By Allie Verdesca (VI)

Transitioning from summer to fall is tough. Having to balance a new schedule while also getting back into the swing of schoolwork makes it easy to get overloaded with new information. However, one of the benefits of this season of change is the amount of new music being released. Hundreds of artists are releasing new songs for the fall, and with the help of fresh new sounds and outlooks, you’ll be better prepared to take on the new school year.

Looking for an edgier approach by a superstar? Try Taylor Swift’s new album, Reputation. Although the album won’t be officially released until November 10th, her lead single “Look What You Made Me Do” is already taking the world by storm. In mid-September, it was ranked number 3 on iTunes’s Top Songs and number 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Her other song from the album,“…Ready for It?”, also rose to number 4 on Billboard’s Hot 100. “Look What You Made Me Do” marks a significant shift in Swift’s musical style. Her last album, “1989,” was her first full-fledged venture into the world of pop music. This time around, Swift’s lyrics contain newfound themes of revenge and shady nods to those who have wronged her in the past. The rhythm of the song and its infectious beat provide the perfect backdrop for her spiteful lyrics and determined message. There’s no doubt that Reputation will become wildly successful upon its release.

Still popular is one of this summer’s most notable releases, Kesha’s album Rainbow. Following a controversial contract dispute and a sexual assault case, Kesha’s songs “Praying” and “Rainbow” show the singer’s renewed passion and positivity in the face of setbacks. A central theme of the album is affirmative energy, and this is not only reflected in the album’s vibrant and psychedelic music videos and album cover, but also in the very fibers of the songs’ rhythms. “Praying” is a pleading, satisfying pop tune with a good message of forgiveness and renewal.

On the more alternative side of the spectrum, Imagine Dragons’s new release “Believer” has a catchy and gritty beat that has commanded attention this fall. Their album Evolve, which was released last June, contains the band’s typical futuristic and post-apocalyptical sound, represented in its shouted vocals. The other main single off the album, “Thunder,” introduces a new, more synchronous style to the group’s usual intense chords and choral background vocals. It has a more generic pop sound, which isn’t my personal taste, but for those looking for more variety in Imagine Dragons’s usual sound, this song may be for you.

In this same vein of more rock-sounding, alternative beats, Fall Out Boy has been teasing their fans with songs off their album Mania, set to be released in January of 2018. The three leaked singles so far, “The Last of the Real Ones,” “Champion,” and “Young and Menace,” have already become immensely popular. “Young and Menace” has been a real experiment for the band. Ever since their last album American Beauty/American Psycho, Fall Out Boy has been experimenting with integrating a classic pop sound into their more traditional rock, angst-ridden, pop-punk sound. “Young and Menace” is one of Fall Out Boy’s first official forays into synth and auto-tuned sound effects, a recent trend in many popular songs. “Young and Menace” has a great build up; the song starts off soft, with a driving beat, until it finally coalesces into mass hysteria at the chorus. “Champion” is a much more subdued song, with a simpler instrumental accompaniment. It is more like their typical style; gritty, determined vocals are paired with a strong drumming beat to craft a great pump-up song that will be sure to get you through those first trying weeks of school. No matter how you’ve managed to deal with all the layers of stress that come with the beginning of the school year, I hope that all of these new releases will keep you motivated for a great year to come!