Five Life-Changing Albums to Immerse Yourself in This Summer 

By Kal Weiss 

When people envision “summer music,” people think of fast-paced, bright, and major-chord-laden songs. These albums contain these things in stride and will definitely improve your music catalogue (and maybe improve your life!). 

“Pink Moon” by Nick Drake (1972) 

This is the final album by Nick Drake after having two album releases prior. This was the first and only album to only have Drake singing and playing guitar. Drake had been suffering from severe depression for years; the poor sales of his first two albums a contributing factor. He recorded it in only two late nights, with only him and the producer, John Wood, present. The creation of “Pink Moon” led to a break in his depression, which made him extremely proud. This album is very sonorous, incorporating solitude into every chord; it makes me feel extremely bittersweet, like I’m with my friends on the last day of summer. 

“Pet Sounds” by The Beach Boys (1966) 

One of the most recognized albums of all time, “Pet Sounds” is one of the most revered experimental albums in history. Lead singer Brian Wilson’s goal was to “make the greatest rock album ever made.” It’s one of the first concept albums ever, using life experiences and critiques of then-modern-day society to build a story around the music. It’s the Beach Boys’ most complex album, using instruments not commonly associated with rock (French horn, theremin, strings, found objects, bike bells, etc.) to make it not be able to be reproduced in a live performance. Hearing this album for the first time is truly life changing; it’s like no other. It’s made me feel almost every feeling possible. 

“Synchronicity” by The Police (1983) 

An album known by most but very overlooked. The major inspiration behind the album was “The Roots of Coincidence”, a book by Hungarian author Arthur Koestler. At the time of its release, The Police were considered the “biggest band in the world” according to the BBC. The band with the “less is more” philosophy for recording this album, using less reggae and punk instrumentation and replacing it with synth. Sequencing was used heavily in this album as well, which influenced the late ‘80s sound. It starts off tense but has an amazing peak and comedown. It feels like the 24-hour cycle — the beginning of the album is the morning; the end of the album is the night. 

“The Joshua Tree” by U2 (1987) 

U2 is known for having spiritual and political imagery in their lyrics; this album is their most outspoken. The band used America as a location for the album, citing Bono’s wish of creating a cinematic quality for the record. “The Joshua Tree” is one of the few commercially successful albums of its time that talked heavily about political unrest, racial tensions, and war in such an explicit way. Upon its release, it became the quickest-selling album in British history. There are no filler songs; each is forthright in its own way. The sound of the album rises and rises until the end. It feels like riding through the open country with your windows down. 

“Violator” by Depeche Mode (1990) 

Last but not least! To me, this album is perfect. Depeche Mode was already one of the most famous bands in the world when “Violator” was released. It uses hard-hitting drums, influence from industrial and EBM (electronic body music), alongside edgy lyrics to create the revered sound of the album. The band was extremely spontaneous with the recording process, utilizing one-time recorded demos, taking tracks in a completely opposite direction than initially suggested, and ceasing almost all pre-production preparation. This album brought sounds of synth-pop, gothic rock, and alternative to the forefront of the music world. “Violator” is bound to expand any musical palette with the signature unexplainable, broad feelings that this album brings to the surface. 

I hope that your summer is orchestrated by the soaring sounds of these albums.  


About Kal Weiss

Kal is pursuing a degree in Graphic Design and plans to graduate in Winter 2024. After graduation, they plan to begin their graphic design career.
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