The Best Summer Albums

There are few things better than driving around in the dead of summer with the windows down and some good tunes blasting over your speakers. These albums always remind me of the hottest months of the year, and are essential to have on any summertime road trip.

Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

The poppy brilliance that is Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is perfect for a mid-afternoon amp up. It’s ten songs that absolutely fly by, and has you tapping your toes for miles and miles. Just make sure your aren’t tapping your toes with your foot on the pedal.

Kanye West Graduation

Kanye West has released four albums, with a fifth forthcoming this year. Each of the first four acually all remind me of a different season in themselves, and Graduation is a rousing summer set of songs. There are so many songs that embody everything the perfect summer day is about, from “Champion” to “Good Life” to “Flashing Lights”, you can let this thing repeat for a day before you realize it. The finales of “Homecoming” and “Big Brother” are a fitting conclusion to a bombastic collection of tunes.

Daft Punk Discovery

If you want to get a summer party going strong right off the bat, throw on Discovery. Immediately, “One More Time” will have to itching to boogie down. The album progresses and can give any party a distinct and unique flavor. It’s pretty impossible to hate Daft Punk, after all.

Fall Out Boy Folie A Deux

This one will probably catch me a ton of flack, but Fall Out Boy craft some pretty fun music that pour out the windows driving down the highway. “Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes” is a great opening track that really reminds me of a modern, emo, sugary version of The Who.

The Flaming Lips Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

If there was ever a more perfect wind down summer album than Yoshimi… I haven’t heard it. This album is a collection of great songs to be sure, but they’re all perfect for the 4 a.m. campfire buring out phase of your night. The Flaming Lips have several albums that have a great summer feel to them, and Yoshimi is probably one of the last you would assume would be on this list. Stay up until 4 a.m., go home, pop a beer, and listen to this while you defrost.

Goo Goo Dolls Dizzy Up the Girl

Another album that packs a collection of great travel songs. It’s the perfect early evening CD, even if I probably overrate the hell out of it because it was one of my favorite albums growing up. “Slide” and “Broadway” are the singles you’ll recognize, but the inclusion of “Black Balloon” and “Iris” make this an album with diversity that hits all the right spots.

Justin Timberlake Future Sex/Love Sounds

Ah, yes…one of my man crushes. Musically, Justin Timberlake as a solo artist can do no wrong. He could release a single tomorrow covering an old gospel song while implementing a funk tone, and I would hail him as a genius. This, his second and far more polished album, is just a great pop/dance album that possesses not one bad song. It has the upbeat “SexyBack”, the mid tempo “Love Stoned”, and the slower “Until the End of Time”, and the rest of the album fills inthe gray space between those. And it does it perfectly.

MGMT Oracular Spectacular

There are plenty of albums that sound like summer, but very few embody so purely the entire feel of the heatwave months more than MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular. “Kids” is destined to become a summer classic. The synthy “Electric Feel” brings a ton of charisma, and the moody “Of Birds, Moons, and Monsters” changes the tempo near the end of the album and is a brilliant tune to listen to as the sun is going down.

Stone Temple Pilots Thank You

An album packed with recognizable hits, Thank You is a manly album to travel to. That’s just about all that needs to be said.

I tried to vary the list, and I think there is a little something for everyone on this thing. Let me know how terrible it is.

4 thoughts on “The Best Summer Albums

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  2. I’ll let you slid on the Fall Out Boy but not the Timberlake.

    My choices

    311 – Uplifter
    Sublime – 40 oz to Freedom
    All American Reject – When the world comes down
    Beck – Odelay
    Citizen King – Mobil Estates
    Uncle Kracker – seventy two and sunny
    The Cure – Wish
    Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese dream
    Boys like Girls – Boys like girls
    Matthew Sweet – Girlfriend

    Out by the pool this makes for a great summer mix


  3. I listen to a lot of Rise Against, Old Crow Medicine Show, Zog Bogbean, Green Day (pre American Idiot crap), and System of a Down during the summer for some reason.


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