And summer, to me, means windows down (provided it's not 100 degrees out) in my car and good music playing through my speakers. Each year I seem to find an album or two that becomes my "summer album(s)"; the one I play with said windows down and the wind blowing through my hair (well, to be more accurate, it's more like "the wind blowing my hair into a giant bird's nest and then continuously falling into my face and temporarily blinding me"...oh, the woes of having fine hair).
In previous years albums such as Arcade Fire's Funeral and Conor Oberst's self titled album were lucky enough to earn the award of "Jessica's ultimate summer album". Every time I hear "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)" I remember the year in college when I shared a house with my best friend and a lesbian couple. It was horrible, a constant us vs. them battle of epic proportions. Trying to escape the chaos of the house I'd take frequent, random rides in my car. I'd drive, with windows down of course, to the library or to my sister's house or to the park in Mariemont...with Arcade Fire blaring on my cd player. While that summer/year was not the most pleasant, I still have fond memories of the album and how it rescued me from a chilly household (really, it was freezing in there) where there were actually hamsters living on our dining room table (it's a long story, sufficive to say...it was not ideal).
I couldn't help myself. And no, the hamsters weren't just roaming around on the table, they were in cages.
My summer association with Conor Oberst however is nothing but wonderful. I had been out of school for a year and was living on my own for the first time in my life. I had recently parted ways with my long time roomie and eternal best friend Amanda when she moved back home for the summer (okay, so that was a major bummer, but you'll see where I'm going with this). And in the Spring I had started dating a certain special someone [aka Antoine]! It was the beginning of our relationship, it was new and exciting and we were falling for each other. So it's no wonder that I reverted back to my Conor Oberst ways. I'm a hardcore fan of Bright Eyes and I'm not afraid to admit it. That emotional sound that Conor does so well made for perfect summer lovin' music, especially for someone like me who can't get enough Conor! So many songs from that first solo album remind me of that summer, of driving around with Antoine, and falling crazy in love. "Sausalito" sticks out in my mind more than any other song, in fact it's my ringtone for when Antoine calls me, but unfortunately I couldn't find a decent video or clip for it that wasn't a horribly recorded live version. Instead, here's my second favorite from the album "Cape Canaveral". Ahhh, Conor.
Anyway, you're probably thinking to yourself, "where the hell is she going with this?" Well, my fair readers I'd like to share with you what I think will be this years' "summer album" for me. I know, you're sitting on the edge of your seat in anticipation! Calm it down will ya! Geez, it's just the Gorillaz newest album Plastic Beach.
I've been a fan of the Gorillaz ever since my sister and brother-in-law, the music guru himself, introduced me to them when I was still in high school (I'm also partial to Blur as well). At first I was a little wary about Plastic Beach, Damon Albarn's third release under the character driven group of the Gorillaz. But man, it has really grown on me! I've been listening to it non-stop and I even catch myself singing snippits of it at least four times a day. While I LOVE most of the album "Superfast Jellyfish" is by far my favorite, with "Rhinestone Eyes" coming in at second (god, I love Damon's voice!). "Superfast Jellyfish" features an intro from a 1986 Swanson commercial for hot and ready microwavable breakfast; it's awesome! The vocals of Gruff Rhys and De La Soul are fantastic, however my attempt at singing the lyrics along with De La Soul would probably force them into retirement or cause them to have some sort of simultaneous group brain aneurysm if they heard me (yeah, it's THAT bad!). I'm amazed that "Superfast Jellyfish" wasn't the first single for the album, however from what I've read it is scheduled to be released as the album's second single sometime in May.
I hope you've enjoyed my little foray into summer tunes. I'd definitely suggest checking out Plastic Beach, if you haven't already! I will most likely be listening to it for the rest of the Spring/Summer. In fact, this weekend Antoine and I are heading up to my parents house and I plan on subjecting him to the Gorillaz for as long as I humanly can during the three and a half hour drive!