If you’re looking for some sweet summery soundtracks that’ll be perfect for all the long, hot days and cool, carefree nights ahead, here are some albums you can stream or download from Hoopla with your Livingston Library card.
Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of The Beach Boys
Obviously, no summer would be complete without hearing the shimmering harmonies and sugar-high melodies of The Beach Boys.
The Ultimate Collection – Diana Ross + The Supremes
How can so much heartbreak sound like glorious rays of sunshine? When it’s composed by songwriting geniuses like Holland-Dozier-Holland, sung by the divine voices of The Supremes, and backed by the irresistible force of The Funk Brothers.
Forever Changes – Love
Recorded amid 1967’s “Summer of Love,” this album is both exquisite and haunting, a flowery psychedelic daydream on the shadowy edge of apocalypse.
Cosmo’s Factory – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Good times are guaranteed whenever CCR is playing, whether they’re stomping through sweltering swamp rock like “Run Through the Jungle,” or chugging along with cheerful toe-tappers like “Lookin’ Out My Back Door.”
África Brasil – Jorge Ben
From its irresistibly groovy opening riff until its intoxicating tropical rhythms finally fade out, this album is a sizzling fusion of samba, funk, and pop.
The Harder They Come – Jimmy Cliff / Various Artists
There’s a reason beverage companies have used songs from this soundtrack– like Jimmy Cliff’s “You Can Get It If You Really Want” and The Maytals’ “Pressure Drop”– in their commercials: this album vibes like a friendly backyard barbecue you never want to leave.
Electric Warrior – T. Rex
Marc Bolan’s glam rock guitar can throb like a glitter bomb or flutter like a butterfly. Similarly, this album knows how to pump up a party, and knows when to chill in the grass for a spell.
The West End Story – Various Artists
In the late ’70s and early ’80s, New York City’s West End Records released the kind of music that could pack dance floors from glitzy uptown discos to gritty downtown dives. This compilation contains eight of the label’s hottest tracks, all of which continue to slap pretty hard in 2020.
The Sugar Hill Records Story – Various Artists
With over fifty tracks of exuberant old-school jams released by hip hop’s first record label– from Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” to Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s “The Message”– the party won’t stop as long as this album’s on the stereo.
Vacation – The Go-Go’s
Bouncy, beach-ball beats…surf-rock riffs soaked in oceanic reverb…joyful, sparkling melodies…what more do you need to score your summertime fun?
Control – Janet Jackson
Rhythm Nation may be Janet’s magnum opus, but all the conceptual interludes can interrupt its flow at times. Control, on the other hand, is just a lean & vibrant blast of new jack swing, with a couple ballads at the end to cool things off.
Saturation – Urge Overkill
Back in the early ’90s, when it was unfashionable for rock bands to crank out arena-sized hooks and sound like they were having fun doing it, Urge Overkill proved that such a thing could still be cool. Saturation, the band’s fourth full-length record, is one of that era’s most satisfying and underrated hard rock albums.
Stereotype A – Cibo Matto
A musical pot luck picnic serving dishes of loungey jazz, funky bossa nova, sprightly hip hop, and monstrous metal– all sprinkled with delectable pop sensibilities.
Discovery – Daft Punk
If you prefer your parties to have more of a 21st century cyborg feel, this album’s got invincible techno-pop anthems like “One More Time” and “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.”
Arular – M.I.A.
The relentlessly exhilarating blend of manic electronic beats, world-spanning rhythms, hip hop swagger, and punk attitude on M.I.A.’s smashing debut sounds just as refreshing and revolutionary today as it did 15 years ago.
California Nights – Best Coast
Powered by Bethany Cosentino’s luminous power-pop songwriting, this album feels like driving along the starlit Malibu shoreline while contemplating love, heartbreak, gratitude, regret, and all the other adventures of young adulthood.
Freedom is Free – Chicano Batman
“Life will flow on / as long as the grass grows and the water runs / and while I’m here on Earth / I’ll rejoice in its worth,” sings Chicano Batman’s Bardo Martinez on the title track of Freedom is Free. That might also be the best way to sum up this album, which uses Latin rhythms, soulful spirit, and breezy harmonies to soar above all the struggle and strife this world has to offer.
Anak Ko – Jay Som
Sultry yet soothing, this album’s a sunset mirage scored by gorgeously hazy guitars and tenderly hypnotic melodies.
Future Nostalgia – Dua Lipa
Just as its title implies, Dua Lipa’s addictive new album manages to sound both retro and ultra-modern, like a reboot of Club MTV filmed on a Mars-bound spaceship.
– Joe, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian