care (Hard Feelings/Loveless). She’s exposed her deepest insecurities with us, but that doesn’t come without an element of fearlessness; leaving us with the knowledge that she’s back and louder than ever.

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HAIM, Something To Tell You

Release Date: July 7

Our favorite trio of sisters came back to us with Something to Tell You, a confessional ranging from remorseful apologies (Something To Tell You) and intense regrets (Ready For You), to the pain of being forgotten (Kept Me Crying) and demands for explanations (You Never Knew). The sisters backed their vocals by playing their own instruments: Este on bass, Alana on guitar and keyboard, and Danielle as the lead singer, also on guitar. The talented trio pushes boundaries, redefining what “alternative” sound is with each track.

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Brockhampton, Saturation II

Release Date; August 25

“Boy band” Brockhampton took the world by storm this summer, releasing Saturation II only a little under 3 months after their first album, Saturation. With cult leader Kevin Abstract, and rappers Ameer Vann, Dom McLennon, Merlyn Wood, and Matt Champion over diverse and unconventional beats, it isn’t hard for them to separate themselves from other rap groups. Each artist speaks up on their personal experiences, struggles, and regrets (Swamp and Junky), while also delving into what it feels like and means to love (Gamba and Summer). They amplify the message to “Be Yourself”, making it mean more than simply “following your dreams” and “not taking ‘no’ for an answer”. Embrace your differences and transform them into strengths, like being black and gay or having a warrant out.

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Tyler the Creator, Flower Boy

Release Date: July 21

A long anticipated drop this summer was from Tyler, the Creator. Flower Boy gives us a form of intimacy that we really haven’t received from Tyler before. You’ll long to be loved after hearing the track See You Again, and be reminded of the best time of your life, wish that you could relive it again and again (November). We do get a taste of classic, outside-the-box Tyler (Who Dat Boy), but this album signifies growth, awakening, and most importantly, freedom. We’ve always known that Tyler simply doesn’t care about pushing limits of conventionality, but he broke out of his own comfort zone here, and this coming out is definitely an important listen.

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Jay-Z, 4:44

Release Date: June 30

Who other than HOV to make history in music once again? 4:44 is a tell all album, speaking on what it’s like being the most powerful man in the game (and having the most powerful woman by your side). Jay-Z peels back one layer of himself after the other, diving into cheating on Beyonce and the strain it put on their family, proving that success means nothing when the ones that you love are hurting (Smile and Family Feud). One of the most important tracks on the album, The Story of OJ, reminds us that even the highest status in this world doesn’t matter if you’re black, because that’s what you’ll always be seen as. He also expresses his wish for change within rap (Moonlight), calling for a cease to the same old tired discriminative rhetoric.

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Daniel Caesar, Freudian

Release Date: August 25

As if his single, Get You wasn’t enough to tear our hearts in two yet heal them at the same time, Daniel Caesar blessed us with Freudian, and gave us all of the parts of love that we deep down so desperately crave. He describes all of the sweet parts of his lover and the perks of caring for another over both funky and docile beats. Giving someone your heart is anything but easy, yet he conveys that it is worth it, and proves it as two people who combine their souls make for a force that is invincible. Being in love is messy and confusing (Blessed), but nourishes your most intimate parts, so much so that it is unimaginable living a life without feeling the phenomenon.

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Vince Staples, Big Fish Theory

Release Date: June 23

Big Fish Theory breaks all the rules of conventional hip-hop. Techno, futuristic beats propel us into a dimension not yet defined, much like his sound. He rides on the infinite (BagBak), unable to be tied down by what’s expected of him and strives to obtain all that he wants (including a woman as rich in complexion as him). He speaks of wanting a timeless concept: the finer things in life, the hardest to obtain being love (745). On the final track, Rain Come Down, he makes his presence known, and lets us know that he’ll continue to do so, all by himself.

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SZA, Ctrl

Release Date: Jun 9

SZA delivers on her highly anticipated Ctrl, teased by her single Love Galore ft. Travis Scott. She cuts deep, her blood releasing in both erratic spurts, and a continuous flow. Her deepest insecurities (Supermodel and Drew Barrymore) resonate with listeners, as we all strive to be enough for others, often overlooking what we truly need. She also relays clots of confidence (Doves in the Wind and Weekend), reminding herself that it is often not her that is the problem in relationships; as long as she’s holding it down and being true to both herself and her partner, how can she be to blame? She holds both tight and flimsy grips on her emotions, sparingly using ad libs to stress the importance of control.

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Ke$ha, Rainbow

Release Date: August 11

It’s hard not to be proud of Kesha for breaking through of years of constraint, abuse, and forced silence. If that alone doesn't make you want to cheer her name, Rainbow will. Her strength and resilience are as vibrant as ever in this fun, emotional rollercoaster ride of an album. Her raw vocals and lyrics over piano in Praying and Rainbow tell a tale of fighting through hell and coming back victorious. She wishes her enemies the best of luck, unbothered by their attempts to shoot her down (Bastards and Let ‘Em Talk). She empowers herself (Woman), encouraging others to do the same. It’s evident that she’ll never raise her white flag. If that’s what people are waiting for, they’ll be around for quite a while.

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