New Albums of the Summer

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Jacqueline Paduano, Managing Editor

Despite interesting times due to a world reawakening from COVID restrictions, the summer of 2021 has had some of the best releases for the music industry in a while, hands down. The industry was seemingly dormant for a long time, with not many radio hits coming out to play, but the summer heat seemed to incite a mass amount of hits. Now that fall has arrived, it’s time to recap some of the most influential and awaited releases.

First up is Billie Eilish’s second studio album, Happier Than Ever. Since her debut, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? fans and critics alike were eager to get their hands on some new Billie content. 

On July 30th, the album dropped, and it was widely wellreceived. The album itself was extremely diverse, with songs of many different genres making their appearances. Her titular song, “Happier Than Ever,” was praised for its range and portrayal of Billie’s growth as an artist. Critics raved about the newfound maturity in her songwriting and explained that the depth of the album was immense. 

Next, we have Solar Power by Lorde. The third studio album from the artist was released on August 20th and it was highly anticipated by fans since Lorde has been quiet for a long time regarding new releases. 

However, with Solar Power, Lorde’s tone took a total 180 from her usual discography and has a wistful and floaty tone to it. The album was mostly positively received, but there were many appraisals from critics. It emphasizes Lorde’s celebrity crisis and her struggle to grapple with the fame she has received, but it is made clear by many critics that the album is overall a little too self-aware and tries slightly too hard to back off from being performative.

A release that was delayed throughout the summer but still widely anticipated was Donda by Kanye West. Many false release dates and a massive release party later, Donda was officially released on August 29th. Although this album was thought to be another one of Kanye’s breakthrough works, critics argued on its validity. 

Some critics raved that the soul and passion put into the album made it worth the listen, while others felt that many elements were rushed and the final product was way too repetitive and messy. 

An example of this is Kanye’s song, “Jail” having a part two, titled “Jail pt 2,” which made many listeners upset as it was almost an exact replica of its first counterpart. Overall, the verdict was that Donda had its absolute gems, like “Moon” and “Off The Grid,”. However, it’s arguably some of Kanye’s best in his discography and some of his worst as well.

Finally, we have Certified Lover Boy by Drake. This release had very high expectations as it was meant to compete with Kanye’s Donda. Overall, though, it failed to meet all of those expectations. 

Similar to Donda, Certified Lover Boy had its high points, such as “IMY2.” However, the overall mood of the album was exactly what was expected from Drake, and critics claimed that there was little growth to him as an artist through this album as it was similar to most of his previous discography. Critics either loved it or despised it, and there was very little middle ground to those decisions. 

Overall, the summer of 2021 was a stellar one for a wide range of artists, as some revolutionary new music was announced. These specific releases emphasize the excitement that swept the world as artists were finally returning, and no matter what reviews they received, were monumental to many audiences.

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