Throughout the summer, artists such as Olivia Rodrigo, Tyler, The Creator and John Mayer released what they’ve been working on during quarantine. Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart for the summer months offered a glimpse into what people were listening to while road tripping, swimming in the pool or hanging out with friends.
Weeks of June 5, July 17, July 24: “SOUR” — Olivia Rodrigo
Rodrigo’s debut album was number one for the first week of June. The album, which came out May 21, was heavily anticipated due to the success of her January single “drivers license” and the drama surrounding her and “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series" co-star Joshua Bassett’s relationship.
Week of June 12: “evermore” — Taylor Swift
I was a bit confused to see this in the number one sales spot this summer because the album was released in December 2020. I found out the vinyl record was released May 28, though, so that could have caused the spike in album sales. This album has some great songs, such as “champagne problems” and “no body, no crime.” As summer music goes, I didn’t queue these songs while at the pool. This is definitely “cardigan” weather music —pun intended, even though I know that was from “folklore” not “evermore”— that I will probably listen to more again in the fall and winter months.
Week of June 19: “The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE” —TOMORROW X TOGETHER
This is the second studio album for the K-pop group TOMORROW X TOGETHER. Since many K-pop groups amass large groups of loyal followers in the U.S., it is not surprising to see this in a number one slot after its release. “OX1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You)” has a lot of the elements of great pop with a catchy, hard-driving chorus.
Week of June 26: “Taste of Love” — Twice
This EP, which debuted June 11, is by the all-female Korean group, Twice. The lead single — “Alcohol-Free” — has a slow, light beat and catchy chorus that gives shout-outs to favorite summer drinks like “tequila, margarita, mojito with lime,” that could get a whole party singing along.
Week of July 3: “Your Choice: 8th Mini Album (EP)” — Seventeen
Another K-Pop group had an album dominating the chart for the first week of July. It’s the 8th EP for the group and was released June 18. The first track, “Heaven’s Cloud,” is very upbeat, and the chorus “Give me your, give me your, love, love cloud,” is easy to sing along with. Pop music like this is always a solid choice for summer.
Week of July 10: “Call Me If You Get Lost” — Tyler, The Creator
“Igor” was a cultural phenomenon when it came out in 2019, so it makes sense that “Call Me If You Get Lost” had high sales. The album – released June 25 – is Tyler, The Creator’s sixth. For this release, he brings on other notable artists like Pharrell Williams and Lil Wayne.
“LUMBERJACK” was one of the singles for this album and does a good job of setting the tone for the whole album. This album is perfect for a late summer night with friends.
Week of July 31: “Sob Rock” — John Mayer
John Mayer’s 8th studio album was released July 16. This album had popular singles including “I Guess I Just Feel Like” and “Last Train Home” which drove its release. It is easy-listening music that is perfect for a walk or BBQ.
Week of August 7: “McCartney III Imagined” — Paul McCartney
The Beatles member has had a long solo career, but he’s still scoring number one spots on the chart. The work was released digitally back in April, but came out physically on July 23. Many of his fans opted for the CD over Spotify, which helped bring it to the top. It is all remixes of songs from McCarney III, with artists like Phoebe Bridgers on “Seize the Day,” which is a slow, synthy song with lyrics like, “When the cold days come and the old ways fade away there’ll be no more sun, and we’ll wish we had held on to the day,” which is a good message for summer days which go so quickly.
Week of August 14: “Happier Than Ever” — Billie Eilish
The album was released July 30 and offered different sounds compared to Eilish’s first album, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” She showcased louder vocals and showed off her strength in “Oxytocin,” but also gives us everything we know and love about her sound in songs like “Therefore I Am.” This album is perfect for a summer road trip because the deep and personal lyrics give you a lot to think about.
What was I listening to?
Eilish’s was one I listened to the day it came out and the songs continue to grow on me. I love that she is giving us the same great lyrics and really showing off her vocal talent.
Doja Cat’s “Planet Her” was perfect for summer hangs and has had a lot of popularity on Tik Tok.
Another album I was really into was Bleachers’ “Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night.” While this album is slower and more melancholy than their 2017 “Gone Now,” the tracks “Stop Making This Hurt” and “Chinatown” are perfect for a summer sunset drive with friends.
Beyond that, I found myself listening to older stuff, such as ‘70s hits and artists that are personally nostalgic to me, such as Lady Gaga and Marina and the Diamonds.