Whether the fall sounds like 808s or sorrowful ballads, artists are making their final bids for Album of the Year — before we collectively listen to Mariah Carey. For some artists, like Adele, this fall has been another routine success that builds on their legacy. However, breakout successes like digicore producer dltzk have gained tons of attention and acclaim from the latter end of October to all of November.
With end-of-year list season just a few weeks away, the New University rounded up a preliminary list of projects that wear an autumn coat with their October-November release dates.
Adele – “30”
Released on Nov. 19, only a week after Taylor Swift’s re-recorded “Red (Taylor’s Version),” Adele took the world by storm with a gift of media presence and an outstanding album. During an Instagram livestream, Adele revealed that the album, “30,” is primarily based on the divorce from her ex-husband who she shared a relationship with for eight years. With tracks like “My Little Love” and “Woman Like Me,” Adele breaks down the epic to her son through a particularly self-aware lens. She’s focused on learning from her mistakes and building a new sound that deserves kudos — unafraid of new territory after reaching a better place. From the sudden appearances in the media — including the memes — to the music itself, the rollout is tear-jerking and flows like a conversation with an estranged best friend beyond a stream.
dltzk – “Frailty”
Dltzk, which is pronounced “delete Zeke,” is an 18-year-old from New Jersey who has cracked the code to the ideal emo-digicore sound with their debut album “Frailty.” Quarantine has inspired thousands of young musicians with a grip on internet culture and dramatics under the hyperpop genre; digicore is a dominant sub-genre that uses many audible glitches that resemble a mashup of your current browser tabs. “Frailty” literally goes beyond the short-lived digicore rush that brought dltzk into the spotlight, “homeswitcher,” and extends each idea with sincerity and quality. The 13 tracks retain their youth while exploring the shifting relationships between friends, parents, lovers, and most notably, oneself. As the weather brings families together for the holidays, “Frailty” denotes the realization that life is ever changing, whether one loves the indietronica or not.
Sega Bodega – “Romeo”
With his sophomore album “Romeo,” Sega Bodega brings a seductive, groovy project that shines light where his debut album “Salvador” left off. In an interview with Office Magazine, Bodega revealed that he attempted writing about the healthier insights: “[Romeo] was just completely trying to be like, romantic and healthy and really like how I felt about my friends and family and loved ones for the last five years.” The contrast between the high-speed-chase of “All Of Your Friends Think I’m Too Young For You” and “I Need Nothing From You” show the textures of the growing sound. Bodega explores a monochromatic range of romance, loss and bravery — all in an appropriate 10 tracks. Characterized by a rubber bass-line and an intimate sense for house, each track on “Romeo” feels more exciting than the last.
Beach House – “Once Twice Melody”
Ahead of their eighth studio release slated for 2022, Beach House reminds fans that they can still hypnotize the auditory senses with their morose chamber pop EP “Once Twice Melody.” The EP doesn’t seek the same ambiance as the 2015 hit “Space Song,” but instead moves to an unravelling, percussive picture. Cuts like “Pink Funeral” and “Through Me” contain a dazzling synth with a kick drum that is reminiscent of Spellling’s acclaimed record from earlier in the year, “The Turning Wheel.” Instead of completely drowning out the vocals and submitting to dreamy shoegaze, Beach House’s new direction is exciting in its love for pop. Instead of sitting in an afternoon meadow pondering love and your place in the world, “Once Twice Melody” enjoys love before the crisp, autumn dawn fades.
*Editor’s Pick:* aya – “im hole”
There’s certainly a grimy, almost sinister feel to aya’s “im hole” that belongs to autumn. During an exemplary cascade of keys on “the only solution i have found is to simply jump higher,” there’s a wonderful loop that undergoes a gauntlet of digital experimentation and distortion. Aya avoids structure and invites novelty to almost emulate the frantic, eccentric mind of the musician. The album can be described by its direct approach to taking a dark club groove, distorting its image and holding the electronica to your ear for a concise run time.
“One of my favorite albums of this year. I’m obsessed with aya’s approach to texture and electronic experimentalism, from the grimy vocal bends of ‘what if i should fall asleep and slipp under’ to heavy swing and glitchy syncopation of ‘dis yacky.’ It’s a wonderfully intricate and visceral album,” New University Entertainment Editor Mia Hammett said.
This year’s fall music season has brought a refreshing surge of sound that was absent around this time last year. By timbre, cover art or subject matter, music’s relation to the decaying leaves and Daylight Savings Time disorientation welcomes the association between art and nature in a truly beautiful way. Surely, there are enough diversifying releases to punctuate everything that happened this year; but, it’s now time for the Christmas canon.
Mason Stoutamire is an Entertainment Intern for the fall 2021 quarter. He can be reached at email@example.com.