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