Maybe I am just out of touch with what’s popular, but it felt like this summer was lacking a song to call its own. In May Adam Levine released “This Summer’s Gonna Hurt…,” a slick dance-pop tune with modern-feeling production and a chorus that was super catchy. Shortly after Carly Rae Jepsen released a string of singles from her then-upcoming album “EMOTION,” and most of them were excellent. “All That” sounded like a ballad from the ‘80s and “Come Away With Me” had an amazing anthemic feel to it. However, none of these songs brought people together in the way that a “song of the summer” does.

Fortunately, this summer offered many strong releases. Among them was the new Tame Impala record, titled “Currents.” On this album, Kevin Parker secured a name for himself as a brilliant songwriter and producer. I would listen to “Currents” in my car a lot this summer, and I was always taken aback by the layers of beautiful analog synth sounds, not to mention the crisp drums and catchy melodies.

Also amazing was the new Jamie xx record, “In Colour”. This record has a killer opening track with an epic synth lead. I loved the delicate and spacey textures on this thing, and the collab track with Young Thug, “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times),” made for a nice surprise.

Another huge thing is the release of Dr. Dre’s long awaited third LP, “Compton”. I have not listened to “Compton” yet, but I look forward to it, especially since “Chronic 2001”, his last release, is one of my favorite rap albums of all time. What with the rise of Apple Music, Dre is in mogul mode to say the least, so “Compton” should be an interesting reflection of where he is in his career.

The Internet music world delivered this summer too. Vaporwave legend Eco Virtual released “Atmospheres 4,” which featured a righteous sample of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature”. While vaporwave is not a super popular thing, fans of electronic music sounding super clean and bubbly with nostalgic ‘80s elements might find pleasure in “Atmospheres 4.” Also excellent was “SACRED GROVE ONLINE” by STAQQ OVERFLOW. This release had an extremely high-tech and tribal sound to it. If you like the kind of internet vibe that harkens back to the Windows 95 startup tones, you might like this release, out on Ailanthus Recordings.

Up in Sweden, the hip-hop cyberpunks in Sad Boys Entertainment (SBE) and Gravity Boys (GTB) had a tumultuous summer. The death of “Hippos in Tanks” label owner Barron Machat was a blow to Yung Lean and many other artists in internet music communities. Yung Lean cancelled all of his shows this summer, and one can only speculate that it had something to do with Machat’s death. However, SBE and GTB didn’t let that get in their way, as they released some of their best music to date this summer. Yung Lean released the track “Roses,” one of his moodiest songs, which had excellent production by Whitearmor. GTB rapper Bladee released the most new music this summer out of any of the GTB members, including a fantastic collab with rapper Black Kray on the track “Friday Night,” along with the track “Like a Virgin,” which had more awe-inspiring production by Whitearmor. If you’re into trap rap and are down to bask in the feeling of being misunderstood and dejected, Bladee might be your thing.

Lastly, Cal Chuchesta released his debut mixtape this summer, “The New CALassic”. I have also not listened to it yet, but I am sure it is amazing.

“The summer in music” can mean something different to everybody, but to me, this was a strong summer for music, though one had to dig deep to find it.

Howard is a member of the class of 2017.



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