The Triton's Back to School Album Recs

Arts and CultureMusic

Album artwork for GINGER by BROCKHAMPTON
Image Courtesy of RCA Records

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As the heat of the summer bleeds its way into late September, we are all bracing ourselves for the wave of assignments and duties we have to juggle. Here lies an aid for the stressed and fainthearted: The Triton’s favorite albums to dance, study, and lounge to. These albums will add a bounce to your step as you power walk through hurdles of people on Library Walk. 

How Do You Love? by The Regrettes
Released on August 9, 2019
For fans of: Greer, Beach Bunny, The Frights

Image Courtesy of Warner Records

The Regrettes are a Los Angeles-based, punk rock band bringing the Riot Grrrl movement into the new millennium. The group’s sophomore album may not include feminist anthems like “Poor Boy” and “A Living Human Girl,” but How Do You Love is a refreshing album about the the ups and downs of being in love. The album opens with a spoken-word track detailing a doctor’s diagnosis of being in love. “Coloring Book,” “Dress Up,” and “Pumpkin” are tracks that capture the intoxication of early love on par with Lorde’s “The Louvre.” Front-woman Lydia Night communicates the full spectrum of frustration, ache, and pleading involved with being ghosted on “More Than a Month.” How Do You Love is this year’s most energetic album about love and a must-listen for those reminiscing about their summer fling.   

– Mo Al Elew, Senior Staff Writer

Free Time by Ruel
Released on September 13, 2019
For fans of: Lauv, Jeremy Zucker, Ansel Elgort

Image Courtesy of RCA / Sony

Ruel’s second extended play (EP) proves that he is no fluke or one-hit wonder. He delivers consistently on the concise seven-track playlist with his trademark vibrant and gorgeous vocals. Working together again with Grammy-winning producer M-Phazes, Ruel stays true to his soulful tunes, while exploring different instrumentation and pop sounds. This can be seen in a highlight track, “Face to Face,” where Ruel elects to showcase the harmonica and bring a very French vibe to the song. For a 16-year-old, Ruel demonstrates maturity far beyond his age with his music and lyrics and creates a great EP. Other favorite tracks are “Real Thing” and the eponymous “Free Time.”

 – Arun Dhingra, Assistant Arts and Culture Editor

I’ll Never Give Up on Love Until I Can Put a Name on It by Las Aves
Released on August 30, 2019
For Fans of: Charli XCX, Poppy, La Femme

Image Courtesy of Wagram Music / Cinq 7

Despite its long and exhaustive title, this album is a cold tangerine seltzer on a hot day. French band, Las Aves, predominantly sings in English, which is garnished with the zest of a French accent. The album starts off on a humorous yet cathartic note with “You Need A Dog.” The song follows the rise and fall of a plot, beginning with a cliche phone conversation saturated in static, which is interrupted by an absurd chorus clamoring about a delirious beat. They marry the album art to its futuristic sound: The computer-rendered face with its obnoxious stream of tears and shiny plumped lips reflects the emotional landscapes that cross over online ordeals and real life. Their catchy, cybernetic music presents the overlap of technology and dating: from lyrics like “flooding my inbox” to “I know you’re on Tinder” in “A Change of Heart.” My personal favorite, “+,” captures the essence of electronic pop with its simple lyrics, heavy synthetic vinyl scratching, and repetitive key sequence. Las Aves is new age, and whether they write a song about the artifice of social media or the raw emotion of jealousy, they sure know how to start a techno-pop dance party.

– Heather Lim, Arts and Culture Editor

Norman Fucking Rockwell!, Lana Del Rey
Released on: August 30, 2019
For Fans of: SZA, Kali Uchis, Clairo

Image courtesy of Polydor Records

In her long-awaited sixth album, Norman Fucking Rockwell!, Lana Del Ray switches up her normally powerful and rhythmic music for a slower, softer sound. Her lyrical content is still romantic and melancholic, but this album feels more intimate than any of her older works; Lana’s melodic vocals are accompanied by delicate guitar plucking and dreamy string instrumentals in “Venice Bitch,” culminating in a faintly classical sound that complements her beautiful yet tragic storytelling. This album is about the perils of love, darkness, and light. Norman Fucking Rockwell! is one of my favorite albums for relaxing or floating into a dream.

– Caitlin Villareal, Contributing Writer

Released on August 23, 2019
For Fans of: Kevin Abstract, Tyler, the Creator, Frank Ocean, Jaden Smith

Image Courtesy of RCA Records

With a fifth studio album now under their belt, BROCKHAMPTON never fails to deliver. The American “hip-hop collective” that formed back in 2015 through an online forum under “KanyeToThe” has brought a refreshing new aura to the genre as a whole. This album makes you feel a mix of emotions. Through its splice of techno plus alt R&B, melodic vocals, and flowing lyricism, GINGER tells a somber yet exhilarating story. Songs like “Dearly Departed” and “No Halo” are rooted in pain and hurt: The group shares the trauma of love and loss and confesses of their struggles with relationships, mental health, and substance abuse. “Boy Bye” and “St. Percy” are full of hard-hitting, exuberant beats about the band’s tumultuous journey to success. BROCKHAMPTON continues to evolve and push the envelope in redefining hip hop. Whether you’re studying late at night, taking time for self-reflection, or grooving on your way to class, GINGER will fulfill all of your desires. 

– Ivana Cuk, Staff Writer

House of Sugar by Alex G (Sandy)
Released on September 13, 2019
For Fans of: Neutral Milk Hotel, Mac DeMarco, Car Seat Headrest 

Image Courtesy of Domino Recording Company

Alex G has courted a dedicated indie fanbase since 2013, but with three tracks from his most recent release, House of Sugar, reaching over one million plays on Spotify, this project is by far his biggest shot at a mainstream audience. Make no mistake, however—though more polished, the lofi-pop singer-songwriter has not compromised his quirky sound. Long-term fans will recognize the album’s structure as similar to past projects: Many tracks have a short play-time, with each song clocking in at about two or three minutes. This creates a now-characteristic textured and jumpy sound. House of Sugar is populated with low-to-the-ground, often feverish songs that individually don’t take themselves too seriously but collectively build to leave a reflective, absurd, and sometimes profound impression which never allows itself to be taken too seriously. The highlights of the album are “Southern Sky” and “Gretel,” which particularly capture Alex G’s evolution into a more produced sound while preserving the plucky, almost childish songwriting he has cultivated throughout his career. For me, Alex G has always delivered on a specific feeling: He creates a playful, dreamlike, sonic environment in which one could stretch out their worries and anxieties without despair or drama. House of Sugar creates an earnest energy which reframes the world around its listener, or if not, allows them to escape it for 37 frenetic minutes. 

– Kate Zegans, Assistant Arts and Culture Editor