Best Albums of August

Yeah, we know it’s almost halfway through September (when did that happen) but we’re still reflecting on the summer. Our staff took some time to reflect on the albums that helped us soak up the last bit of the season. Check out our favorite albums from August below.


Slide - George Clanton


The best part about summer is remembering summer. The feeling of nostalgia conjured through the recollection of road trips and bonfires can bring more potent pleasure than than the actual experiences themselves. On Slide, George Clanton dials back the clock to the late-90s, where young people were seen as slackers and eclectic trip-hop briefly stood shoulder to shoulder with the last vestiges of grunge in popularity. It’s not wrong to call Slide a modern spin on trip-hop, but that would be missing the point. With its bombastic beats, lush synths, record scratches and ethereal vocals whirling throughout the album, it captures everything that made groups like Sneaker Pimps and Cibo Matto great while amplifying them to such an intensity that it feels like a perfect summer dream. The long song lengths on key tracks like “Livin’ Loose” and “Slide” only heighten this feeling by evoking an earlier time where time seemed to move slower. Even if you didn’t experience the ‘90s, Slide will not only make you feel like you were there, but that is was also the best time in your life. -Peter Melero

Sweetener - Ariana Grande


Apart from Ariana Grande’s tracks that are constantly played on the radio and her debut album Yours Truly (that recently turned 5), my exposure to her music was limited. In the months preceding the release of Sweetener I was constantly seeing promotion, so naturally I was intrigued. After my first listen, I immediately loved the R&B influences that were fused with her expected pop sound. The sound could be partly attributed to her collaboration with Pharrell on the album. With this work Grande has definitely earned my respect as a musician. Following the terrorist attack at her Manchester show last year, her album is an ode to strength and recovery. The album’s opener, “raindrops (an angel cried)” sets the stage for the rest of the songs and labels the overall theme as “healing and finding happiness”. Other notable tracks that depict this theme are “get well soon,” “no tears left to cry,” and “better off”. With Sweetener, Grande has  somewhat set herself apart from her traditional “Top 40” mold. My favorites of the album include “R.E.M.”, “everytime” and “blazed” (feat. Pharrell). - Francesca Gedeon

Be The Cowboy - Mitski


Mitski’s fifth studio album is an equally thrilling as it is bizarre collection of eclectic indie-pop that highlights the singer-songwriter’s knack for bold lyricism and melodies. Part of what makes Be The Cowboy so effective is the brief song lengths and unconventional track order which allows for the album to be an exciting listen from top to bottom while remaining cohesive. Mitski details desolation, society’s ills, and her struggle to find love in a world where nobody is willing to simply listen. There’s a sense of unpredictability and mania that ebbs and flows throughout the album; the opener, “Geyser”, starts off with Mitski’s haunting vocals over a lone organ before building into a booming power ballad that climaxes with high energy horns and blaring guitars. Contrastingly, “Blue Light” begins with distorted guitar strums and thumping drums only to quickly dissolve into an atmospheric array of reverb-laden vocals and epic strings. A natural evolution for her as an artist, Be The Cowboy is colorful and quirky while maintaining the rawness of Mitski’s earlier projects. - Max

Elevated - Elton


Upcoming artist Elton [+-] has released his biggest project to date with his EP Elevated. The record provides high promise, with a strong mastery of electronic melodies, lyrical prose, and multilayered instrumentals all within six songs. With constant surprise shifts within every song, Elton mixes jazz, rap, and experimental electronic influences to produce jam packed, euphoric felt stories. Elton opens about his identity, inner demons, and fears with love and his potential career as a musician. “Hide the bottle from me; I tend to turn into someone; A part from me” he speeds through in “Rewind;” the deeper implications of the song hidden under a lofi beat and harmonious vocals. Elton is a perfect choice for a need of strong rap verses along with bedroom soul influences that compliment the unified work of the entire EP. - Amelia Stern

Ben Khan - Ben Khan


After three years of silence, Ben Khan has finally delivered his debut album, and it was well worth the wait. Through its ambitious electronic R&B soundscapes, instruments shapeshift, vocals become impossible to discern, and no song ends sounding the same as it started. The self titled album sounds like it comes from a future where humans only have access to two Bollywood films, a scratched-up copy of Bad by Michael Jackson, Blade Runner on Blu-Ray, and the Torah. I wouldn’t be too opposed to living in that future. - Matt Karas

Swimming- Mac Miller


September 7th, Pittsburg rapper Mac Miller was found dead at the age of 26 home in California. With this tragic loss, it is important to reflect on all the great music Mac Miller has released over the years, especially his most recent album: Swimming. Early August, Mac Miller returned to the music scene this summer with his 5th, and arguably most ambitious album. The album incorporates themes of heartbreak, struggles with mental health and personal growth. These themes seem to be a common trend in Miller’s recent albums, but Swimming is a standout due to its deep, silky, warm funk inspired sound paired with Miller’s vulnerable, yet charismatic lyrics. Mac has constantly brought a new, fresh vibe to the trends of hip-hop, and Swimming is no exception. Miller’s contributions to hip-hop will live on in the genre. -Stephanie MacMillan

Travis Scott- Astroworld

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Travis Scott’s highly anticipated third studio album Astroworld was recently released and is already certified Gold. The critically acclaimed album pays homage to Six Flags AstroWorld in Houston, where Scott grew up, and incorporates a multitude of effects which create an audio experience similar to being on a wild ride at an amusement park. There’s the sounds of creaking metal, spinning rides, and the shouts of riders as they journey through Scott’s fictitious fun park. The album addresses aspects of Travis’s personal life with shout outs to Kylie Jenner and also pays respect to idols such as DJ Screw while producing quick and catchy verses over killer beats. Notable singles include “Butterfly Effect” and “Sicko Mode” featuring Drake and Swae Lee. In the end, Astroworld ultimately serves as a stepping stone as Scott continues to experiment with new sound, verses, and vibes. - Colin Ruzella

Hypochondriac - The Frights

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The Frights have just released their third album Hypochondriac after recently signing with Epitaph Records. This album has a completely different sound from their 2016 album, You Are Going to Hate This, while still managing to maintain their surf punk sound. They have strayed from hard guitar riffs, opting for a softer sound this time around while lyrically tackling a range of topics like depression, relationships, being on tour, and anxiety with songs like “CRUTCH” and “Over It”.  My favorite songs on the album are “No Place Like (Not Being) Home” and “Whatever”. “No Place Like (Not Being) Homewas one of their singles and was an instant favorite of mine because it came at just the right time during the summer. It’s that point where you’re ready to just go back to school because your summer job has become a stale routine or whatever you’ve been doing has just become boring and you're ready for a change. The Frights are also going on tour this fall with Hunny and Hot Flash Heat Wave so it will be interesting to see them incorporate these songs into their live performances. - Tope Ekunsanmi

Bloom- Troye Sivan


With a fitting title, Bloom is Troye Sivan’s declaration of independence. It functions as both a foray into the depths of maturity lyrically as much as it does sonically. Sure, it isn’t an entirely surprising companion to 2015’s Blue Neighborhood synths and emotions, but this album is, if the cover art didn’t give it away, dark. Not dark in a sense that the themes ever dive into anything socially deeper than coming-of-age and true romance, but it certainly is the edgiest Sivan’s ever been. From the emotionally tender, stripped down acoustics of “The Good Side” to the more familiar pulsing beats of “My My My!”, Sivan reveals himself as a fully fledged character. That character is an artistic, a friend, a champion for progressivism in the industry- but really, he is a person going through the works, like we all are. - Shianne Salazar