Music For Summer - A Selection Of Albums For You To Get Stuck Into
We've all been there. Flicking through Spotify playlists, creating new ones, not happy with the selection of music we're listening to. We'll all go back and listen to some old favourites, before trying to jump into something new. It never works out really, does it?
Well, what we're aiming to do here is give you a selection of albums to listen to for the next few weeks and since we're nice, we've compiled it all into a neat little Spotify playlist. You can find that at the end of this article.
Arctic Monkeys - Suck It And See
Our first LP comes from Sheffield-based alternative rock band Arctic Monkeys and specifically their fourth offering Suck It And See.
Amongst fans of the group, myself included, Suck It And See is their typically 'summery' album, with the lighter guitar notes on the title track or Alex Turner's delicate vocal on She's Thunderstorms.
The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala is especially dreamy, with its higher guitar notes, pronounced bassline and Alex Turner's more conversational lyric delivery, something that would become a trademark in the following years of their careers. As well as this, Reckless Serenade carries on the exact same sound, mirroring it perfectly, with some light drums from Matt Helders helping out perfectly.
It's got this fantastic vintage sound to it, bumbling along from track to track and takes a turn from third album Humbug that was featured in our long-running Album Of The Week column - if you fancy some summer reading, you can find that here: https://www.untitledblog.co.uk/post/album-of-the-week-arctic-monkeys-humbug.
Suck It And See, for the most part, is a wonderfully light record and one you can have on doing absolutely anything. Mowing the lawn. Drinking cocktails in an exotic European bar. Even just laying around doing nothing. It's an album for every occasion and the laid-back sound that it permits fits perfectly with the relaxed summer vibe.
Jimmy Buffett - Banana Wind
I couldn't compile a summer playlist without including the undisputed king of the laid-back attitude, Jimmy Buffett, and his 1996 album Banana Wind.
For something to listen to whilst lounging around, drinking cocktails galore or whilst you're floating on water, letting the waves take you anywhere they want, Banana Wind is perfect.
It's got absolutely everything you could ask for in a summer record, featuring some light and funky sounding songs, taking inspiration from reggae heavily, especially given Robert Greenidge's fantastic work on steel drums.
Tracks like Jamaica Mistaica exude this relaxation fused with reggae, taking note of an incident involving the Jamaican authorities shooting at Buffett's seaplane, mistaking him for a drugs-runner. In reality, they were only landing there for dinner - as Jimmy states in the song "We had only come for chicken we were not a ganja plane." The Hemisphere Dancer was also carrying U2 frontman, Bono and his wife.
School Boy Heart permits this typical upbeat feeling that you get when listening to Jimmy's music, with its overarching acoustic guitar and some wonderful harmonies from the Coral Reefers. The title track itself is wonderfully relaxing, with steel drums and acoustic guitar prevailing to create a fantastic soundtrack to your daiquiri drinking.
Obscurities like Cultural Infidel are favourites, taking note of what's perceived to be 'real culture' and slapping it right back into the faces of those who deem it fulfilling. It's fun, with this underlying Latin influence, complete with jazz guitar and horn sections.
If you want an album to drink to, Banana Wind is wonderful for that and so much more. Kick back and relax as Jimmy invites you to Margaritaville where anything goes and you're free to drink as much as you like - the more the merrier!
Gloria Estefan - Greatest Hits
We don't usually put greatest hits compilations on here as it's a real limiter of an artist's music, but for one of the pioneers of bringing the Latin sound to the world, we just had to make an exception.
Estefan's signature sound is present here in droves, with hits like Conga and Get On Your Feet taking centre stage, providing some Latin passion and fire to your summer. There's this real feel-good nature about Gloria's music, with dancing proving compulsive, even in hot weather.
Tracks like 1-2-3 are the ones that stand out most, although all of this album serves a purpose to get people up dancing and smiling as they do so. The percussion from the Miami Sound Machine on Rhythm Is Gonna Get You, infused with notes of electronic dance music makes it absolutely perfect for this sort of thing and especially for spending summer nights jamming to some brilliant music.
If you want to find a little bit more about Gloria and her amazing work, go and see the musical On Your Feet! that runs throughout the summer in the UK, as it's utterly wonderful and the feel-good smash hit of the summer, direct from Broadway. There's also a review of it up here that you can read: https://www.untitledblog.co.uk/post/on-your-feet-the-story-of-emilio-gloria-estefan-theatre-review.
Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Summer Holiday
For our final album in this playlist, we're turning back to 1963, to be greeted by Cliff Richard & The Shadows and the soundtrack to the Summer Holiday film.
If there's any record that is quintessentially 'summery', it's Summer Holiday, being packed full of British Invasion-era pop music, with joyful lyricism and melodies. I'm a great lover of this LP mainly due to the happiness that it exudes - the smiling is absolutely inevitable!
With the title track giving us a sense of a typical British holiday, we can all relate to Cliff's lyrics in a lot of ways. There's this tremendous playfulness not just in this one song, but the whole album and that's one of the main reasons for listening to it.
Along with the playfulness, instrumentals like Foot Tapper do exactly what the title states. It's a typical Shadows instrumental, up there with FBI and Apache and is massively catchy, like a lot of music from the early sixties.
Summer Holiday is an album to listen to whilst travelling, singing along in the car whilst you're perhaps stuck in traffic on any one of Europe's motorways, or maybe you're somewhere exotic, like Hull. Ooh, get you, Hull.
Above you can find our 'Music For Summer' playlist, complete with four albums' worth of summer music for you all to listen to while sunbathing or doing whatever you're doing.