In my unprofessional opinion, this wasn’t the most exciting summer for new music. Unless you are super into soundtracks from films starring Shailene Woodley, hearing about Ariana Grande’s “problems,” or looking as perfect as 5 Seconds of Summer aka the 2014 version of One Direction. But a few gems did creep their way into our hearts during this summer’s commute to work and weekend getaways
Lana Del Rey, “West Coast,” Ultraviolence: While I find Del Rey to be a bit whiny during interviews, I am willing to admit that she has a nice voice and some catchy songs. “Summertime Sadness” seems to be the song that really put Del Rey on the map with the top hit crowd, but her song “West Coast” is what drove me to reevaluate my previous impression of her as an artist. This song isn’t the typical Billboard Top 100, probably due to its indie coffee house beat that makes it hard to dance to. I find that aspect charming because I believe it shows that Del Rey wasn’t trying to create a top radio tune.
Disclosure feat. Sam Smith, “Latch,” Settle: While the music video isn’t one of my favorites spoiler alert: it is just a bunch of hipsters partying and hooking up the song should be on every dance floor playlist of 2014. I also need to give a shout-out to any band of brothers that were “discovered” from posting videos on MySpace from their hometown of Surrey, England. I like reading the stories of bands that start off with nothing. Disclosure was literally giving its first EP away for free so people would give the band a listen. Now they are signed to a label under Interscope, so let’s cross our fingers that they don’t sell out and lose their original sound.
Broods, “Bridges” and “Mother and Father,” two singles from the upcoming album Evergreen expected to drop Oct. 7: You probably haven’t heard of them because they just made their U.S. debut this summer, but, trust me, they are worth a listen. I heard the group play in New York and, while the performers’ stage presence lacks imagination, their sound is the real deal.
Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne, “Rather Be,” New Eye: Up until last week I was listening to this song on the radio and could have sworn the vocalist was Adele. So, if you haven’t heard the song, give it a listen and stop me in the hall to say whether or not singer Jess Gylenne sounds like Adele in a pop-techno phase. This song gives us a new band, Clean Bandit, to keep an eye out for.
EchoSmith, “Cool Kids,” Talking Dream: There is not a ton to say about “Cool Kids” because it is becoming a bit overplayed, but it is a solid song to dance to in the car as long as you keep both hands on the wheel. This really is a must for a Friday night dance party/ Saturday workout playlist.
Sia, “Chandelier,” 1000 Forms of Fear: Sia’s sound has really evolved since her mellow track “Breathe Me” broke the Billboard charts in 2004. At first I thought she had reinvented herself to appeal to a more commercial audience, but then my dad, who has the music taste of a 24-year-old British new wave punk, told me about the traumatic death of her long-time partner and battle with depression. With so much sadness in her life, it makes sense that her music would transform. I was so happy to read that Sia just got married. So who knows, maybe in a year we will see Sia sporting a whole new sound.
Sun Kil Moon, “Ben’s my Friend”, Benji: While this album came out in February 2014 I felt the need to claim it as a song of the summer because it was the number one song of my summer. This is a fantastic song to quote because it tells the story of a summer day that ends with Mark Kozelek, the band’s front-man, going to a Postal Service concert. The “Ben” referred to in the title is Ben Gibbard, the front-man for both the Postal Service and Death Cab for Cutie. With the song’s witty lyrics and stellar saxophone solo, I promise you will have this tune stuck in your head for days.