What Will the Soundtrack for Summer 2021 Entail?

As the world cautiously reopens, we look for music to provide the soundtrack to our re-emergence. The question is: What will our song be?

In the face of unspeakable adversity and tragedy, mankind has always looked to music as a way to provide evocation of our collective emotions. For the past year, as concert venues have shuttered across the globe, creatives and musicians alike have discovered new and creative ways to share their art with the world.

From digital album releases to virtual zoom concerts, music has proven that it will always find a way through. And, as society sits upon the cusp of a huge re-emergence into a (somewhat) normal life, music is once again ready to provide a new soundtrack for a new year.

But, what will the sounds of summer 2021 be? Let’s take a look at what recent releases and emerging trends are trying to tell us. And, how we can join our voices together to sing this new chapter in our shared musical history.


The Industry Gears up for Summer 2021

Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber performs during the Triller Fight Club Night at Mercedes Benz Stadium, in Atlanta. Image via Robb Cohen/Invision/AP/Shutterstock.

Like many industries that have had to shutter and adapt, the music industry has continued to stay hard at work preparing for a time when concert venues can open once again. We’ve begun to see a steady stream of releases signifying that a large buildup is about to hit radio airwaves and digital streams soon.

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift performs at the 47th Annual American Music Awards in Los Angeles. Image via Chelsea Lauren/Shutterstock.

Summer 2021 is already off to a fast start with some major releases from pop superstars like Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift, as well as some country and rap albums from artists like Morgan Wallen and Rod Wave. The early sounds are a mix of thoughtful storytelling, minimalist arrangements, and nostalgic revisions.

Morgan Wallen
Morgan Wallen performs on his Can’t Say I Ain’t Country Tour. Image via Katie Darby/​Invision/​AP/​Shutterstock.

However, as the summer begins to heat up, the charts are starting to be topped by the dance, R&B, and upbeat groove hits you might typically expect as people are gearing up for beach trips, pool parties, and nightclub life once again.


Drake
Canadian rapper Drake performs live at AccorHotels Arena in Paris. Image via Edmond Sadaka Edmond/Sipa/Shutterstock.

While rumors will continue to swirl around which major artists have been using their downtime to record a new masterpiece or finally drop a long-anticipated followup. Brands and advertisers alike will want to move fast to shape the musical conversation focusing on things getting back to normal.



Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Image via Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/Shutterstock.
Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey performs at the Ally Coalition’s 5th Annual Talent Show in New York. Image via Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock.

We’re likely to see reflective, but familiar, new releases from big names like Drake (Certified Lover Boy), Billie Eilish (Happier Than Ever), Lana Del Rey (Blue Banisters), Travis Scott (Utopia), and Sufjan Stevens (Convocations). But, expect the sounds of summer 2021 to emerge from up-and-coming indie artists and those looking to provide the rhythms behind the inevitable block parties and long-overdue meetups.

Travis Scott
Travis Scott performs at the Made In America Festival in Philadelphia. Image via RMV/Shutterstock.
Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan Stevens performs at the Outside Lands Music Festival in San Francisco. Image via Amy Harris/Invision/AP/Shutterstock.

What Kind of Music Will You Hear?

Record Player
Vintage record player. Yes, they still exist. Image via Lehtikuva/Shutterstock.

Ultimately, the sounds of summer 2021 will be full of relief, remembrance, and love—a reflection of all the inertia and energy that’s been stored up over a long winter, waiting to be safely released again. They’ll be heartfelt and slow at first, with reflective folk and upbeat lo-fi leading the way, before sliding smoothly into celebratory funk, groove, and EDM.

Some of our top genres and picks to help paint the picture include: Afrofuturism, Percussion in Action, Sensual Vibes, Keys of Hope, and Upbeat Indie.

As summer kicks off, these songs, loops, and soundtracks will continue to tell a story reflective of the trials and tribulations of the past year, yet hopeful for a brighter future in its wake. 


If you’d like to read up on more trends for 2021, as well as browse additional musical curations and collections, check out these articles:

Cover image via Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/Shutterstock.

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