As any former high school performing arts student will tell you, music is a way of life. While I’ve moved away from orchestra and Broadway musicals since high school, my Spotify Wrapped will clearly show that I’m still entrenched in music. The “I listen to everything” cliché is almost true when it comes to my music taste, and while I’m not proclaiming myself the end-all-be-all of critiquing music, I do have some ideas of what good music is.
I can’t predict every music shift that we’ll see over the course of the summer, what with TikTok trends rapidly falling in and out of style, the boundless music releases to come, and whatever Emma Chamberlain decides is trendy. However, we are already seeing some clear front runners for those summer nights and road trips.
First is our category of new music that we’ve seen in the last month, as well as releases that we are waiting for in the coming weeks. These songs will inevitably be popular throughout the summer just because of their newness and popularity.
- Fearless (Taylor’s Version) – Taylor Swift
- This album is a re-recording of Swift’s second album under her name that brings to life many of the classic Swift songs we’ve grown up listening to. It also includes some new releases from the same era, such as my personal favorite, “Mr. Perfectly Fine.”
- “Levitating” – Dua Lipa
- This song has already splashed into fame on TikTok in a new trend. Besides the trend, however, the song is insanely catchy and fun.
- Sour – Olivia Rodrigo
- Scaled and Icy – Twenty One Pilots
- This album came out on May 21st as well, and the band had previously released a single from it titled “Shy Away.” From the sneak peak we’ve gotten, I would say that this album will appeal to indie pop and alternative rock fans anywhere.
- “MONTERO (Call Me by Your Name)” – Lil Nas X
- This song has already created significant drama, but nonetheless, it is catchy and worthy of summer fame. It seems to have the promise that “Old Town Road” exemplified in 2019.
- OK Orchestra – AJR
- AJR’s music isn’t for everyone, but if you do enjoy energetic songs with strong beats and layered instrumentals, then I think you will really enjoy their latest album. This album is best listened to in order, at least the first time around, so a word of caution to those of you who throw every album on shuffle. Their music is very lively and invokes a burst of enthusiasm every time I listen to it.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but more of a taste of the new music we’ll be seeing and enjoying in the coming summer months.
Now, I’d like to move on to songs and artists that just have that summer feel. This category is a little more subjective depending on what you think of when you picture summer. My list doesn’t focus on a particular genre, but rather on a feeling that I strongly associate with sunburns, sand, and copious amounts of free time.
- Nothing Happens – Wallows
- This album was released in 2019, and it features the song “Are You Bored Yet?”, which some people might remember from its lengthy stint on TikTok during 2020. The entire album has a lowkey pop feel, while maintaining a very chill vibe.
- Cavetown is a pop singer-songwriter who started up in 2015, but has gained traction and risen to the forefront of many a playlist in the past couple of years. Their songs encompass joy, heartbreak, and the feeling of sitting on a porch and looking at the stars while crickets and frogs raise a symphony in the dark. They are the perfect addition to a low key summer playlist.
- You and Your Friends – Peach Pit
- Peach Pit is an indie pop band that came to my attention over the last two years and has lived in my head rent-free ever since. Munson Fellow Sean Wirt is also an avid Peach Pit fan, so if you need a second opinion, just ask him. I find Peach Pit’s music to have its own unique style that I associate with warmth and the sun.
- dawn & dusk – mxmtoon
- This album came out in 2020 and has a distinctly calm feeling that puts me at peace. mxmtoon’s music ranges from real tearjerkers to more lighthearted and energetic songs, but all of them are appropriate for driving with the windows down and the smell of a breeze blowing over you.
Finally, we’ve come to the ultimate category: timeless classics. These are the songs that we were raised on and heard blaring from the radio through the summers of our childhood. They don’t have an expiration date and they need no explanation. These are the songs that will never fail to please on a road trip or a beach day with your friends.
- “Mr. Brightside” – The Killers
- “Life is a Highway” – Rascal Flatts
- “Island in the Sun” – Weezer
- “Viva La Vida” – Coldplay
- “September” – Earth, Wind & Fire
- “Semi-Charmed Life” – Third Eye Blind
- “Shotgun” – George Ezra
- “Hey, Soul Sister” – Train
- “Party in the U.S.A.” – Miley Cyrus
- “All Star” – Smash Mouth (I feel like I might get some backlash on this one!)
- “Summer of ‘69” – Bryan Adams
- “Everybody Talks” – Neon Trees
- “Timber” – Pitbull, Ke$ha
- “Ho Hey” – The Lumineers
- “Pumped Up Kicks” – Foster The People
Of course, you can feel free to disagree with these lists or even add additional music to them, but regardless, I think we will definitely be seeing these songs now that finals week has wrapped up and students have moved out of residence halls to kick off their summers!
- “New Starts, New Semesters, New Year’s Resolutions” by Alex Stone - October 7, 2021
- “The It-List of Summer Hits” by Abigail McGraw - June 1, 2021
- “Nico’s Adventure” by Jenny Gloyd - May 25, 2021