Summer is upon us, friends. Pool parties, bonfires, BBQs, it's essentially a '90's movie's opening montage for a few months here. And what's a montage without some kick-ass Summer jams? That's what we here at Pop Volture are looking to help you do: score your Summer with the best music possible for the best Summer possible. I guarantee any of these albums would have a rightful place in my Father's 5 CD changer while the fam chills in the backyard (none of this is made-up, the man is a stereo fanatic). So, grab your besties, pour your drinks into plastic cups, strip off all but the most essential, and HAGS.
Weezer - Blue Album
Or course it was going to be here. Weezer’s Blue Album, the bands debut, incorporates just a wee-bit of the era’s grunge with the out-of-left-field surf rock, and this odd couple works perfectly. You cannot go wrong with the 4/5/6/7 tracks on the album, with the spread of "Buddy Holly," "Undone (The Sweater Song)," "Surf Wax America," and "Say It Ain't So." Even though this is the second best Weezer album (the quick take on the classic argument: Pinkerton is better overall, but more suited for Fall/Winter, while Blue Album takes over the CD player in the Summer/Spring), there really isn't a better choice for a bright sunny Summer day.
Backup: Weezer's newest record, the self-titled White Album is a great throwback to their original acid-washed Beach Boys style. "King of the World" and "Jacked Up" should be considered Weezer classics already. Rivers Cuomo's clinical songwriting technique really shines here.
Third Eye Blind - Blue
There’s something about the color blue, right? Third Eye Blind’s sophomore album wasn’t a slump by any means, even if their first album did have my go-to karaoke jam of "Semi-Charmed Life." Blue has the Third Eye Blind song you want to hear but forget about with "1000 Julys," and "Never Let You Go" is the perfect song to crack your first beer to (drink responsibly people - keep hydrated). I dare you not to have smile on your face throughout the entire album, because it is so reminiscent of the past it's crazy. Party like it's 1999.
Backup: Third Eye Blind's self-titled first album is just as solid of a pick here, but I think that Blue is worth giving another listen, so it gets the #1 spot. Classics on Third Eye Blind are the usuals; "Semi-Charmed Life," "Jumper," and my favorite, "Graduate."
Chance the Rapper - 10 Day
I know you're listening to Coloring Book. You know I am. You don't need me to tell you to go listen to Coloring Book. But while you're on month 3 of this Chance binge, go back and listen to his first mixtape, 10 Day. It's a perfect trip down memory lane, visiting the days of Spongebob and Rugrats reruns before going out until the streetlights come on. “14,400 Minutes” and “Nostalgia” are my favorites, but don't just play the first two tracks and move on. Make sure you listen to both “Long Times” to hear Chance rap over Beirut's "Nantes," and definitely check out “Prom Night” for the perfect ending to a magical evening.
Backup: 10 Day isn't on Spotify (it is available to download for free from your preferred mixtape source) so a great alternative is Chance's side project from last year with Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment, Surf. Best tracks are "Slip Slide," "Wanna Be Cool," and of course "Sunday Candy." And, as a backup-backup, Coloring Book, because it's amazing.
Ryan Adams - 1989
This will probably be the most decisive pick here, unless you really really didn't like the ‘90’s (Pending JNCO Jeans, it was pretty kickass). But, Taylor Swift's most recent album offers up some great songs (I dare you to not sing "Shake it off"), and Ryan Adams does some great covers. I'm pretty split on what songs Adams does better than Swift, but there's a couple, including "Out of the Woods," and "Style." He even takes the mind-numbingly annoying "Welcome to New York" and makes it pretty okay. T-Swift definitely does some better than Adams though, so don't skip out on the original "Bad Blood" (the version with Kendrick Lamar is far superior) and "Blank Space."
Backup: Just put on the original 1989, okay? It's not on Spotify but I know you have it. We all do.
Daryl Hall & John Oates - Private Eyes
Alright, this is a tough one. Not because it's less superior to any of the other albums on this list, but that if I had it my way there would be four Hall & Oates albums here. The run of albums between 1980 and 1984 (Voices, Private Eyes, H2O, and Big Bam Boom) is just so utterly amazing that I have all four albums hanging up in my vinyl frames at home. So, know that I'm picking Private Eyes because it's probably, by a very narrow margin, the best. But I reserve the right to decide if you're in a pool, H20 takes priority. Private Eyes has "Did It In A Minute" with the catchiest chorus, and "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)" which has to be the smoothest Daryl Hall's pipes have ever been; also, if you don't clap along to "Private Eyes," you're a monster.
Backup: Really, any of those albums above are great backups, but there's a really awesome cover album by The Bird and The Bee with the longest name ever: Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall & John Oates, and it really throws a spin on a lot of the classics. "Maneater" featuring a female vocalist really changes up the meaning of the song, maybe even for the better.
Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique
Paul's Boutique is just really a strange album. Originally considered a commercial failure, it's now regarded as one of the groups best. The whole culture of sampling music can be traced back to this weird experiment from three dudes from New York City. They weren't the first to do it, but they certainly were the best at that point. Paul's Boutique still holds up as well as you think it would; this album could come out today and it would do very well. Best song by a mile is track 2, "Shake Your Rump." I can rap A LOT of this track, doing my best Ad-Rock, Mike D and MCA impressions.
"Egg Man," "Hey Ladies," and "Shadrach" are all awesome. Paul's Boutique is just a really special album, so just listen to the whole damn thing and be enlightened.
Backup: There's nothing like Paul's Boutique, so I've got nothing for you here.
With this list, there's no chance at failing to have a Summer to remember. Hit the Spotify playlist to the right for a selection of the best tracks from these albums, but if I were you, I'd go to your local record store, pick the CDs up, and throw them into whatever Boombox you can get your hands on. Hoist it on up to your shoulder and gather the people. It's time to party. HAGS!!!