Arts

We curated an eclectic playlist of new releases from quarantine. Collage by Dasser Kamran/Fulcrum.

The best new songs released during the summer of quarantine

Summer of 2020 was (for most people) spent in quarantine, leaving time for lots of music-listening. Artists did not disappoint, with new albums and songs dropped continuously. This summer showcased eclectic genres of music, and frankly should make for an interesting Spotify Recap at the end of 2020. 

Here are some of the new albums and songs from this summer that caught our ears.

The Weeknd: After Hours

Released March 20, 2020.

We’ll start off with a Canadian artist, who released his new album After Hours early into COVID-19. This album has been described as psychedelic, and includes fourteen tracks each with their own layer of unique brilliance. 

Billy Talent: ‘I Beg to Differ’ (Things Will Get Better)

Released April, 14, 2020

The second single off the Mississauga band’s upcoming sixth studio album, I Beg to Differ (Things Will Get Better) is driven by yet another strong performance by Billy Talent’s guitarist Ian D’sa who shreds a pretty complicated riff through the whole song. Singer Ben Kowalewicz vocal performance is also remarkable proving he can still hit high notes with the same intensity that he did on the band’s first record Billy Talent I that came out back in 2003.

Post Malone: ‘Nirvana Tribute’

Released April, 24, 2020

This was a pretty unique livestream, as trap artist Post Malone did a 14-song tribute to Nirvana in a dress with blink-182 drummer Travis Barker (who wore orange short shorts) to raise money for the World Health Organization. Both Courtney Love and Dave Grohl praised Malone’s performance, which emulated Kurt Cobain’s classic emotional song delivery perfectly. Malone was especially impressive on Heart Shape Box, School and Lithium. 

Luke Combs: ‘Six Feet Apart’ 

Released May 1, 2020

Combs wrote his new single, “Six Feet Apart,” in response to the new normal imposed by COVID-19. The song reflects the pandemic (especially in its title) as the world ensures that it stays “Six Feet Apart” to help stop the spread of COVID-19. (On a list of songs released during summer quarantine, it’s impossible to leave out this pandemic song!)

Katy Perry: ‘Daisies’ 

Released May 15, 2020

Katy Perry’ released her single “Daisies on May 15, in part as a celebration for her then-unborn daughter Daisy Dove Bloom whom she welcomed on Aug.27. The song climbed into the Top 40s in Canada and the United States, and is a lasting tribute to her daughter. 

Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga: ‘Rain on Me’ 

Released May 22, 2020

This song is a single from Gaga’s latest album, Chromatica. The song debuted atop of the Billboard’s Hot 100, becoming the first female collaboration ever to debut at the top of the chart. The song carries the message of continuing on despite the hardships of life – a positive message for Grande and Gaga’s younger fans. 

Juice WRLD: Legends Never Die

Released July 10, 2020

The third album by rapper Juice WRLD came out after his death on Dec. 8, 2019. The 22-track record contains six singles, and was number one in both Canada and the United Kingdom. The tribute collection received mostly positive reviews after it was released. 

Chris Cornell: ‘Patience’

Released July 20, 2020

A cover of the GNR classic and the first posthumous release from the late Soundgarden/Audioslave frontman this song can only be described as beautiful. 

Taylor Swift: folklore 

Released July 24, 2020

folklore is Swift’s eighth album, and hit streaming services after a surprise drop in late July. This album has a cottagecore aesthetic and portrays the heartbreaks and loss Swift has endured and observed. The album has 16 songs as well as a “cardigan” music video. Upon folklore’s debut, 3 songs landed in the Top 10 on the Hot 100. 

Oliver Tree feat. blink-182: ‘Let Me Down’

Released July 24, 2020

blink-182 and Oliver Tree’s collaboration on this one is magical, blink enhances another wise boring song with the mix of Adam’s Song sounding guitar work and a Brainstew era Green Day-inspired rhythm section. Also props to those who noticed the Green Day reference when Mark Hoppus sings “on my phone, here we go”.

Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion: ‘WAP’ 

Released Aug. 7, 2020

The latest hit from Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion is the lead single from Cardi B’s upcoming album. “WAP” has received both criticism (notably from Ben Shapiro) and acclaim, as the sex-positive song features fairly graphic lyrics. The song debuted at number one on Billboard’s Hot 100. 

Drake feat. Lil Durk: ‘Laugh Now Cry Later’

Released Aug. 14, 2020

“Laugh Now Cry Later” is the lead single from Drake’s upcoming album, Certified Lover Boy. The song debuted at number two on Billboard’s Hot 100, and number one in Canada (Drake’s home country – go Canada!). Hopefully, the rest of this album is released soon! 

Miley Cyrus: ‘Midnight Sky’

Released Aug. 13, 2020

Cyrus’ latest single, “Midnight Sky,” touches on her divorce from Liam Hemsworth. The song topped charts within the first week of its release, and the singer explained the song is about “taking back control of our own narrative.” 

Arkells: Campfire Chords

Released Aug. 20, 2020

With their latest release, the Arkells reimagined the concept of ‘Biggest Hits Albums’ by releasing an acoustic collection of their biggest hits. The songs Come to Light, 11:11 and Michigan Left are definitely the standouts of this record. 

Summer 2020 was one of the best summers in recent memory for music to be released (since everyone had time to just sit and listen); many artists jumped on this opportunity. This list doesn’t cover every drop from this summer, but showcases some of the popular ones. 

(Psst! This playlist is available here for your listening pleasure; we’ll be adding to it periodically!)