Summertime: Where the sun’s beams are hotter. Where you can feel the humidity in the air. Where kids play outside and families gather together for cookouts. Where it’s bright and lively by day and cool and calm by night. Where folks are either enjoying summer vacation at the beach, at the pool, in another country, at home or busy taking summer classes. Whether your experience of summer looks like some of what I mentioned above or something else entirely, summer is incomplete without a proper soundtrack.
The music I listen to depends on the mood I’m in or the changes in seasons. During the Fall and Winter, I tend to be much more contemplative. I’ll listen to Jazz, R&B, Acoustic/Singer-Songwriter, Hip-Hop within the 80-90 BPM range, and any genre that fits the mood of rainy days and colder weather. The artists who fit that mood last fall were Kamasi Washington, Terrace Martin, Kendrick Lamar, MF DOOM, Taelor Gray, April + Vista, D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Solange, Ambre Perkins, David Bazan, and more. During the Spring and Summer, my mood reflects the “bright and lively by day, calm and cool by night” experience of the two seasons. Therefore, my musical soundtrack feels the same. It’s an ode to the past with artists like Marvin Gaye, Grover Washington, and Living Colour. Yet, it stays up to date with the current state of music with artists like Kendrick Lamar, GoldLink, and Jon Bellion. It’s an eclectic mix of Hip-Hop, Funk, Pop, Afrobeat/Senegalese music, British Folk, R&B/Soul, and 80’s Rock.
It isn't filled with individual songs from an artist. His or her full-length albums make up the DNA of any and every seasonal playlist I make. Listening to whole albums is an important aspect of the musical experience for me. An artist spends years and a considerable amount of money and resources to create his or her album. Most of the artists I listen to have a central theme woven into the fabric of their records. I would be doing the artist and myself a disservice if I only pick one or two songs to listen to. So in order to revive the lost of art of appreciating the beauty of full-length albums I made a playlist of my Top 10 Spring/Summer Albums. You can either listen to each album all the way through or put the playlist on shuffle, the choice is yours. Here are the full list and a Spotify playlist to get you started!
1. Marvin Gaye - What’s Going On
2. Kendrick Lamar - DAMN
3. Skyzoo - Music For My Friends
4. Jon Bellion - The Human Condition
5. Hiatus Kaiyote - Choose Your Weapon
6. Mumford & Sons - Babel
7. GoldLink - At What Cost
8. Grover Washington - Mister Magic
9. Baaba Maal - The Traveller
10. Snoop Dogg - Neva Left
Honorable Mentions: Living Colour - Vivid
Disclaimer: Some songs have explicit content
Check it out, put it on while you’re driving, relaxing at home, or running errands. Enjoy!