To say that July got off to a good start would be an understatement.
Demi Lovato’s Cool For The Summer was released on July 1, sending everyone into that pre-summer mode. You know, where no one wants to work anymore and we’re all dreaming of those long sunny days and lounging on warm beaches with a mojito in our hands. Peaking at number 11 on the Hot 100’s top 20, and number 7 on the UK Singles Chart, the lead single from Lovato’s fifth album sold 80,000 copies in its first week. The punchy pop-rock track sends Lovato back to her original musical style while breaking new territory for the former-Disney star; with lyrics hinting towards sexually experimenting with a woman during the summer months, critics deemed it Lovato’s most racy track yet.
July 10 saw the release of Communion, the debut album from British electronica trio Years & Years. Debuting at number 1 in the UK Singles Chart, it sold over 650,000 copies worldwide, becoming the fastest selling debut album in 2015 from a UK band. Critics likened the band’s sound to those found in nightclubs in the 80s and 90s, the album kicked off the summer’s music scene with the trio gathering a huge number of radio plays throughout the party and festival season.
Run Away With Me, the second single from Carly Rae Jepsen’s third album Emotion, was released on July 17. Dubbed “the perfect summer anthem jam” by Paper magazine, the song is catchy and intriguing, with a classic pop vibe. Jepsen’s known for her hits, everyone remembers Call Me Maybe, and I Really Like You, but Run Away With Me is a little more grown up, while still retaining the young audience that it’s aimed at. The saxophone throughout the four-minute record is sophisticated yet simple, while the electronic melody is right up the street of those more accustomed to One Direction than the jazz genre. It’s a shame it didn’t climb the charts like her previous singles, because if it had hit that top 10, it would have been up there with the rest of 2015’s summer hits.
One of my favourite pop songs was released in July and I will always mourn the fact that it wasn’t given an international release. So forgive me, anyone outside of the UK, for this song is getting a mention anyway. Released on July 24 as the lead single from Foxes’ sophomore album (due to be released next year), Body Talk seemed to be everywhere. It was constantly being played on the radio, used in numerous television adverts, and as backing tracks for television shows. A modern pop-hit with a 80s dance-club vibe; synths and a killer beat showcase Foxes’ powerful, gorgeous vocals. Although it only reached number 25 on the UK Singles Chart, it was a staple in nightclubs across the UK.
Lianne La Havas brought July to a close with her sophomore album Blood, released on July 31. After finishing her tour, La Havas took a trip to Jamaica, wanting to explore her roots and heritage. It was this exploration that inspired her to begin writing Blood, as the songs on the album are related to “the feeling of who you are and where you come from,” (La Havas) with the music full of Jamaican grooves, rhythm, and traditional syncopation. La Havas transformed from an acoustic artist to more of a neo-soul and jazz genre. It was a beautiful change as she’s found her niche.
July was a long summer party in disguise, full of fun festival anthems and albums that had the potential to shape a genre and make or break an artist’s career.