Albums of the summer that never felt like summer 

A collaborative article by the KJHK Executive staff.


Public pools were closed, vacations were cancelled, music festival grounds were silent, and internships were online. It never really felt like summer. Now, with classes starting again next week it’s clear that “summer” is at a close.

While the season might have been subpar, you can be sure the KJHK Executive Staff has an album or a song to fit  the situation.

Jaya: Glass Animals – Dreamland

Glass Animals’ long-awaited 3rd album is both introspective and refreshing. Lead singer Dave Bayley’s lyrics are nostalgic and touching, and the music behind them exemplifies the band’s well-known groovy, bass-driven sound. Songs like “Heat Waves” and “Space Ghost Coast to Coast” are the perfect backdrop to any summer drive.

Kade: Run the Jewels – RTJ4

RTJ4 was my most anticipated album of the year and it did not disappoint. Killer Mike delivers some of his fiercest, most timely bars to date, and El-P masterfully returns to his production roots. RTJ4 is a prescient combination of social justice, righteous anger, and undeniable summer bangers. 

Faith: Stella Donnelly – Beware of the Dogs

This album has been in consistent rotation for me throughout the last year, yet there’s an eclectic undertone to Beware of the Dogs that suits summer better than any other season. Donnelly balances the frustration of feeling unheard and unmatched in both romantic relationships and society at large. It is the ideal soundtrack when you just feel like laying in the grass and screaming into the abyss of uncertainty that is 2020.

Cami: The Beths – Jump Rope Gazers 

In the summer, an album has to not only catch my attention but also be able to cut through the thundering wind that whips through the rolled-down windows of my car. My constant refusal to roll up the windows means the music is cranked and I’m usually singing with it. The Beths’ 10-track Jump Rope Gazers is angsty, sweet, and catchy. It’s everything I need a summer album to be. 

Erin: Flying Lotus – Flamagra

Summer was funky but this 27-track album out funked my summer for sure. Working from home was a lot… just a get-up-sit-down-and-work situation, but man did Flamagra get me through it. Every song is like a new corner into a more excitingly rhythmic and elaborate musical creation that can’t stop you from grooving along. Featuring artists like Thundercat, George Clinton, and David Lynch (YES! The David Lynch) you literally can’t go wrong. 

Cole: Sprain – S/T

The first release from the LA band Sprain has a little something for everybody. Some great slow-core that’s very reminiscent of bands like Duster, but they aren’t afraid to move away from that on tracks like “Deliver Us.” It’s only five tracks long and just under 27 minutes, making it the perfect length for any listening experience.

Griffin: Yalc123 – Yalc Nitsua Mailliw

Whenever I get in my car and start picking out what I am going to listen to for the drive, odds are I pick this album. Whether it’s the bass-blasting hip-hop bangers like “Been Done Gone” or the catchy indie rock love songs like “Saturday w/ U,” this album is the perfect soundtrack to a lovely summer day. 

Wyatt: Mac Miller – Swimming

While my favorite new album releases of the summer are RTJ4 by Run The Jewels and Ungodly Hour by Chloe x Halle, it feels wrong to give my album of the summer to any other than Mac Miller’s last living album release back in 2018, Swimming. Following the release of Circles earlier this year alongside the feelings that have come with everything that has happened in 2020, Miller’s struggle with his mental health, addiction, and ultimately growth was more relatable and more impactful than ever. It truly was his greatest gift to us before he passed.

Grace: Rainbow Kitten Surprise – Seven + Mary

With all the craziness that went on over the course of this summer and the pandemic, I found immense comfort in songs that had a more relaxed vibe. I have always been bad about listening to multiple songs by the same artist, since I normally just find one song I like by them and call it good enough, so I challenged myself to really dive into just one band and focus on their music. I found this incredible album from 2013 full of songs with meaningful messages, but all were able to deliver them all in a laid back way, making it the perfect escape for the new reality I find myself living in. While the album is only 40 minutes long, it’s one that can be blasted on repeat without ever knowing it restarted.