Each season has their own soundtrack and summer is no exception. There are numerous albums I listen to in the summer, and find perfect for days when you just can’t seem to cool off. So here’s my selection of albums to listen to and kick back to. (Note: I exclude some obvious choices such as Springsteen.)
Elvis Costello – Get Happy!!
Though King of America and Imperial Bedroom might be better albums, Get Happy!! is Costello’s most listenable album from front to back filled with R&B and soul styled songs with a punk twist. The songs move along at breakneck speed (as do some of the songs) leaving the listener with barely any time to soak in the subtleties. Even when the songs are mean-spirited, the music is sheer fun. What comes across though is Costello’s melodies and flawless songwriting, making it the perfect soundtrack for a summer day.
Outkast – Speakerboxxx
When Outkast’s double album first came out, most of the press focused on Andre 3000’s half, The Love Below. As it turns out, Speakerboxxx turns out to be the better of the two, as Big Boi flirts with fast-paced beats, swing and jazz influences and George Clinton-style funk. And like the rest of the albums on this list, there’s no filler – it’s genre -hopping music that’s perfect for nights with intense heat that never seems to let up.
The Gourds – Blood of the Ram
If you’re outside grilling, and drinking a beer, Blood on the Ram should be an essential addition. It’s a combination of bluegrass, Band-style Americana, and alt-country. Each song is a masterpiece in Southern Boogie and sing-alongs. Songs such as “Do 4 U”, “Lower 48” and “Cracklins” are designed to get you off your chair and dance. And if you don’t feel that way, your humanity might come into question. Plus where else can you sing every single state in the lower 48?
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Chronicle
For a long time, I resisted getting this collection because practically every single on this collection is burned into the consciousness of every fan of classic rock. But song for song, you can’t really ask for a better greatest hits collection. With a a mix of down home rock and memorable songs, Chronicle feels like a lazy summer day. And if it’s really hot, let CCR do the hard-work and sweat for you as they tear through their classics.
Al Green – The Absolute Best
For me, Al Green has the best soul voice anybody’s side of Sam Cooke, and this collection as the title suggests, offers nothing but his best. There’s straight-up soul classics – “So You’re Leaving”, “Strong as Death (Sweet as Love)”, funk-rock – “I’m a Ram”, “Driving Wheel”, and soul-jam classics – “Look What You For Me”. Perfect for relaxing, with a strong drink in your hand as the day winds down.