Songs of the season
Whatever mood you’re in this summer, The Cord’s got you covered
Chaos and the Calm — James Bay
Released this past March, James Bay’s debut full-length album The Chaos and The Calm surpassed all my expectations.
I’m generally not a fan of hit singles off new albums, but I can’t get enough of Bay’s radio hit “Hold Back the River.” The song opens with a delicate finger-picked guitar, and gradually ascends into an epic anthem of love.
The album as a whole is fairly mellow and rich with ballads such as “Move Together,” which is a sappy song lover’s paradise. However Bay also mixes in up-tempo rock hits like the album’s first track “Craving,” which is bound to encourage you to sing along.
Altogether, James Bay’s new album is the soundtrack for any steamy summer romances.
– Bethany Bowles
Let It Be — The Replacements
Released in 1984, The Replacement’s fourth album stands in contrast to the period, lacking the polished approach of other classic rock artists of the decade.
What makes this album so enjoyable is its situation: a coming-of-age album that preaches to choirs of adolescents. The band’s more light-hearted moments, like “Gary’s Got A Boner,” are paired with moments of sincere reflections, as with the ballad “Androgynous.”
What makes this a great summer listen is the album’s pacing; knowing when to deliver raw and angst-ridden post punk and when to slow it down and address the difficulties of a generation. It’s a classic in its ability to address the challenges faced by teenagers in the ‘80s that continue to the present day.
– Bryan Stephens
Forward Thinking — Jahkoy
Toronto’s Jahkoy is only 19-years old, but his smooth and unique voice backed by an EDM-rooted production makes this artist one to watch for this summer.
From his mixtape Forward Thinking, the bionic sound of “Fall in Love” will easily get you dancing. The intro starts slow, but slowly picks up into a classical instrumental, and then quickly adds techno to the mix. His unique sound distinguishes him from a lot of other artists hitting the scene.
Many of Jahkoy’s songs are about the ups and downs of falling in love; he portrays the emotions through the instrumentals accompanying it seamlessly with his voice. Despite strong themes of romance, Jahkoy’s mixtape is a great backtrack for enjoying the warm weather at the beach.
– Kristen Lambie
Beach Fossils — Beach Fossils
Beach Fossils’ self-titled debut epitomizes the lazy summer attitude with its jangly guitar licks, muted backbeats and nonchalant vocals.
Fittingly, one of the strongest cuts off the record is “Lazy Day.” Opening with the line, “I felt the grass on my chest in the open field,” it’s backed by a jittering delayed guitar. With such strong imagery, this song teleports the listener into a simple, serene world.
The band only strays from their formula on the final track “Gathering.” The song opens with seagulls and crashing waves accompanied by a lazy strumming guitar. Harmonized vocals reminiscent of the Beach Boys ease into the mix, only to quickly fade away as the sun sets on the album.
– Zach Guitor
Unorthodox Jukebox — Bruno Mars
It may be three years old now but until we get another album from the pint-sized prince of funk, his 2012 album Unorthodox Jukebox remains the ideal summer album for fans of funk inspired pop music.
Since his breakout performance on Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire” in 2010, no one has had a handle on the feeling of summer like Bruno Mars. With respect for the funk and disco that came before him, Mars adds a perfectly contemporary pop feel to all his songs.
From the Police inspired hit “Locked out of Heaven” to the pure disco-redux of “Treasure,” Unorthodox Jukebox is loaded with tracks that feel as good on the patio for a barbeque as they do when you’re getting turnt at Phil’s.
– Mynt Marsellus