The Five Albums That Slipped Under the Radar This Summer
Issue   |   Wed, 09/20/2017 - 00:01
Justin Barry '18
Summer 2017 saw an abundance of artists releasing new albums hoping to leave their mark on the summer music scene, causing some to go unnoticed.

Summer 2017 was filled with huge releases from the likes of Lana Del Rey, DJ Khaled, Lorde and Tyler, the Creator. We were inundated with new projects from Meek Mill, A$AP Ferg, XXXTentacion, 21 Savage and Young Thug. There was so much new music released that I delayed my listening of Lil Uzi Vert’s album by two whole weeks. Two weeks! With all of these new albums coming in from big names, it is inevitable that some music will go unnoticed. That’s why I’m here with some albums that may have slipped under your radar this summer.

Odds are that if you keep up with new music in some capacity, you didn’t miss all of these albums. Maybe you missed the release completely, but more likely you saw the album, listened to a single or two and moved on to “Flower Boy” (I certainly wouldn’t blame you; it’s one hell of an album.) Anyway, without further hubbub, here are the albums.

5. “american dream” – LCD Soundsystem
LCD Soundsystem is back and out of retirement with some fresh and funky sounds on their new album. It’s no wonder their 2007 album “Sounds of Silver” is often called one of the best albums of that decade, and the band proves they still got it (at least most of it) on “american dream.” You might say this album is not low-key enough for this list, but you can make your own list if you want. The truth is, “american dream” did not exactly create the buzz expected from such a big-name artist. While it’s certainly not their best work, “american dream” is worth a listen. The opening track “oh baby” and the single “tonite” are high points of the album marked by LCD’s trademark synth sound. David Bowie’s heavy influence is evident in both the composition and vocals. If any of this sounds interesting to you, definitely check out this album.

4. “Freudian” – Daniel Caesar

You might have heard of this album in passing and thought it sounded cool, but if you haven’t gotten a chance to really listen to it, I recommend it. “Freudian” is Daniel Caesar’s debut album. It’s chock-full of slow, sweet and soulful R&B tunes. Caesar proves himself a competent singer throughout this ten-track project. The album is an intoxicating 45 minutes of love ballads, complete with complementing features from Syd, H.E.R., Kali Uchis and Charlotte Day Wilson. I had personally never heard of the latter two, but they shine on their respective parts. While the biggest hit from the album is definitely the opener, “Get You,” my personal favorite is “Neu Roses (Transgressor’s Song).” The song has a beautifully simple a capella intro, which transitions into a funky bass-backed verse about apologizing.

3. “Saturation” – BROCKHAMPTON

Some might say this album is outdated because of the release of Saturation II, but it’s not my fault BROCKHAMPTON decided to release two albums in the span of two months. Besides, should I even really discuss Saturation II if I don’t first talk about Saturation? You see the difficult situation in which I find myseld. Anyway, this album has no bad songs, with the perfect mix of bangers and summer jams. If you aren’t familiar, BROCKHAMPTON is a hip-hop “boy band” that met through the Internet. All things considered, the strength of this project is really outstanding. If you like alternative hip-hop groups like Odd Future, BROCKHAMPTON is the group for you. Check out this album and Saturation II, and look forward to the release of Saturation III this fall (they release music very frequently).

2. “Thot Breaker” – Chief Keef

This may be the first project on this list that flew under your radar completely. Chief Keef’s “Thot Breaker” mixtape had almost no buzz when it was released and probably has even less now. However, I think it would be a huge mistake to overlook this release. If you’re a fan of Chief Keef for his characteristic bangers like “Love Sosa,” this might not be the project for you. On “Thot Breaker,” Chief Keef delves into his more emotional side, exchanging loud trap bangers for melodious love songs. The resulting product is surprisingly good. Chief Keef takes on a large part of production and his accompanying raps feel genuinely heartfelt most of the time. “Thot Breaker” also has some fun, upbeat cuts on it like “Can You Be My Friend?” and “Going Home.” However, if you prefer Chief Keef’s more traditional sound I’d suggest checking out his latest mixtape, “The W.”

1. “Black Ken” – Lil B

The BasedGod is back with his long-promised “Black Ken” mixtape. Despite having released countless mixtapes, Lil B is more commonly known for his absurd YouTube hits like “Wonton Soup.” Most of his hype, however, has died down since his “XXL Freshman” selection in 2011, and “Black Ken” probably went unnoticed by many one-time fans. Nevertheless, the mixtape is worthy of the spotlight on this list. On “Black Ken,” Lil B has put together a 27-track opus that not only highlights his progress as an emcee but also showcases his continued ingenuity in hip-hop. The project, produced entirely by the BasedGod himself, is one of the most interesting and unique listens of the summer. Lil B shines across a diverse tracklist. “Black Ken” includes his distinctive silliness alongside more intense songs with low-key, old-school West Coast flows. While every song isn’t a classic, the resulting tape is a fascinating assortment that shouldn’t be ignored.

Hopefully, you check out at least one of these albums and enjoy it and show it to your friends. Then, maybe they’ll show it to their friends, sparking a chain reaction to popularize these overlooked songs that deserve more attention.