The best new music albums of June 2019


Welcome to Sound On, where we’ll highlight the albums and songs you should know each month, from hits that landed to tracks you might have missed. We’ll even tell you what moods each album conjures up, so you know when to activate them to maximize their effects. Good listening.


I don’t know about you, but I find my music needs to change during the summer. In the fall I want something introspective, in the winter something calm, and in the spring I yearn for something hopeful. But in the summer we are looking for surprising, carefree music that is perfect to play on the beach or at a rooftop party. There’s a reason the summer song is one thing: it’s peak earworm season.

With that in mind, here are four albums released in June, just in time to get the summer off to a good start. See if you agree:

Brothers Jonas, Happiness begins

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Who:

JoBros! The very married and eternally adorable trio are back!

What:

As a late adopter of the Jonas Brothers, I find delving through their discography, including solo releases, like a geological study. The bottom layer is incredibly sweet Disney jams and rings of purity, the middle reveals a time when they tried really hard to make sure that we are aware that they have had sex now and know all about it, just ask them! And the top layer, in which we find Happiness begins, takes the best parts of the two and takes the weight off of proving anything. They’re here to have some fun at last, in a cheeky but little embarrassed (“Cool”) and painfully catchy (“Rollercoaster”) way. I like this side of them. That’s what I want from a summer album.

Best time to listen:

Drive on the highway with your friends at night; Karaoke.

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Madonna, Madame X

Face, Lips, Eyebrows, Hair, Nose, Head, Chin, Beauty, Cheek, Skin,

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Who:

Are you serious? Effin ‘Madonna.

What:

Anytime the Queen of Pop does something, it deserves attention. She is a companion. She made up this shit. Madame X is an experimental record with a strong Latin influence that is worth the detour. “Medellin” (video below) is a disturbing and sparse opening track that demands your attention nonetheless. (And that pill she refers to at the start is probably Ambien rather than anything anyone does in Ibiza; Madonna has been around the block too many times for such childishness.)

There are also some interesting guest picks, including Quavo (sans Migos) on the dancey “Future” and Swae Lee (without Slim Jxmmi) on the midtempo but nonetheless catchy “Crave”. It’s not like anything she’s done before, for better (“Crave”) or worse (graphic imagery, inexplicably included from mass shooting of the “God Control” video). “Crazy” is a stealthy anthem, although it could be accused of landing a bit on the nose during this era of “Hispandering”. There are other brilliant pop moments, and a few really weird ones. But it’s Madonna – she does what she wants and may or may not care what we think.

Best time to listen:

Before you pray in your Madonna shrine, I guess.

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Listen now


BENEE, Fire on Marzz

Art, Illustration, Cartoon, Visual arts, Psychedelic art, Graphic design, Modern art,

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Who:

A 19 year old New Zealand singer and songwriter who is your first to watch this summer.

What:

For his first EP, BENEE offers us 20 minutes of balanced pop with R&B accents. It’s catchy and sticky, and BENEE’s voice is hoarse and playful. I mean, she looks like Billie Eilish but with a wise production beyond her years that I could listen to on repeat. “Soaked” was the track that first caught his attention, and for good reason, but I think right now I’m more attached to “Evil Spider”. It’s subject to change, though: it’s one of those records that binds me to a different song every time I listen to it.

Best time to listen:

While avoiding the heat by lying on the sofa under a fan; suntan on your roof (wear sunscreen, babies!)

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Listen now


Ingrid Michaelson, Strangers songs

Head, Beauty, Nose, Pink, Cool, Art, Illustration, Eye, Photography, Photomontage,

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Who:

Ingrid Michaelson, singer of deeply relatable songs, sometimes twee, heavy on the piano, “sing with your girlfriends”.

What:

Strangers songs is an album based on the vibe and sometimes intrigue of the universally binged Netflix show Strange things (in case this album cover sounds familiar to you). As a result, Michaelson rolls out moody synths – nothing as intense as shocking as SURVIVE, the group that actually wrote the Strange things theme song and some delightfully ’80s beats. I’m getting strong Carly Rae Jepsen’s Emotion vibrations here which is the best compliment I can give. To be completely fair, Strangers songs is a little more cheesy than that, but it’s a fitting tribute to a show that has an authentic feeling of ’80s sci-fi tropes. I love “Best Friend” and “Pretty” (which gives me vibes T-Swift, tbh!), But there’s a lot to explore here.

Best time to listen:

When you try to be bloated for Strange things season three, of course! Which, by the way, kicks off the weekend of July 4th.

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Listen now


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