As the temperature takes a surprisingly drastic turn this week, here are a few of summer’s best albums to help transport us all back to those sweet summer days when short shorts were in abundance and homework was the farthest thing from anyone’s mind. 4. Ed Sheeran: X
I’m convinced that it’s actually impossible not to like Ed Sheeran. This album was perfect to jam out to this summer, because it’s just so fun. If you’re looking for thoughtful lyrics or musical complexity, look elsewhere. But if you’re looking for something lighthearted, X is the perfect head-bobbing, pool-splashing, burger-grilling soundtrack of the summer. The English pop-folk artist knows how to create catchy hooks that will be stuck in the heads of listeners for weeks.
BEST TRACKS: “Sing,” “I See Fire”
3. Lana Del Ray: Ultraviolence
Ultraviolence feels like a sort of coming home for Lana Del Ray. The artist, whose muddled line between self and alter ego has left many befuddled for the past few years, seems to finally have blazed her own trail. Ultraviolence leaves the kitschy lyrics of her past albums behind and trades them in for hauntingly dark, atmospheric ballads, featuring her signature smoky vocals. Despite her recent growth, there’s certainly still progress for the artist to make; at moments throughout the album, her rawness can come off as pining and desperate.
BEST TRACK: “Brooklyn Baby”
2. The Antlers: Familiars
It’s easy to get lost in Familiars. The album, which features only two songs just under the 5-minute mark, is jam-packed with textured atmospheric power ballads. Each track is layered with electric ambiances, big-band jazz hooks, and the flawlessly diverse vocals of front man Peter Silberman. This album belongs in the iTunes of every 20-something — Silberman’s lyrics are incredibly relatable and probe into the struggles of love and loss that face us all in young adulthood.
BEST TRACKS: “Hotel,” “Palace”
1. First Aid Kit: Stay Gold
Though they’re a personal favorite, I generally wouldn’t recommend First Aid Kit to anyone who’s not a lover of folk music — the group’s past work has almost all been wholesome folk harmonies layered over simple guitar parts. Stay Gold, however, shatters that simple view of these Swedish sister duo’s work,. These are perfect summer tracks. The large anthems and sweeping instrumentals of “Master Pretender” and “Stay Gold” beg you to roll down your window and jam on your way out west for an iconic summer road-trip.
BEST TRACK: “Stay Gold”