The Official PITNB Summer Music Guide


I begin this list with a music-related confession of sorts: my first musical crush was on Billy Ray Cyrus, and it was a fiercely passionate one-sided love affair that no one (not even me) will ever fully understand. I was 5 and he– mainly the poster on my wall of him, shirtless– was my everything. Achey Breaky Heart (aka Don’t Tell My Heart) got me through some really difficult times in kindergarten, and I’m not kidding.

Music is a funny thing and my obsession with certain artists can get awkward at times. I remember being at Jay-Z’s American Gangster concert and Lil Wayne (whose raps had become the basis of my poetry… and my world) came on stage and I kind of lost it in a real way. This would have been fine if I hadn’t been there with my boyfriend (now the father of my kids) who probably still remembers the glimmer in my eyes that he saw when Jay-Z introduced his surprise guest; does he wonder if he’ll ever see that glimmer again? Because he probably won’t. AWK.

When I started writing about movies – and even before then, when I was trying to finish my degree at Sarah Lawrence – I convinced myself that I had little time for music and that was something I’ll never do again. For many of us, music is, well, the soundtrack to our lives. And I’m so happy to re-incorporate various little (totally healthy) obsessions back into my life, starting this summer. I owe it, my time and energy, to music– to Billy Ray Cyrus, and to Lil Wayne (whoa, guess I have a thing for Southern guys); I wouldn’t be here without them.

Please don’t tell anyone about the Billy Ray thing… or the Lil Wayne thing, for that matter. Instead, forget everything you just read and check out 15 albums that are sure to make waves this summer. And in case the artist’s name doesn’t ring a bell, we’ve included one throwback song, and one song off of their summer 2012 album for your listening/reviewing pleasure. Obviously, lots of other great artists are putting out quality product this June, July, or August. Who’d we miss? And whose music are you most excited to download or even– dare I say– walk into a store and buy???

My personal, top specials this summer are

1. Fiona Apple’s The Idler Wheel…
2. A$AP Rocky’s LongLiveA$AP and
3. Alanis Morissette’s Havoc and Bright Lights

Because in my dream wedding I walk down the aisle to Alanis, have Fiona (live) at my reception and, uh, listen to A$AP the night of. Wink.


Who: The Hives
What: Lex Hives
When: June 5, 2012
Why: I’m not as familiar with the music of The Hives as I am with some of the other artists on our list, so feel free to school me in the comments. But I’ve always understood them to be an extremely big deal, and definitely remember some of their earlier big singles, like Hate To Say I Told You So and Tick Tick Boom. I’ve been having a blast listening to this Swedish garage rock band’s music and hanging out at their site, The Hives Broadcasting Service. From what I can see/hear, they’ve got a great sound and a unique style; I’m definitely looking forward to becoming a bigger fan this summer.
Where: Official Website, Facebook, Twitter


  • c

    I’ve enjoyed Shannon’s posts, but it’s kind of disorienting to not know who’s posting. Especially since both bloggers’ personal connections are a big part of their writing, I think it would be useful to bump the “posted by” up higher so we know before we start reading. Welcome, Shannon!

    • @c — Author bylines will be more prominent soon :)

  • Thanks c! I don’t control the logistics but I’m sure the big men upstairs will consider this now that the family’s growing :)

  • Alys

    Really? Justin Bieber? Eugh.

    • I hear you Alys but it would have been weird if I completely left him out I think, lol.

  • Alyssa

    Loved the variety of artists! You covered a lot of genres, which is refreshing to see in a “culmination” list like this one. Thanks Shannon – I’m really enjoying your posts ;) !! And thanks Trent for finding Shanning :)

    • Thanks Alyssa! And I like “Shanning.” Looks like “Shining.” :)

  • Alyssa

    Ooof.. Shannon*

  • MM

    Shannon, now that I know that you are a Fiona Apple fan – you are officially IN with me for life.

    Fiona is what first brought me to this blog many moons ago (I’m a HUGE fan) and she is also responsible for bringing some amazing friends into my life. I am so beyond excited for this new album and tour.

    Anyway, glad to have another Fiona fan here at PITNB! :)

    • Thanks MM. I am very, very tempted to get that deluxe edition. She’s brilliant.

    • MM

      It’s on sale at Amazon so I say go for it! :)

    • Sweet! Thanks for the tip :)

  • Tom are you using Google Chrome? It’s better in Safari. Let me know if it doesn’t work for you and maybe we can switch to a video gallery. I think the gallery is not as fun– it would be like 15 pages, but it might work.

  • Adriana

    i too am a huge weezy fan #lyricalgenius. last i introduced myself you to i forgot to tell you I’m from TX. and I noticed you didn’t have any TX rappers on there i.e., paul wall (check out I’m Throwed ft. JD) ;) Lovin this and will get through all the songs and whistle while i work for the rest of the day ;)

    • Adriana, I’m like a month late replying to this; just wanted to say thanks and I def know a lil about Paul Wall. He got some major play n Cleveland when I lived there, lol.

    • Oh and Lil Flip’s ‘This Is The Way We Ball’ was my high school class song. True story.

  • Leslie

    Trent, can you please discontinue using this Shannon person as a blogger? I haven’t enjoyed any of her posts, and this latest one was MASSIVE in NOT a good way. Her writing style is immature and wordy. And her posts are so long that they make my RSS aggregator freeze. Also, she uses white font in certain posts, which doesn’t show up. That’s actually a good thing, because then I don’t have to read it.

    • @Leslie — No.

    • ;)

    • rOXy

      Shannon! You are official now. Your first hate mail. Go celebrate!

      Leslie – it’s easy. Simply. Don’t. Read. There are a ton of us out here who really like Shannon and her style of blogging. One sour puss shouldn’t try to ruin it for the rest of us. Trent said the author bylines will be more prominent soon, so all you have to do is skip by it on your merry way. ;)

    • Lol, rOXy thanks for the support. It’s not the first negative comment, but I will say that Leslie’s is special. If it was addressed to me, I would respond directly but it’s not. I would tell Leslie that I can sense her love & dedication to PITNB (through her personal distaste for my writing) and that I appreciate and welcome ANY and ALL criticism– most of it has a bit of truth in there. I’d also tell her to read my comment to Tom if she’s having trouble viewing.

      to YOU I say Thank you again ;)

  • Maddiej

    Shannon, ignore those fools! Although I’m sure you don’t need some girl (and I say girl because I like to pretend in 21 again) telling you that. I love your posts! Trent made a great decision adding you. You definitely bring something new (but good) to the site.:)

    • Thanks Maddiej– I try not to ignore anyone, but I know I can’t please everyone :) I’m glad that you’re pleased, though! THANKS, seriously, for the kind words.

      LOL @21– My best friend refused to turn 22. Like, had a second 21st birthday and everything. So I get it!