Consequence of Sound‘s search for The Greatest Summer Album of All Time is nearing its end. This past week’s round was quite the doozy as LCD Soundsystem, Animal Collective, Pavement, and Vampire Weekend all never had a chance. Your votes trumped each one, giving The Beach Boys, Arcade Fire, Daft Punk, and Sublime runaway wins.
That’s why this next round, the penultimate matches, should prove interesting. Will Sublime continue to plow through? Even against an act as iconic as The Beach Boys? Where does your allegiance lie between Daft Punk and Arcade Fire? Lines will be drawn here this time around, and we’ll know how it all goes down early next week with the final round.
So, take a look below, flip to each write-up, and then vote.
Deadline: You have until Sunday, August 31st to vote.
Pet Sounds vs. Sublime
Pet Sounds could be, from my perspective, the greatest album of all time. The fact that its lush sounds fit in the summer is simply a minor point of reference. However, there’s a sunny tilt to Brian Wilson’s masterpiece. It’s a compendium of raw emotion: happiness, longing, confusion, frustration at the nomadic way life unfolds. But you never doubt for a second that its existentialist musings come from anything other than a place of unequivocal love for the weird world around him. –Dean Essner
“This ain’t no funky reggae party,” late Sublime frontman Brad Nowell insists on opener “Garden Grove”, but I beg to differ. Sublime is indeed a funky reggae party with ska, punk, hip-hop, and alt rock also on the guest list and, what’s more, an inextricable summer vibe. The heat of a mellow Long Beach slacker summer practically radiates off these songs. Hell, just look at the band themselves. Scavenger hunt: try to find a Sublime-era photo of the band where someone isn’t in shorts, sleeveless, or shirtless. Brad, Bud, Eric, and Lou Dog are why convenience stores have “No shoes, no shirt, no service” policies. And the record itself plays exactly like what you’d imagine an LB summer day would be like for these guys: waking up with a cigarette (“What I Got”), checkin’ in on the girl (“Wrong Way”), putting in an appearance down at the riot (“April 29, 1992”), swinging by the pawn shop (“Pawn Shop”), and heading home to unwind for the night (“Doin’ Time”). –Matt Melis
The Suburbs vs. Random Access Memories
The vision of bored teenagers’ hair flying in the wind on hazy summer days throughout all of suburbia is something that’s had no shortage of representation in American pop culture, from film to bad reality shows. And at times, The Suburbs is mistaken by the undiscerning for another celebration of middle-class ennui. However, Arcade Fire’s acclaimed LP is actually about the schisms inherent in the most nondescript parts of America, the angst laying beneath the dreamy listlessness and always similar houses. If Win Butler sang of how “I don’t wanna live in my father’s house no more” on Neon Bible’s “Windowsill”, The Suburbs is about the pain of watching year after year pass without ever actually getting out. –Dominick Mayer
If you were anywhere in public last summer, you probably heard the earworm chorus of “Get Lucky”, and you probably heard it too often. But, Daft Punk’s excellent Random Access Memories had loads more sun-soaked melodies than last year’s song of summer contender. With the breezy, Auto-Tuned Julian Casablancas-assisted “Instant Crush”, Pharrell’s soulfully fun vocal turn on “Lose Yourself to Dance”, and the surprise smash “Doin’ It Right”, which featured Animal Collective’s Panda Bear, the album was full of songs to soundtrack the warmth and summer fun. –Josh Terry