There are no rules. There are no stipulations, but somehow musicians manage to churn out the quintessential “summer album,” the kind you want to roll your windows down to, the kind that become anthems and the kind that will be iconic for the entire summer.
Here are some picks of the best albums of the summer by release date:
Vampire Weekend: “Modern Vampires of the City” (May 14)
With the somewhat generally-accepted belief that Vampire Weekend has been one of the most successful indie bands of recent times, there was a good bit of pressure resting with the group on its third album. “Modern Vampires of the City” brings back Ezra Koenig’s familiar, almost innocent vocals. The album is heartfelt, and doesn’t fall short on lyrics. The group has matured from its debut album in 2008, and so have its lyrics.
Daft Punk: “Random Access Memories” (May 17)
Even if this were a list of top summer songs, Daft Punk would be on it. “Get Lucky,” the brainchild of Daft Punk andPharrell Williams, could be played thousands of times on repeat and not get old. The ‘70s and ‘80s vibes of the single are reflective of the entire album. “Random Access Memories” isn’t typical electronic music; it slams down the conventional borders of the genre with mellow beats and surely became one of the most listened-to albums of the summer.
The National: “Trouble Will Find Me” (May 21)
The way The National’s album was created explains why it sounds the way it does. Taking on Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry and singer-songwriter, Sufjan Stevens, “Trouble Will Find Me” is a combination of both indie influences as well as an almost troubadour type sound. The group made of two sets of brothers created a more cohesive sound with “Trouble Will Find Me,” that is both relaxed and subtle.
Queens of the Stone Age: “…Like Clockwork” (June 3)
The very fact that Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and Elton John can coexist within one song is mind-blowing in itself. Add in drumming from Dave Grohl, and you have a genius rock concoction. Few recently-made albums touch on true rock ‘n’ roll, and “…Like Clockwork” is one of them. The contributor list alone could be enough to give the album credibility, but with Josh Homme’s vocals the album takes on an eerie and completely uncanny feeling.
Kanye West: “Yeezus” (June 18)
As one of the most anticipated albums of the year, West’s “Yeezus” wasn’t a let down. Putting his arrogance aside, the album rumbled into critical acclaim. The deep base, the intricate lyrics, “Yeezus” was a prime example of West flexing his lyrical and musical prowess. He’s an industry leader, and “Yeezus” dabbles into music samples that push the album toward a darker mood.