The Rayflector

Albums of the Summer

Rae DeBoe and Skylar Helm

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Summer is a time for wild nights and loud music. Therefore, it only makes sense for the summertime to be filled with great albums that shape our year. Staff member Skylar Helm curated the following list of best summer albums, while web editor Rae DeBoe wrote the reviews following them.


Flower Boy – Tyler, The Creator //July 21//


Tyler, The Creator’s fourth album was absolute gold. He’s known for making music that is controversial, which is the was the most memorable facet of his early albums. However, “Flower Boy” is different. It’s inclusive, personal, and downright beautiful. Songs like “Where This Flower Blooms” show how Tyler has matured as an artist. Shorter than the average Tyler, The Creator record, “Flower Boy” shines with clarity. This different take, while being fresh and unexpected, is also distinctly Tyler. This album is very important to his discography as well as this summer’s music scene.


Drowtopwop – Gucci Mane //May 26//


Thank you, Metro Boomin. Metro is the hit-making producer behind Gucci Mane’s release, which is undoubtedly the most cohesive and best piece of work that the rapper has done since his prison stint. “Finesse the Plug Interlude” is so well built that it is nearly scary. “Tho Freestyle” and “Helpless” are both maddeningly dark while still feeling well placed on the relatively lighthearted album. A contribution to today’s hip-hop, the album was refreshing and a great release for the summer.


Melodrama – Lorde //June 16//


Gorgeous is the first word that comes to my mind while listening to Lorde’s second album. Her first was mediocre; bangers hidden in between immature mixes and a blend of songs that didn’t entirely make sense together. This second album, however, is more clear in direction and style. The debut single, “Green Light,” introduced this new era of Lorde beautifully. “Melodrama” is the memoir of a woman, any woman, as she grows into someone that she can truly be proud of. The road is rough and painted in blood, as shown in tracks such as “Writers in the Winter,” “Liability,” and “Hard Feelings/Loveless.” No matter how dark the road is, “Melodrama” introduces the Ella O’Connor that deserves the spotlight she has.


Lust for Life – Lana Del Rey //July 21//


This is Lana. She’s ambient and leaves listeners feeling drunk or high or otherwise non sober. She limps through songs like she’s tired or hurt or maybe even dying, but somehow, she powers through albums like a queen. “Lust for Life” was Del Rey’s happy album, even though with slow, waltzing beats and crooning vocals, it would have been easy to assume that this is the same somber Lana that we’ve known since “Video Games.” With a sound that is her own and always will be, Del Rey leaves audiences swaying, clutching a person they love, and embracing their lust for life.


Harry Styles – Harry Styles //May 12//


It doesn’t matter. It didn’t make a difference whether you sang your heart out to One Direction, only nodded along softly to their songs when they came on the radio, or threw your phone across the room at just the sight of the five (eventually four) Europeans. No matter who you are, Harry Styles dropped a self titled album that was undeniably beautiful. From the Bowie-esque single “Sign of the Times” to loud and proud “Kiwi” to emotionally draining “Two Ghosts,” the album shined as a record that was divinely out of its time. An instant classic and beautiful solo effort, Styles’ album serves as the perfect soundtrack to life. Drink hot chocolate by the fire with “Meet Me In The Hallway” playing, or drive down Blue Ridge with all the windows down blasting “Carolina.” This album is perfection.


4:44 – Jay Z //June 30//


You’re a liar if you say you weren’t waiting for this one. It had been four years since anything new had come from Jay, and though the release was unexpected, the world rejoiced. “Kill Jay Z” was the opening track, opening the album with just the amount of drama that listeners could have been expecting. This comes to a climax at the album’s title track, where Jay Z finally addressed the cheating rumors that have been swarming since Beyonce’s “Lemonade.” The track “MaNyfaCedGod” also addressed this and resolved the problems that were brought up in his wife’s record. A nice addition to the hip-hop community, the album showed Jay’s individualistic and emotional side and is further proof of why the throne is his.


Do you see any albums on this list that you don’t agree with? Can you think of other albums from this summer that belong on this list? Leave a comment below and share this story on social media.

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Albums of the Summer