Leah Langley presents how the summer of 2019 was another big one for the world of music with so many new albums being released between June and August.
Lana Del Rey – Norman F*cking Rockwell
Del Rey was back with her fifth album which is her most complex to date. She sings seamlessly about transformation, freedom, and the mess of being alive. The album is named after Norman Rockwell, who depicted idyllic images of life in America and its history. The overwhelming message of this album is that of heart shattering sadness, where it’s reformed just to shatter again. On the hard-hitting track, “Happiness Is a Butterfly”, Del Rey sings about setting herself up for a torturous heartbreak that should be able to be surgically removed. Finishing the track with “The Greatest” and “Kokomo” in which Del Rey essentially depicts the end of the world as it was once known really highlights just how unique this singer songwriter is.
Taylor Swift – Lover
This album comes two years after “Reputation” was released and received varied reviews across the board. Swift has returned back to the pop music genre, which is what originally catapulted her to fame in the first place. This album is the seventh one from Swift and it is also the longest one to date, featuring 18 tracks. This album doesn’t focus on the typical insightfulness singers claim to have gained over the years, but rather reflects back to being a child. “ME!” sees a duet with Panic! at the Disco’s Brendan Urie and the song has a resemblance to a high school cheerleader chant, whilst in “You Need to Calm Down” Swift addresses all of the haters and internet trolls with playfulness and wit. With such a long album, it’s no surprise that it is being met with yet more mixed reviews, but it’s easy to see why. As we get further through the track the songs and their structures all become recognisable to songs from previous albums.
Avicii – TIM
This is the first posthumous release since the DJ’s tragic death and it ultimately honours the wish of his family to keep his legacy alive. Though the album is a celebration of Avicii’s talents it is also a heart-breaking reminder of the loss the world is feeling in the wake of his death. The proceeds form this album are all directly going to the Tim Bergling Foundation to fund the important work being done in the DJ’s name. Across the album there are several big-name collaborations with the likes of Chris Martin and Imagine Dragons. “Peace of Mind” is the albums opening track and it explains how society is moving too fast for the DJ whilst “S.O.S” hears Aloe Blacc pleads for his mind to be put to rest and “Bad Reputation” sees Joe Janiak describing being “lost out at sea”. Although the DJ was never known for songs that had such emotions attached to them, the album seems to be full of cries for help and messages of sorrow which make for hard listening and even harder reading.
Bastille – Doom Days
Bastille were back with their third album which seems to be their most inventive yet. It depicts the story of a night out at a house party whilst the world outside implodes. In the opening “Quarter Past Midnight” they sing of “still avoiding tomorrow” from the back seat of an Uber. In “The Waves”, towards the end of the song, we are shifted into a mode that sounds as though we are submerged in water. “Real World” depicts being cornered at the party to talk about politics whilst “Divide” is about the split that can be seen in the world and a cry out for unity in these desperate times. This album is no disappointment when compared to the other works of the band, but it seems to be the most harrowing to date with the way it shows humanity in such a clear sense.