by GABRIELLA DEPINHO, Editor-in-Chief
Summer always feels both long and not long enough, but this year, thanks to an early end to the in-person semester, summer felt as if it was five months long, even though we were still buried in work from classes. For most of us, when classes actually ended, our summers looked quite different than we had planned. I was fortunate enough to maintain my in-person internship because news personnel are considered “essential workers” but many lost theirs or were forced to work remotely.
Despite my work schedule of Sundays to Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., I still was very much in the midst of the pandemic with everyone else. I still baked banana bread, binge-watched shows, played Xbox with my brother, went for walks or runs, did my chores, ate a bunch of ice cream and tried not to lose my mind when I felt trapped inside the house.
One thing that helped me pass the time on days stuck in the house was listening to and looking for new music. This habit actually came in handy when work started because I was the only intern with a car at the newspaper I worked at, which meant I was frequently sent far distances. Below is the playlist for my pandemic, essential worker summer made of the songs I listened to while staring at the walls at home or as I drove to Pennsylvania, Connecticut or any of the five boroughs for work.
Stuck in the Middle – Tai Verdes
I found this song on one of those “stare at the walls” types of days, but it quickly became a popular choice to play multiple times over in one drive. On Instagram (@taiverdes) in a July 1 post, the artist wrote the song was “the most honest thing [he’s] ever written.” It’s safe to say we can expect more from him.
You And I – LÉON
Part of my goal this summer was to really dig up and listen to full albums of artists that I was finding, rather than just one or two tracks. While this is one of the contemporary pop artist’s more popular tracks, it’s still one of my favorites from her debut, self-titled album that came out last year.
Betty – Taylor Swift
For once, Swift’s latest release, “folklore” was her least anticipated album, both in timing and in genre, considering it’s tagged as alternative. I thought the deep clean of my room I did was a productive use of my time this quarantine, but Swift has me beat. I had sixteen tracks to pick from but I picked this for no other reason than it’s a bop.
Supercuts – Jeremy Zucker
I knew a number of people who, pre-pandemic, went to a Zucker concert in the city but hadn’t heard any of his music. Now, finally having the time to listen to his entire discography, I finally understood the hype and even followed him on social media, which is how I heard this recent release. And yes, it’s Supercuts as in the chain hair salon.
Tandem Bike – Emma Jayne
A good high school friend of mine had introduced me to Emma Jayne’s singer-songwriter tunes a while ago, but I just heard this song for the first time recently. I sound like a dying duck while singing along, but I feel empowered when I do.
Nothing Left to Lose – Transit
One of my friends from MC texted me about Transit’s 2014 album “Joyride” during quarantine. I listened and quickly became obsessed with this album as the perfect “summer” album. I’m sad I missed its release in 2014 because I would have loved it then too. The band actually split in 2016, so maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t get attached back then.
Lovin’ In My Baby’s Eyes – Leftover Salmon
In quarantine, I finally got to read “Always and Forever, Lara Jean,” which is the third and final installment in Jenny Han’s series that started with “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.” Without giving anything away, this song was mentioned in the book and due to my loyalty to the characters, it ended up on my own playlist.
Sunday – Joy Oladokun
Oladokun’s music is just so good, it was hard to pick one song to recommend, but I settled on “Sunday,” which was the first tune of hers that I actually listened to. This track can be found on Oladokun’s recently released album “in defense of my own happiness (vol. 1),” which is her second album ever. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for volume two.
Little League – Conan Gray
Without realizing that Conan Gray was a singer, I found myself liking multiple tweets of his as they appeared on my timeline. When I finally looked up who he was, I found his indie-popish album “Kid Krow” that came out in March of this year. This track came out on top because it felt like a summer song.
Nora – Raavi & the Houseplants
This one popped up in my “Discover Weekly” playlist, which is a playlist that I do not listen to frequently enough considering how much I like finding new tunes. The band’s whole 2019 nine-song release, “Don’t Hit Me Up” is full of great tracks that I highly recommend; hopefully, this one gets you hooked.
Not Going Home – Great Good Fine Ok
If the band name alone doesn’t want to make you listen to them, I don’t know how I’ll convince you to listen to them. This song is great for a drive with the windows down and the sunlight fading behind the mountains as you shoot down the thruway heading back home after a long day at work. (The irony is noted.)
Sunlight – Yuno
I found Yuno thanks to a Twitter thread that I was reading, which is truly a first for me when it comes to discovering new music. Yuno has been releasing music, starting with a platform on Bandcamp, since 2010, so if you want to stop being 10 years late to the party, I recommend checking out his music.
Nothing in My Head – Richie Quake
This suggestion came from my older sister who actually moved out in June. But before she moved out, she used to walk into my room while I was doing homework and talk to me about random stuff while she took breaks from work. Many of those conversations centered around what music she was listening to while doing her work and one day, it happened to be Quake. I wasn’t expecting to like Quake but I ended up deep-diving his discography and liking all of it.