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Review: September's Rockin' Tunes

Updated: Nov 22, 2020

Image courtesy of Kaylee Haas

New this month:

Ballerini by Kelsea Ballerini

Earlier this year, Kelsea Ballerini released an album titled Kelsea. Ballerini, however, features completely reimagined perspectives of Ballerini’s songs on Kelsea. The creativity and passion that Ballerini put into making completely new sounds for her songs show how deep her story goes. My personal favorites from this album are “half of my hometown,” “overshare” and “love me like a girl.” Her testimonies in these songs make me feel like I am part of her story or one of her best friends. The songs have a level of understanding and vulnerability that makes you want to listen over and over again.

Artists like Kelsea Ballerini: Marren Morris & Kacey Musgraves

“as long as you care” from Bright Lights, Red Eyes EP by Ruel

Since his 2019 EP, Free Time, Ruel has created another hit with his new single “as long as you care.” With his unique voice and rhythmic energy, this single is one to get you grooving. Long-distance relationships — which we can all relate to, especially because of quarantine — is the theme of this single. At the end of the day, showing you care is what matters. This single creates strong anticipation for the rest of the EP that will be released on Oct. 23.

Artists like Ruel: Shawn Mendes & Omar Apollo

“Big Vibe” from Big Vibe by Seaway

Although it’s the name of their upcoming album, the band’s first single, “Big Vibe,” is a big vibe for sure. The band’s electrifying rock sound is a breath of fresh air. My favorite lyrics are “She says the work piles up/ and I just wanna ask/ if she likes Japanese noodles/ I could help her relax/ but that’s kinda crazy.” The song is incredibly relatable and easy to vibe to. We all know what it’s like to pine over someone. I think this song and album will be a new favorite for many.

Artists like Seaway: With Confidence & State Champs

“Married In Vegas” from Cherry Blossom by The Vamps

“Married In Vegas” is the first single off of The Vamps' senior album, Cherry Blossom, coming on Oct. 16. With fun piano undertones and Bradley Simpson’s rasp, the song has a melodic sound. It’s the perfect song to listen to on your daily drive or just to dance to. It might just make you want to take a quick trip to Vegas! Warning note: it is a catchy tune and will get stuck in your head.

Artists like The Vamps: New Hope Club & One Direction

“Ice Cream” by Blackpink ft. Selena Gomez

This song should definitely be in your area! Blackpink featuring Selena Gomez is a collaboration that our world needed. Their super catchy and bright pop song is perfect for when you need a little break from your studies. Also, extra points if you learn the choreography. If you’re looking to get into K-pop girl groups, this is the perfect place to start. This single is a true treat!

Artists like Blackpink and Selena Gomez: TWICE & Sabrina Carpenter

Bridges EP by Mickey Guyton

Mickey Guyton’s Bridges EP is a fresh take on modern country music. Her smooth voice and dynamic lyrics make her one to watch. Her song “Black Like Me” is a great representation of what we need in country music. She talks about the struggles of being Black in America while being proud of who she is. It is truly a moving piece of art.

Artists like Mickey Guyton: Miranda Lambert & Jennifer Nettles (Sugarland)

Acting My Age EP by The Academic

The Acting My Age EP may be my favorite EP of the year. The Academic’s alternative flair is lively and entrancing. Every song makes me feel like I should be in a really cool coming of age film. My personal favorites off of this EP are “Sunroof” and “Them.” They both carry a nostalgic and present feeling all at once. You will find a piece of yourself and your experiences in every lyric of this EP. The Academic makes it easy to relate to their songs. Each song is well crafted and enjoyable. I would definitely put this band on your radar!

Artists like The Academic: AJR & The Blossoms

Still on repeat:

CALM by 5 Seconds of Summer

From the magnificent gates of “Red Desert” to the 80s inspired “Kill My Time,” this album is perfect from start to finish. It is a flawless mix of emotion and brilliant storytelling. Each song tells a new story that is beautiful from start to finish. I would list my favorite songs, but that would be all of them. This album is so lyrically and melodically diverse that it is easy for me to come back to it six months later. I have been listening to this album at least once a week since its release in March. It is truly a love at first listen album.

Artist like 5 Seconds of Summer: All Time Low

Kid Krow by Conan Gray

Conan’s soft crooning on Kid Krow is perfect for a rainy day or for studying. His soft yet angsty vibe has you hooked instantly. Also, you may recognize his song “Heather” from TikTok. Since Kid Krow’s release on March 20 of this year, it has been recommended to me many times. I finally caved in during June, and I’m glad I did. I have been listening to the album on and off since then. My favorite songs off of the album are “The Cut That Always Bleeds” and “Fight or Flight.”

Artists like Conan Gray: Declan McKenna and Lauv

Self Portrait by Sasha Sloan

I found out about Sasha Sloan from a comment that Kelsea Ballerini made about her music. The second I heard “At Least I Look Cool” off of her Self Portrait EP, I was in love. For one, the line, “I shop at Target for my shirts” really hit home. The whole song is very relatable to popular culture and is about what it takes to fit in. However, every song off of the EP makes you feel understood. Sasha Sloan doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to sharing her feelings and doing it unapologetically. Her rhythmic pop sound will leave you in a trance; I’ve had the EP on repeat all month.

Artist like Sasha Sloan: Julia Michales

“Chew On My Heart” by James Bay

This single by James Bay has not left my orbit in well over a month. From its subtle beginning to its vibrant chorus, the song is constructed beautifully. The song makes me want to fall in love and to fall hard. It perfectly illustrates the feeling of falling in love and the desire behind it. James Bay has been a favorite for a long time, and this song just furthers my love for his work.

Artist like James Bay: James TW

Ungodly Hour by Chloe X Halle

Sisters Chloe and Halle have perfected the art of rhythmic storytelling. Each song off of Ungodly Hour is a new and fascinating story. Through experimentation with perspective and an acknowledgment of their work, they have created a beautiful world. A few of my favorite songs from the album are “Forgive Me,” “Tipsy,” “Busy Boy,” “Do It” and “Ungodly Hour.” The reason that this album has stayed in my life is that it gives me a boost of creativity and empowerment every time I shuffle it.

Artists like Chloe X Halle: Kehlani and Lauren Jauregui

Hey, Herald reader! Want to give these songs a listen? Scan the Spotify code at the top of this article!

By Kaylee Haas, Staff Writer


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