With the last days of summer ticking away and fall festivities just around the corner, it’s a great time to get caught up on some music and movies you might have missed. Soon you’ll be buried in your textbooks getting ready for yet another midterm season, and it’s prime time to find your new study soundtrack or have a movie night with friends while you can still relax. Check out our picks for the best music and movies of the summer.
“ERYS” — Jaden Smith
July 5, 2019
Jaden Smith followed his mixtape “The Sunset Tapes: A Cool Tape Story” with the early summer release of “ERYS.” The young social media icon crossed several wavelengths of music with his second album. Smith featured more raucous and gritty tracks such as “I” and “N,” while others showcased a slowed-down production style for a gentler and smoother sound. “P,” the opening track of the album, has an anthemic sound, while “K” sounds like a more relaxed version of a Twenty One Pilots song, featuring poetic lyrics describing young love. Although the album received criticism for vain lyricism and overproduced beats that deeply altered Smith’s voice, “ERYS” is a stream-worthy summer release.
“7” — Lil Nas X
June 21, 2019
Following one of the quickest rises to fame that the internet age has seen with his surprise hit “Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X released his debut extended play, “7,” on the summer solstice, featuring a diverse cast of artists such as Billy Ray Cyrus, Travis Barker and Cardi B. On some tracks, Lil Nas X tried a different sound from his typical tunes, akin to alternative rock from the 2000s. “F9mily (You & Me)” and “Bring U Down” are both alternative tracks that feature lighter vocals, with guitar and drums dominating the song. For the most part, Lil Nas X picked up where he left off with “Old Town Road,” as the rest of the album is a trap production with country-inspired vocals. The upcoming artist’s debut is a promising step toward true stardom.
“No.6 Collaboration Project” — Ed Sheeran
July 12, 2019
Ed Sheeran’s “No.6 Collaborations Project” features a different artist on each track from a wide variety of musical genres. “Antisocial” with Travis Scott, who is still feeling the fame from his 2018 album “Astroworld,” features Sheeran’s pop vocals and Scott’s grittier lines with a blended pop and trap production. Sheeran’s summer release is a unique and diverse collection, offering a dizzying array of tracks to choose from.
“Fever Dream” — Of Monsters and Men
July 26, 2019
Of Monsters and Men, a giant in the alternative folk genre for nearly a decade, veered away from their stomp-and-holler roots toward a more produced and pop-oriented sound on their summer release, “Fever Dream.” The album carries an ambient atmosphere throughout its production, with the group’s trademark dreamy and idealistic lyrics reminding listeners that for all the musical change, they’re still the same band.
“ICONOLOGY” — Missy Elliott
August 23, 2019
Although Missy Elliott has not released a full studio album since the early 2000s, she has remained a prominent figure in the rap industry, writing and producing for some of the biggest names in the game. She returned to the studio as an artist with her extended play, “ICONOLOGY,” with a mix of trap and R&B beats that are constant throughout the collection of tracks. “DripDemeanor (feat. Sum1)” is a calmer trap beat featuring seductive lyrics, but the majority of the tracks feature dance club-centered lyrics, like the galvanic “Throw It Back.”
“Toy Story 4,” directed by Josh Cooley
June 21, 2019
“Toy Story 4” continues one of the most iconic franchises in children’s movie history, as the beloved cast of characters continue to venture into foreign environments. Driven by the innocent and pure character Forky, the crew is taken on an RV trip by their child’s family, where chaos ensues as the toys battle troubled and deceiving villains.
“Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am” directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
June 21, 2019
Toni Morrison, who recently passed on Aug. 5, had her life’s achievements chronicled in the documentary “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am.” The legendary author comments on her successes, as well as the obstacles she faced in becoming one of the most well-known authors of her generation. She also discusses the topics she explored in her literature, including racism, humanity and American history.
“The Art of Self-Defense,” directed by Riley Stearns” directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
July 12, 2019
A brutally relentless comedy with unexpectedly dark turns, “The Art of Self-Defense” follows Casey, played by Jesse Eisenberg, as he looks to bolster his masculinity and dignity after being attacked by a motorcycle gang. The film features a brutal plot twist that instills shock in the audience, yet maintains some humor.