Photo By: Bruce Mars from Unsplash

The summer of 2021 was a big one for new music. Strong lyricism dominated many of the most popular releases. Before the albums of the fall start to find their way onto our playlists, let’s bring closure to the hotter months and take a look back at this summer’s releases. 

What better way to start than with Lorde’s Solar Power, an album full of summertime sound. Her third album comes four years after the release of Melodrama. It’s a different style from what her fans are used to, listeners find a happier sounding Lorde: a welcomed change to some and a drastic departure for others.  

Lorde takes listeners through a 12-track, mellow, but feel-good trip. The cover itself screams summer. With a low camera angle, we see Lorde running across a beach. The lyrics also remind listeners why summer is better than winter.

Olivia Rodrigo’s debut album, Sour, has become the most streamed album in 2021, and for good reason; it’s upbeat, catchy, and relatable. Rodrigo went viral, with many of her songs trending on TikTok, making the album a staple of this summer, especially for anyone who has experienced heartbreak.

Looking ahead to the fall, Clairo’s newest album Sling might be one to keep on your playlist. Her 12-track album may not have been this summer’s catchy anthem, but it is perfect for a hike in the woods or a cold winter night inside.

Tyler, The Creator fans received Call Me If You Get Lost. The new album features artists such as Lil Wayne, Lil Uzi Vert, Ty Dolla $ign, among others. It brings together Tyler, The Creator’s raw lyricism, and distinctive beats for the entire 52-minute running time. 

Billie Eilish released her second studio album, Happier Than Ever. With good beats and lyrics to boot, Eilish stays true to her style while showing a more mature version of herself through the album’s lyrical content.

Vince Staples’ new album comes three years after FM!. The new self-titled album has only a 22-minute run time, but every minute is filled with beats that sync perfectly with the lyrics. While it is short and sweet, it’s some of his best work.

Another artist releasing their debut album is Still Woozy. The indie-style artist, previously known for singles such as “Goodie Bag” and “Habit”, released If This Isn’t Nice, I Don’t Know What Is. The 13-track album provides the perfect music for relaxing summer nights.

If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power. The theme for Halsey’s fourth studio album stays true to the title, as the lyrics and vibe are all about power. The pop-styled album works as a pick-me-up for anyone needing a reminder of who they are. 

After being delayed for over a month and multiple live performances later, Kanye West’s Donda was released. His tenth studio album features his reunion with Jay-Z and other artists. A lot of controversies have surrounded Kanye in the past years, but his fans can rejoice as they have finally received the long-awaited album. A more in-depth review of the album can be found here

Drake’s Certified Lover Boy became the biggest album debut on Spotify after racking up over 150 million streams on its first day. Drake stole the spotlight by releasing it the same week as Donda. However, fanbases and beef aside, the first week of September was huge for both of these artists. Other than the questionable cover art, which consists of 12 emojis of pregnant women, Drake’s Certified Lover Boy included songs that listeners will definitely be taking into the colder months. 

Honorable mentions go to Lil Nas X who released three singles, “Montero,” “Sun Goes Down,” and “Industry Baby”, Doja Cat with her album Planet Her, and Migos with Culture III which features other artists such as Drake, Cardi B, Future, and Justin Bieber, among others.

Album releases this summer consisted of varied styles, themes, and feels. While some will be worth revisiting and others will likely be forgotten as we move into the fall, this was just a small glimpse back at 2021’s summer releases. All in all, we saw many long-awaited albums, as well as new surprises by returning and debuting artists, many of which are worth at least a single listen.