For the past three months, I spent quite a bit of time at my job in the Richard B. Flynn Campus Union answering phones. As one may imagine, during summer months at a college, the phone is not exactly ringing off the hook. That being said, my six to sometimes twelve hour days were spent catching up on Netflix, reading, and, of course, listening to music.
So much of my time was spent at the Union that I found I was recycling some albums, and despite listening to them in their entirety just days before, I sometimes found an insatiable hankering to keep coming back to these albums. By the time mid-August hit, I realized that I had indirectly been listening to music that defined my summer. Some albums are brand new, others a couple years old, and some right in between. Either way, this culmination of music led me to devise what I found to be a list of my “Albums of the Summer.”
Lights Out, Ingrid Michelson
Despite this being her sixth studio album, I had yet to hear of Ingrid Michelson until I found myself alone in a DeAngelo’s as this catchy song about girls chasing boys resonated in the sandwich shop. I grabbed my phone and typed “Girls chase” into Google. Like fireworks, info on Michelson and her hit “Girls Chase Boys” came flying across my screen. Upon listening to the entire album, I was sold on Michelson. Collaborations with artists like Mat Kearney and Storyman, plus solo hits like “Afterlife” and “Time Machine,” made way for a sensational 54 minutes. Michelson put herself a cut above the rest with Lights Out, and it was a constant play on my computer and in my car this summer.
Good vibes cannot be escaped when the sounds of Kenny Vasoli and the rest of the Philadelphia five-piece are being played. This summer, Vacationer followed up their remarkable debut with an equally impressive sophomore album in Relief. With a moderately funkier sound this time around with tracks like “Shining,” “The Wild Life,” and “In the Grass,” Vacationer stepped out of its comfort zone to create more dance-oriented tracks whilst still holding on to its relaing core with tracks like “Paradise Waiting” and “Fresh.” If the day is dragging on or you need a pick-me-up, pop in this whimsical 12-track album and let Vacationer take you on a 41-minute journey.
If not for the music, the marketing scheme of Jungle is incentive enough to pull up iTunes and download the debut album of this English group. With the two main members remaining anonymous for months, Jungle surfaced with multiple music videos based off the premises of viral videos. Through break-dancing seven year olds and roller-skating middle-aged men, Jungle used YouTube to put itself on the map. Once there, people soon began to realize that this psychedelic group was capable of some funky and incredible music. With tracks like “Busy Earnin’” and “Time,” as well as the deeper, yet still great tracks like “Julia” and “Crumbler,” Jungle may quite possibly be the most innovative and catchy band to come out of the United Kingdom since Gorillaz. Its self-titled debut was a constant play of mine this summer.
My Head is an Animal, Of Monsters and Men
This album is a couple of years old, having been released in September of 2011, but it was not until this summer that I truly appreciated the value of this album. I’ve owned the album for over a year, but hardly listened to anything except the hits “Little Talks” and “Mountain Sound.” This album is so much more than that. The Icelanders take listeners on a freeing journey of their tales of the wild and with tracks like “Lakehouse” and “Six Weeks.” This record is perfect for those late summer drives, something I learned through multiple treks to Northwest Connecticut this summer. Top to bottom, this album is a work of art, and it make take a few listens to realize it, but once that happens, the listener is in for a real treat over and over again.
This was just a sampler of albums that carried me through my summer in Springfield, and there are many more. Bands like Foals, The 1975 and Foster the People among so many others were repeating time and time again on my work playlist, and music lovers would be doing themselves a real favor devoting some time to one of these bands or albums. These may be the albums that meant a lot to me this summer, but I can guarantee they are all timeless classics.