What’s a day at the beach without a boombox? What’s a skate down the boardwalk without jamming to your favorite tunes? What’s a windows-down, hands-out-the-side, highway drive without a song to set the mood? Music is as summer as swim trunks, the Fourth of July, and ice cream. In the stifling summer heat, the AC will soothe our hot skin while music will keep us feeling cool in both senses of the word. As we shed layers and don sunglasses, there are a few artists to listen for as they make a splash in their respective airwaves this summer season.
In 2015, when electropop singer Halsey released her self-described “angry female record” debut album Badlands, it was immediately clear the singer wanted to connect with listeners. Conceptually, she challenged viewers with video components that artfully brought metaphors in song to life in film. Lyrically, she treaded on and transitioned between the bounds of self-aware satire and earnest emotional strife. During an interview with Complex, Halsey described the overarching idea behind all of Badlands as “creating a space with sound.” All these ideas and concepts Halsey explored within the confines of her catchy pop style. After her contribution to The Chainsmokers’ hit “Closer” in the summer of 2016, and collaboration with Justin Bieber, Halsey solidified herself as an artist we are likely to hear from more and more.
Looking to her second album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, this June, the idea of an art that transcends the music itself will continue. Her social media campaign for the album includes mature themes and strife. In an interview with iHeartRadio, Halsey described the upcoming album as capturing the idea that there are “two people who want to be in love so badly they’re willing to change themselves for their love and in doing so, they let the real versions of themselves die.”
Bound to be heady, sincere, and thoughtful, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom is important for two reasons. First, we will see how Halsey continues to interact with listeners in a social media market that can be difficult to keep up on. Second, it will be an opportunity for Halsey to differentiate herself from the collaborative pop mainstream she has been in communion with thus far.
In summer 2017, the word “finally” comes to mind as several other artists will be releasing their next installments after long stretches of silence. This summer will also see the release of another highly-anticipated sophomore album. The sister trio HAIM has been working on its forthcoming album since the release of 2013’s Days Are Gone. The infectious album saw success with singles “The Wire,” “Forever,” and “Don’t Save Me.” Its glossy sound created a kind of free, airy pop that takes, melds, and meshes influences from Stevie Nicks to Phil Collins.
HAIM said in an interview with Rolling Stone that fans can expect a more organic sounding album, likely to contrast with the use of synth and harsh baseline movements seen in Days Are Gone. Bassist Este Haim said of the album: “You don’t even know what’s coming for you. I’m warning you. You. Don’t. Even. Know.”
Originally scheduled for 2015, then pushed back to 2016, we can finally say Beck’s latest album will be coming in 2017. After his Album of the Year Grammy win in 2015, Beck seemed set to take it back to the studio to unleash even more. But some things are worth waiting for patiently.
Speaking with New Musical Express, Beck described the album as free-flowing and explorative.
“This record has felt like a lot of freedom, as I’ve had time to work things out and try things,” Beck said. “I’ll go too far in one direction, then go too far in another.”
While the avant-garde, no-holes-barred behavior is not surprising coming from Beck, it nonetheless instills excitement in fans wondering what he has conjured up next.
In the rap world with Eminem, Pusha T, Jay Z, and Kendrick Lamar all with new material rumored or already on the way, this is like to give fans enough to heighten days at the beach this year. With Eminem and Jay Z both coming off of stretches without releasing solo work (2013 for both), such contributions will likely cause waves inside and outside the genre.
There is much music to be listened to this summer, and more talent always pouring in to bring even more shine onto our summer days. Whether it be Lorde’s new album, Linkin Park’s latest jam, or Taylor Swift’s annual sugary contribution, our hours of summer sounds are most certainly endless even if our days of summer might be numbered.
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