With summer nearing its end, it’s important to reflect on everything it has brought us as we prepare for fall — especially the music. Out of the countless new releases from music’s newcomers and veterans alike, audiences plugged their headphones into great tunes this season. Here are the reigning champions of summer music.
“Dua Lipa” by Dua Lipa
Although her album, released June 2, was an early entry into the top summer music contest, Dua Lipa is rewriting the rules of pop and making a name for herself in the global music scene.
After gaining recognition with the album’s first single, “Lost in Your Light,” featuring rhythm and blues singer Miguel, her entire album shows a full brevity in Lipa’s ability as an artist.
“New Rules” is for every person going through the challenge of moving on from an ex — and acknowledging that it’s never a perfect process. Her vocal range in the track allows the song to adopt not only a pop sound but also brings in hip-hop and R&B influences.
The best part about Lipa’s music is that it’s a breath of fresh air for pop fans because she’s releasing tracks that break the pop mold and that listeners will actually enjoy, rather than focusing on putting out a track that will simply get on the charts.
“Ctrl” by SZA
If you haven’t been humming along to the lyrics “You like nine to five/I’m the weekend,” from the song “The Weekend,” you haven’t been plugging your headphones into what is arguably one of the best releases by a female artist this season.
Following the releases of several extended plays like “Z,” released in 2014, “Ctrl” is SZA’s debut album and has shaken up the R&B and hip-hop scenes. This summer has brought female artists to the foreground of both genres, not only for their artistic ability but for their originality as well.
“Love Galore,” featuring rising rap artist Travis Scott, has a clean beat that doesn’t drown out SZA’s great vocals and is the perfect song to turn up the volume to, despite Scott’s verses being slightly overproduced. Most of SZA’s songs add a twist to the typical narrative of heartache and strained relationships that keep listeners interested while remaining relatable.
Overall, SZA is a force to be reckoned with in the hip-hop arena.
“Evolve” by Imagine Dragons
Even though it seems like alternative rock band Imagine Dragons can’t replicate the success of their debut album, “Night Visions,” their new album is promising.
“Evolve,” which was released June 23, features singles “Believer” and “Thunder” that have been weekslong residents on the charts. Although “Believer” and “Thunder” eerily resemble the most popular singles from their first album — “Radioactive” and “It’s Time,” respectively — it does seem like the band is slowly evolving (pun intended).
“Walking The Wire” and “Rise Up” are uplifting anthems that have become synonymous with Imagine Dragons for the inspirational lyrics, heavy percussion and raspy, echoed vocals.
For fans of rock that can’t help rolling their eyes when their friends turn up “Despacito” for the umpteenth time, this album came at the perfect time. I am a believer that this is one of the best albums of the summer.
“Slide” by Calvin Harris
I want to preface this by saying I know that “Slide” was released in February, but the track set the tone for both Harris’ album “Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1” and summer music altogether.
Listeners are able to forget about the catchy yet irritating electronic dance music tracks that ruled the charts last summer. Harris was able to create and establish an audience for a new kind of EDM, one that blended psychedelic beats and rhythms found in ‘70s-era music.
Featuring the soulful vocal stylings of hip-hop artist Frank Ocean and smooth verses from rap trio Migos, “Slide” is a feel-good song for music fans to soak in the sun. Over all the tracks gracing radio stations — like DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts” and “I’m the One” — this song wins song of the summer in my book.