In Earshot: Albums of the summer

Grace Pearson-Thompson, Arcade Editor

graphic of guitar with in earshot written
Emma Vaughters

Every summer without fail, there’s an unspoken battle — especially between pop musicians — between potential songs of the summer. Because of COVID-related delays in music releases, listeners have been seemingly inundated with new content and tour dates. We got “Planet Her” from Doja Cat, Olivia Rodrigo’s stellar debut album, “SOUR” and Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever.” Here’s a roundup of the best albums of summer 2021. 

Our Extended Play”— beabadoobee 

This release is so easy to love for a multitude of reasons. beabadoobee’s latest project was produced and co-written by Matty Healy and George Daniel, members of the band The 1975. The EP remains true to beabadoobee’s lyrical style and retains some elements from her most recent full-length release, “Fake It Flowers.” It also incorporates some key components consistent with The 1975’s more recent pieces. The first song from this EP, “Last Day On Earth,” and the last, “He Gets Me So High,” are reminiscent of The 1975’s “Me & You Together Song.” A sizable portion of beabadoobee’s prior releases, namely “Coffee,” take on a much more somber nature than the four songs from “Our Extended Play. It’ll be interesting to see how beabadoobee incorporates some of the angsty tones characteristic of past releases into her happier songs. 

I Know I’m Funny haha” — Faye Webster

Webster garnered attention in 2019 with her third full-length album, “Atlanta Millionaires Club,” with hits like “Kingston” and “Right Side of My Neck.” Over the course of her career, she has seamlessly blended genres like singer-songwriter, pop and country. The modern-sad-cowgirl-Dolly-Parton-idolizer — I mean, who doesn’t idolize her — would get a kick out of her newest release, “I Know I’m Funny haha.” Webster flawlessly weaves melancholic lyrics with bright, full tones. Her songs “Better Distractions” and “A Dream With a Baseball Player” are perfect examples of that blend, combining a sense of longing with an effortlessly warm ambiance. 

Home Video” — Lucy Dacus

Following the success of her first two albums, “No Burden” and “Historian,” Lucy Dacus’ “Home Video” focuses on her childhood and adolescent years from a retrospective point of view. As college students, many of us know that feeling: revisiting the places we used to love — or hate — growing up, but having a sense of security knowing that we made it out. The album starts with “Hot & Heavy,” opening with the line “being back here makes me hot in the face/hot blood in my pulsing veins/heavy memories weighing on my brain/hot and heavy in the basement of your parents’ place.” “Home Video” is vulnerable, emotional and a perfect space for coming-of-age reflection. 

Solar Power” — Lorde 

Lorde’s newest album, following the bittersweetness of “Pure Heroine” and “Melodrama,” seemed to start off on the wrong foot. The first single from the album, also titled “Solar Power,” was met with an air of disappointment. It seemed like listeners were waiting for a sorrowful song about growing up, similar to “Ribsfrom her first album and “Liabilityfrom her second. “Solar Power,” both song and album, is a total pivot from Lorde’s past releases. Listeners who needed a song about coming-of-age confusion similar to “Perfect Places” from Lorde’s second album, “Melodrama,” will certainly be satisfied by “Stoned at the Nail Salonwhich perfectly encapsulates the sense of being lost as a young adult — loving the life you have, but not knowing where it’s headed. 

Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night” — Bleachers 

The god of pop music himself, Jack Antonoff, engineered yet another no-skip album. How Antonoff and the other members of Bleachers were able to accomplish this while producing for other powerhouses like Taylor Swift, Lorde and Lana Del Rey, I will never know. Some songs from this album retain the same liberating tone as past releases, namely “I Wanna Get Better” and “Rollercoaster”— if you liked either of those songs, “Stop Making This Hurt” and “Big Life” from Bleachers’ most recent release will be on repeat. Other songs off of this album are more melancholic, like “Strange Behaviorand “What’d I Do With All This Faith?” To top off an album that feels almost too perfect, Bleachers collaborated with icon Bruce Springsteen to create “Chinatownand with Lana Del Rey on “Secret Life.”