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  • The Current UMSL

Summer Music Recap

Lauren Johns

By the time this article is published, summertime will have faded into obscurity, paving the way for a season of skydiving leaves, oversized cardigans and a disturbing amount of pumpkin flavoring. Summer may be over, but the music isn’t. Here are some glorious tunes released during the summer months that you can appreciate indefinitely.

To start off, a beloved childhood classic that has been revamped for the silver screen: Barbie. We all know the movie is a no-Skipper, but is the playlist?

  • “Barbie World” song, feat. Nicki Minaj, Ice Spice and Aqua (the original vocalists for “Barbie Girl”). The sampled bit was looped and expertly placed as a background element to the beat and vocals. However, since I’m not much of a Hip-Hop fan, this will not be a repeat favorite.

  • “Choose Your Fighter” by Ava Max is the epitome of sugary pop, but I enjoyed it for what it represented. It felt nostalgic somehow, like it could’ve been plucked from an animated Barbie film from the early 2000’s, either that or something Bratz related.

  • “I’m just Ken”, sung by Ryan Gosling, makes me chuckle every time I hear it. I also recall the Grease inspired dance number from the film and it puts me in a good mood for the day.

  • “Dance the Night” by Dua Lipa: I love the explosiveness of the synthetic violins and vocals like liquid gold.

  • “What was I made for?”, by Billie Eilish: I have no clue how to answer that question in an existential sense, but I know that the song itself was made for the purpose of the movie and doesn’t work as a standalone listen. As beautiful as it is, the song sounds a lot like other material Billie has released in the past.

Next up, we all know the hype surrounding Taylor Swift and her Era’s Tour, only affordable for those with high speed internet and more than 10 dollars in their savings. In July, she released the re-recorded version of her 2010 album ‘Speak Now’ and the internet exploded. Along with the excitement, came some controversy regarding a lyric change in her song “Better Than Revenge”. The line, “she’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress”, was changed to, “he was a moth to the flame, she was holding the matches.” In my opinion, her re-releases are almost like Disney live action remakes, we’ve already heard/watched the originals so why do we need the new ones to be picture perfect replicas?

Some highlights from this album are:

  • “Foolish One” (from the vault): It feels like something that could’ve been included on her debut album, despite lacking the twang. The idea that she occasionally returns to her roots—no large production, just a girl and her guitar—is a pleasant surprise.

  • “I Can See You” (from the vault): I cannot imagine her creating this song in her late teen years but she keeps us on our toes. The guitar intro has surf rock vibes and reminds me of the song “Island in the Sun” by Weezer.

  • Every song she re-recorded is a favorite of mine. 'Nuff said.

If you’ve never heard of Olivia Rodrigo, drop everything and go listen to her music. She’s created a mini legacy off of her punk rock revivals and beautifully somber ballads. I won’t dive too much into her music here (I will review it in another article), but her album ‘GUTS’ which was released earlier this month, blends genres flawlessly.

Notable favorites:

  • “Pretty isn’t Pretty”

  • “the grudge”

  • "lacy"

  • “get him back!”

Moving off of the mainstream artist section, if you like retro synths and indie flair, you should look up the band, ‘Weathers’. In May, they released an album called ‘Are we Having Fun Yet?’ I realize May isn’t technically summertime, but this album was the highlight of my summer, so it counts.

If you’re too “busy” to listen to the album all the way through, here are some of my favorites:

  • “She Hates Me”: Driven by sparkling synths and staccato rhythms, the song tells of the age-old dilemma; should I maintain this relationship or take time to work on myself?

  • “One of A Kind”: This band does a great job with authenticity. They are never afraid to push boundaries with lyrics, especially in relation to the singer’s struggles with mental health. The chorus: “I wanna drive my car off a bridge (like their album art), I do this all the time, I spiral out of line, I’m one of a kind.” It’s a banger with outlandish yet thought provoking lyrics.

  • “ALL CAPS” (feat. John The Ghost): This is mainstream for the non-mainstream, it’s super catchy and fun to sing along to.

  • “Goodbye To My Friends”: If you’re in a sad hour kind of mood, turn this on. It’s a bittersweet nostalgia for past childhood friends (my interpretation). Musicality wise, the notes shimmer and fall down the octave like raindrops on a window.

A few honorable album mentions:

  • ‘Snow Queen’ by Renée Rapp: You may know her as the girl who starred in the show, “Sex Lives of College Girls” on HBO Max.

  • ‘Sour’ by Echosmith: Aka the band that created “Cool Kids”.


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