B-Side, Track 1

A look back at some less celebrated albums from this summer, as well as a short review of fresh and upcoming releases.

Sep 25, 2023

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At this point of the year, you are probably bored of your summer playlist. Or at least it brings you such an overpowering feeling of nostalgia, that it is counterproductive to play it on repeat while stuck in the library studying. It is unfortunate that in Abu Dhabi, the weather never starts to feel like the intro of “Eyes on Fire” by Blue Foundation from the Twilight soundtrack, so we do not even think of creating a fall playlist. Yet, the silence of the library weighs heavier than the FOS Physics textbooks…
But, there is no need to fret anymore. This issue of the music column is dedicated to saving your playlists with artists that you might have missed out on during the break. That way, the vibes will still be sunny and summery like the Abu Dhabi weather, but without the sense of homesickness that the summer favorites might bring upon you.
This summer was definitely Beyonce’s and Taylor Swift’s. Their world tours overshadowed almost all other music events and album releases, even though some great artists made long-awaited comebacks in the meantime. Such is the fate of Hozier, an all-time favorite of many people across the globe, whose latest work Unreal Unearth is one of the most highly anticipated releases of the year. While it still contributes to his internet-given status as a mysterious forest deity, this album feels more connected to our present socio-political climate than all of Hozier’s other work. The powerful “De Selby part 1” and “De Selby part 2”, the gut wrenching “Swan Upon Leda,” and the angry “Eat Your Young'' both complement and contrast perfectly with softer songs like “Francesca,” “Unknown/Nth,” and “First Light.” This great variety of emotions creates a musical experience like no other, although it also makes the album difficult to assimilate, and it might take a couple of replays until its full potential is revealed to the patient listener.
A band I never thought would become TikTok famous was Greta van Fleet, yet their song “Light My Love” somehow made it into one of the most used audios. That was just in time for the release of their new album, Starcatcher, which shows significant development in the band’s sound. Previously they were known, and to an extent, praised for their incredible resemblance to the legendary Led Zeppelin, but with Starcatcher, that comes to an end. Greta van Fleet have now established themselves as the new leaders of this classic-style hard rock with their new original sound. Nothing But Thieves also surprised us with a new instant modern classic of the alternative genre. Dead Club City is yet another pearl in the crown of the already fairly popular and critically acclaimed UK band.
Several other musicians became the new household names of their respective genres over the summer as well. Fred again… is currently one of the most praised and fast-selling experimental EDM artists. Dominic Fike is also on the peak of his fame among teens and young adults. Genesis Owusu is slowly, but surely, climbing to the top of the experimental rap charts with his latest work, Struggler.
Despite summer, the season of love, festivals, and music being behind us, it doesn't pose any obstacle to the ever-evolving music industry. In fact, this autumn promises quite a few exciting projects. Some records that are still fresh off the presses include the, now viral, Olivia Rodrigo album GUTS, Laufey’s Bewitched, The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We by Mitski, and comeback albums by Kylie Minogue, Burna Boy, The National, as well as Doja Cat among others. It seems like this is just a warm up for the big fight for the 2024 Grammy nominations…
Yana Peeva is Senior Columns Editor. Email them at
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