An Album a Day Keeps Boredom Away

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Carson Eckert, Staff Columnist

Over the summer, I was fortunate enough to get a job at a retail store, which included long hours on my feet almost every day. To make the time pass more quickly, I started spending each break listening to new music. Every workday, I listened to a full album I had been wanting to explore, discovering over 18 new albums by the end of the summer. I found a lot of great (and some not- so-great) music, and I wanted to share some of my summer music highlights.

A definite standout from my summer was legendary rapper Pusha T’s fourth studio album, “Daytona.”

This album was released in 2018 and was nominated for a Grammy in the “Best Rap Album” category the following year. Although it is short, with only seven songs, its quality more than makes up for the quantity.

Pusha T’s songwriting talent is apparent on every song, and Kanye West, Mike Dean, and Pi’erre Bourne all do a great job with the production.

The beats give off an arrogant and ominous tone that leaves you wanting to hear more.

My favorite song is “The Games We Play” because of the power and passion you find behind Pusha T’s verses. The slowed-down and pitched-up guitar solo makes for a top-notch beat. Other great songs from this album include “Come Back Baby” and “If You Know You Know.”

I want to give a little disclaimer on this album; the lyrical content is very explicit and often involves talk of drug use and violence, so keep that in mind before listening.

This next favorite of mine was exactly the type of music I was looking for this summer: singer, rapper, and drummer Anderson .Paak’s 2016 sophomore album, “Malibu.” It’s a blend of R&B, hip hop, and neo-soul, which creates a lively and rich sound.

Anderson .Paak is an incredibly talented singer, and his voice invites the listener to groove along to the beat with him. A bit on the longer side, this album has 16 songs, most of which I was a big fan of.

The best introduction to Anderson .Paak and this album is “Room In Here,” a relaxed and romantic song. It also contains my favorite-ever vocal performance by Anderson .Paak, as well as a great feature by rapper The Game. From this album, I’d also recommend “Heart Don’t Stand a Chance,” “Am I Wrong,” “Parking Lot,” and “Come Down.”

My third summer highlight comes from a completely different side of music; while Anderson .Paak lives in the world of R&B and rap, Bon Iver takes a more alternative approach to his music.

Over quarantine, I discovered the incredible music of Bon Iver, but it wasn’t until this summer that I made my way to his self-titled masterpiece: his second studio album, released in 2011 as an alternative/indie rock record. This album feels exotic yet cozy at the same time, and its poetic and heartfelt lyrics laid over soft instrumentals soothe my mind and give me a sense of relief from any worry or stress.

My favorite song is definitely “Holocene” because of the imagery and beautiful storytelling in the lyrics. The song is all about revisiting memories, and it always puts me in an introspective mood. If you like “Holocene,” follow it up with “Michicant,” “Beth/Rest,” and “Wash.”

I likely listened to this last highlight more than any other album this summer: “It Won’t Always Be Like This,” the debut album from Irish indie-rock band Inhaler.

Finding this band was one of the best things to happen to me over summer vacation. The album is filled with extremely upbeat and feel-good music. My favorite song is “My Honest Face” by a wide margin.

The song is incredibly energetic and gives me the confidence to do anything. If you only listen to one song from this whole column, make it this one. Other highlights include “It Won’t Always Be Like This,” “Cheer Up Baby,” and “My King Will Be Kind.”

Listening to these albums made the long hours I worked so much more enjoyable. Although I didn’t fall in love with everything I heard, it made the discovery of great albums like these so much more rewarding.

I still have so many more albums on my list that I haven’t heard yet, and I can’t wait to see what I find.