Top 5 summer 2021 albums

Diverse summer releases to check out

Fair use from Fader Label

Fair use from Fader Label

Modesty Manion

This past summer has been very eventful in the music industry. Although the COVID-19 pandemic and the Delta variant have put a damper on usual summer activities, they have not affected the number of albums released over the past few months. If you’re looking for new music to listen to this fall, check out these albums.

‘Sling’ – Clairo

In this album, Clairo transitions from the bedroom pop style of diary 001’ and the indie rock sound of ‘Immunity’, to a more acoustic, retro, yacht rock feel in ‘Sling’. The 70’s influence in songs like “Amoeba,” “Partridge,” “Bambi” and “Reaper” manifests in the guitar riffs, slow bass patterns, and unique percussion styles. These songs are reminiscent of bands like Pink Floyd, The Grateful Dead and Steely Dan, whereas the song “Zinnias” has guitar and keyboards similar to that of ‘Remain In Light’-era Talking Heads. Additionally, songs “Partridge” and “Joanie” have keyboards that seem to draw inspiration from the late 60s. Overall, ‘Sling’ is an extremely diverse collection of songs that have multiple aspects of three decades of music. It seems risky for Clairo to turn away from her classic soft indie sound, but she has proven that she is not a one-trick pony when it comes to her craft.

Highlights: “Amoeba,” “Partridge,” “Blouse”


Fair use from Secretly Canadian

‘I Know I’m Funny haha’ – Faye Webster   

Faye Webster is a softer indie artist whose sound is similar to Phoebe Bridgers, with a more acoustic twist. Her new album, ‘I Know I’m Funny haha’, has a mostly bedroom pop sound, with a hint of indie rock. With slow, mellow songs like “A Stranger,” “In A Good Way,” and “Half of Me,” Webster doesn’t stray far from the style of her previous album, ‘Atlanta Millionaires Club’. The title track provides a template for most of the album: harmonized, slow and comforting. However, the song “Cheers” provides more upbeat energy, with heavier bass and a beautiful guitar riff creating a standout song on this album. “A Dream With A Baseball Player” incorporates a jazzy horn section into the chorus, making it another notable song on this release. Many of Webster’s songs nod to country music by including a pedal steel guitar, creating a sound comparable to artists like First Aid Kit and George Harrison. 

Although Webster’s music isn’t the carefree pop style one might listen to in the summer, her unique sound lands ‘I Know I’m Funny haha’ on this list. With only a little over a million monthly listeners on Spotify, Faye Webster continues to impress the indie and bedroom pop communities with her distinct voice and easy-listening style of music.

Highlights: “Cheers,” “A Dream With A Baseball Player,” “Better Distractions”


‘lately I feel EVERYTHING’ – WILLOW

After 10 years in the music industry, WILLOW continues to amaze with her newest release, ‘lately I feel EVERYTHING’. The entire album alludes to the late 90’s and early 2000’s era of pop-punk. Songs like “Gaslight,” “naïve,” and “XTRA” are inspired by bands of the genre such as Fall Out Boy, Sum 41, Harvey Danger and Paramore. Additionally, Travis Barker of Blink-182’s drumming on several of WILLOW’s tracks (and even a feature from Avril Lavigne) creates an even more authentically pop-punk sound. WILLOW’s use of beautifully layered vocals and melodic guitar playing adds her own modern twist to a genre about as old as her. Almost every song is an upbeat headbanger, like the instant hit “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l,” originally released as a single. Considering WILLOW has basically grown up in the music industry, it’s no surprise that she is experimenting with her sound. The combination of WILLOW’s incredible voice, songwriting and guitar skills, along with Travis Barker’s amazing drumming, creates a modern pop-punk album that has no skips. Although different from her previous work, ‘lately I feel EVERYTHING’ is an extraordinary addition to WILLOW’s discography.

Highlights: “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l,” “4ever,” “Gaslight”


‘CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST’ – Tyler, The Creator

In ‘CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST’, Tyler combines 60’s and 70’s themes and modern mixing with his classic style of rap and background vocals. Songs like “SIR BAUDELAIRE,” “MASSA,” and “SAFARI” especially exemplify this retro feel. Additionally, “HOT WIND BLOWS” combines vacation-style 60’s bossa nova with modern rap —  a new concept in the music industry. Late 70’s reggae can even be heard in the second half of “SWEET / I THOUGHT YOU WANTED TO DANCE.” The album samples a total of 14 vintage songs and uses a flute throughout to really push the vintage motifs. Like ‘IGOR’ and albums from bands like Pink Floyd and The Avalanches, the songs of ‘CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST’ bleed together, creating a seamless transition from one song to the next. The album includes similar types of melodies as ‘IGOR’, while still incorporating more rap aspects than Tyler’s 2019 release. Another difference between the two albums is the fact that ‘CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST’ includes various big-name features, from artists such as Lil Wayne, Lil Uzi Vert and Pharrell Williams. This album is a bit different from his previous work, but listeners can definitely tell that Tyler, The Creator wrote and mixed these songs. 



‘Daddy’s Home’ – St. Vincent

‘Daddy’s Home’ is the sixth album in St. Vincent, also known as Annie Clark’s, discography. This album pays homage to the pop, synth, rock, blues and funk sounds of the early 70s, with influences such as the 5th dimension, Pink Floyd and a ‘Magical Mystery Tour’- era Beatles. “Live In A Dream” specifically has a very psychedelic, dreamy feel to it, brought on by the use of guitars pedals, keyboards, synthesizers and a sitar. The use of a background chorus in songs “Pay Your Way In Pain,” “Down And Out Downtown” and “The Melting of the Sun” adds to their retro sound. “Down” is more of a pop song, with interesting sitar riffs that make it hard to stop listening to. The use of modern electronic synthesizers with retro-style guitar riffs and the incorporation of the Indian sitar in ‘Daddy’s Home’ creates a unique sound that feels old and new all at the same time.

Highlights: “Pay Your Way In Pain,” “Melting of the Sun,” “Down”