Summer music preview

| Jay Benedict writer |

Summer entertainment is known for its blockbuster movies, TV repeats and songs that encapsulate the spirit of the season. They’re songs that sound best while driving with the windows down, with the volume pumped up and belting them out shamelessly until you’re stuck at a stoplight and people start giving you looks.
Last summer saw hits like Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” and Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us.” Hits from established acts will be popular, but undoubtedly some newcomers will make a splash as well.
Here’s a preview of albums that have been announced that might just contain the singles that will be overplayed on the radio and listened to at pool parties, bonfires and bars.
Next week, Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, Lily Allen and Atmosphere are dropping albums. This will be Atmosphere’s sixth studio album. This one may make a little more of a mainstream splash because of the success that Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis saw last year. Atmosphere channels that same sound but has been doing it longer.
The week of May 12 will see Rascal Flatts and The Black Keys, among other artists, with releases.
The Black Keys achieved a more mainstream following after “Gold on the Ceiling” was used as the theme song to the 2012 NCAA basketball tournament. The duo holds a secure place in the blues-rock strata and is coming off their best-reviewed album. Expect a solid follow-up.
The following week sees a release from folk-country-turned mainstream-country singer Brantley Gilbert.
His early career isn’t mentioned much, but his best music was made prior to his last album when he added more Southern rock to his compositions and a lot of gravel to his voice.
Coldplay also releases “Ghost Stories” this week. The first single, “Magic,” is already very popular.
Jimmy Fallon’s house band The Roots and Jam-rockers O.A.R. also have a release this week.
June kicks off with 50 Cent, Miranda Lambert, and Yiddish rapper Matisyahu releasing albums.
50 Cent has been wallowing in mediocrity since the last 2000s but still gets airtime.
Country superstar Lambert churns out hit after hit and her new album “Platinum” should be no different.
Matisyahu made a splash in 2006 with “Youth,” but has released several albums since then relatively quietly. This new album may be a true return to form, though.
The week of June 10, Jack White’s follow-up to the mostly good “Blunderbuss” will be released. White can be hit or miss, but can be relied on to generate discussion between rock fans. Count on “Lazaretto” to be loud and inevitably catchy.
Jennifer Lopez, Linkin Park, Sia and Ed Sheeran have new music dropping as well.
This represents only a fraction of what is being released in the next month. Undoubtedly, hits will come from other artists and the highlighted artists are just some of the most well-known that are putting out new music.
Album announcements become spotty after mid-June.
Some release dates haven’t been locked down or official announcements haven’t been made yet. So far, the pop and country genres seem to be underrepresented. That will surely change and the songs you’ll be humming for days will probably be one of those.

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