The downbeat: Six noteworthy new songs to add to your end-of-summer playlist

A white eighth note on a mustard yellow background with sections of album covers are imposed on top of the 2 notes
Graphic by Anaga Srinivas

Summer 2019 may be known as “Hot Girl Summer” because of Megan Thee Stallion’s hit song, but there were tons of other new music releases this summer. As summer winds down, here’s a list of songs from other artists worth adding to your playlist.

1) “Cinnamon Girl” by Lana Del Rey

“Cinnamon Girl” is a triumphant, lush song that stands as well on its own as it fits into Del Rey’s “Norman Fucking Rockwell!” album. In “Cinnamon Girl,” Del Rey is more direct and assertive than ever before. The pre-chorus rings: “If you hold me without hurting me / You’ll be the first who ever did.” Del Rey later invites this affection directly, crooning, “Be the first who ever did,” showing a vulnerable desire for affection rarely exposed in her earlier work. This self-awareness combined with impeccable production and Del Rey’s signature dreamy style transforms itself into a catchy, moody and certifiable summer hit. 

2) “Softly” by Clairo

Clairo’s signature lo-fi style soars with her latest album, “Immunity,” released in August. “Softly” plays to Clairo’s strengths: It is just the right combination of cheesy and lovelorn without being cliché. Above Clairo’s soft background vocals, the chorus asks, “Do you think that we can move closer, baby? I want you / Yeah, yeah / And all my life, been wanting this forever.” Clairo is only 21, but her youth only adds to her undeniable charm. “Softly” is hopeful — a love song without the hardships that come with maturing. With this soft summer love anthem, Clairo hits all the right notes and pulls all the right heartstrings. 

3) “Surf” by Young Thug

Released Aug. 16 as part of Young Thug’s “So Much Fun album, “Surf” is about as summery as a song can get — it’s a bright, catchy, hip-hop song about riding the wave. In the chorus, Young Thug repeats the word “surf” over an instrumental reminiscent of Lil Yachty, evoking happy feelings and an urge to get up and move. Even if the song “Surf” isn’t literally about surfing, this song was practically designed to be played while driving to the beach or hanging out in the sun. 

4) “Love Got Us Beefin” by Nef the Pharaoh

Nef the Pharaoh has enjoyed his share of hits, including “Big Tymin” and “Bling Blaow.” But his latest album, “Mushrooms and Coloring Books,” released Aug. 14, promises a different sound and focus. In “Love Got Us Beefin,” Nef the Pharaoh raps about one girl, speaking about the interaction of modern romance and show business. The rapper includes more vocals than usual on this track, and the track has a (dare I say?) sweeter feel to it than much of his other music. With lines proclaiming his displays of affection like “I brought her flowers to the nail shop,” and other nostalgic lines like “We started out as high school sweethearts / Time got between and we fell apart,” “Love Got Us Beefin” is a summer love song for the long drives and warm nights. 

5) “Hey, Ma” by Bon Iver

Bon Iver released its latest album “i, i” on Aug. 9, with its current sound remaining loyal to its older work — smooth, haunting and full of depth. “Hey, Ma” is full of slow builds, soothing drum beats and Justin Vernon’s signature voice. It’s the song you’ll want playing while sitting around a campfire or staring into the night sky.

6) “Hot Shower” by Chance the Rapper (feat. DaBaby & MadeinTYO)

“Hot Shower” may be the song of the summer, besides “Hot Girl Summer,” obviously. Chance the Rapper released his debut studio album, “The Big Day,” on July 26. “Hot Shower” is energetic, a steady flow of the rapper’s signature, intellectual and often humorous lyrics, but MadeinTYO and DaBaby’s features on the track are arguably what makes this song so great, as the three rappers’ different sounds blend surprisingly well together.

The mood shifts between the artists but never changes completely within their different verses. DaBaby is the most compelling over the instrumental, as the chorus is simple, and his vocals are just so easy to follow. Notable lyrics of this track include: “Dude, that shit don’t even make no fucking sense / Like having fuckin’ arguments for payin’ 50 extra cents for barbecue / Saucing on the workers at McDonald’s / I don’t wanna sit and argue, Good Burger shoulda taught you / We all dudes.” Who doesn’t want to rap along to that? 

As the warm nights die down and this summer winds to a halt, classes have started up again at the Claremont Colleges. We’re blessed to enjoy the nice weather all year long, but whenever you need a little pick-me-up, these songs will transport your mind right back to the more freeing days filled with trips to the beach and campfires.

Ella Boyd SC ’22 is TSL’s music columnist. Besides writing, she enjoys listening to music, discussing pop culture and making art.

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