During the boring days of summer, I spent my time surfing through music sites, Pandora, and iTunes in search of new music to entertain myself with, and I found plenty of wonderful vibrations along the way. Below are just a few of the artists I enjoyed listening to.
Janelle Monae: Janelle Monae’s The Archandroid was one of the best albums of the summer. Monae’s superb interpretation of R&B and soul, rock, alternative, and even jazz, is an artistic achievement that doesn’t deserve to be ignored. Her album was on repeat in my iPod for weeks. Pick this album up NOW if you haven’t done so already.
Roisin Murphy: Euro-pop was my genre of choice this summer, and Roisin Murphy was the start of that obsession. Her 2007 release, Overpowered, is original and highly danceable. There were no misses on this album, although some songs are better than others. Highlights include “Overpowered” and “You Know Me.” If you like euro-pop as well, or are looking for good dance music, then check Roisin out.
Robyn: Robyn’s Body Talk Pt. 1 is more dance and euro-pop for your ears. Her first effort in a three-part release, which will include Body Talk Pt. 2 and Body Talk Pt. 3, has hard-hitting production, dance-ready beats and highly original lyrics. If Robyn keeps it up with Pt. 2 and 3, she’ll have created one of the best dance albums of 2010. This is another release that you should pick up now.
Christina Aguilera: Xtina might seem out of place on my list, but her fourth album, Bionic, is worth mentioning. It finds her exploring the realms of dance music (which was exciting for me, since I’m in a dance music craze) and a bit of alternative as well. She was, of course, accused of copying Lady Gaga, but after listening to her album. it is apparent that was not her intention.
Bionic is a stretching of Aguilera’s range as an artist and vocalist. Instead of blowing us away with her voice on every song, she explored different tones and ranges of delivery, which turn out really nicely. Her use of shock factor and the surprising amount of cursing on this album was a bit of a turn off, but overall, this was a great product.
LCD Soundsystem: You’ve gotta love LCD Soundsystem and their latest release, This is Happening, but it makes you hate the fact that it’s possibly their last. It has the great production, quirky and thoughtful lyrics, and all the danceable beats that you should expect from an LCD Soundsystem release. Here’s to hoping that the music world will get to hear more from them in the future.
Villagers: Villagers gets the award for having the creepiest album of the summer. Becoming A Jackal creates beautiful, haunting, and strategically discordant atmosphere through creepy piano lines, subtle guitar chords, and easy drum beats. The package is completed with foreboding and depressing lyrics, one of which goes: “I’ll show you the back room where I saw the dead….” Highlights on this album are the aforementioned “I Saw the Dead,” “Becoming a Jackal” and “Pieces.” This one’s good for the dog days of summer, but even better for a cold Halloween night.
Sia: I finally decided to give Sia a try this summer and picked up her new release We Are Born. There are some great tracks on here, such as “You’ve Changed” and “Need You Now.” As a whole, We Are Born is upbeat and vibrant, but sometimes repetitive. Even so, you should still give this bright summer album a try before fall comes around.