#5 The O’My’s
A Humble Masterpiece
The O’My’s are an up-and-coming band from Chicago who seamlessly blend blues, jazz, soul, and rock together to produce an eargasmically organic sound. Their latest offering, A Humble Masterpiece, compliments summer days and nights flawlessly.
Songs such as “Feeling Like a King” and “Promise Land” give off the smooth and carefree energy that you get when you’re driving around town with the windows down with a beautiful girl in your passenger seat, making you wish that you were able to make time freeze.
#4 Kali Uchis
This Virginia native with Columbian roots provides smooth R&B music that goes with summer evenings just as well as strawberry ice cream. On Por Vida, instrumentals provided by talented producers such as Kaytranada, BADBADNOTGOOD, and Tyler, The Creator help Kali give off a vibe of innocent rebelliousness.
Songs like “Lottery,” “I Know What I Want,” and “Riding Round” are relaxing but not boring. They have killer grooves that make you want to grab your best buds, gather around a fire, dance, trade jokes, and laugh. On the flip side, songs like “Call Me,” “Melting,” and “Loner” have the ability to slow time down and make you enjoy the little things in life.
#3 Tyler, The Creator
The absolute perfect album to accentuate your summer bike rides is Wolf. Sonically, Wolf seamlessly blends elements of jazz and hip-hop together in a way that is unique to Tyler. Just like any bike ride, Wolf has its moments of explosiveness and its moments of calmness.
Songs like “Jamba,” “Domo23,” and “Tamale” erupt from out of your headphones and give you a rush of adrenaline similar to cruising down a steep hill, while tracks like “Wolf,” “Answer,” and “Cowboy” emit a cadence of calmness, similar to a nice forest trail along a river.
Wolf is not a lyrically driven album, nor is it meant to be. It’s a hodgepodge of emotions and feelings, conveyed through the music as a whole. When Tyler breaks the struggle of love down to nine syllables, with “I fucking hate you, but I love you,” the song brilliantly conveys what every one of us has felt in some point in our lives.
#2 Chance the Rapper — Acid Rap
Perhaps one of the most enjoyable listens to be released in recent years, Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap is a genre redefining body of work that is as upbeat as it is insightful.
Songs such as “Pusha Man,” “Juice,” “Nana,” and “Smoke Again” are fantastic upbeat listens. These songs sound extraordinary in almost every situation whether it’s in a car full of friends, on your headphones, or at a house party. They can even make mundane chores like doing laundry fun.
Just as the album started, it ends on a high note with “Everything’s Good (Good Ass Outro)” reassuring us that everything is good — however, in context of this body of work, everything’s great.
#1 Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean comes in at the top of this list by providing us one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the decade, Channel Orange.
Channel Orange has many themes, the most prominent being love and uncompromising honesty. The album starts with a brief track where we hear various sound effects, the most recognizable being a Playstation 2, which immediately helps cement the tone of an awkward calmness which is present throughout the album. Songs such as “Thinking Bout You,” “Fertilizer,” and “Sweet Life” have an airy, feel-good aesthetic.
There are two climaxes to Channel Orange: first, a nearly 10-minute-long track, “Pyramids,” which sees Ocean bob and weave through several melodies, harmonies, bass lines, and horn section; second, “Bad Religion,” which describes the agony of being hopelessly in love with someone who will never love you. Channel Orange will forever be my go-to summer album.