10 Albums That Once Ruled Our Summers(And Still Most Certainly Do)

To the ten classic albums on this list, thank you for making all of our summer music dreams come true over the years………..

…….and thank you for still doing so today. Especially you, Alanis. 

Ready, set, “Batdance.” 

Prince/Purple Rain (June 25th, 1984) Classic…legendary….epic….music industry/life changing. Yes, those are all of the correct words and phrases anyone can use to describe the dearly departed Prince’s incredible music contribution to the film of the same name, for which the Purple One also starred in–and straight up owned. While the film and its accompanying heavenly sonnets are close to comparison in equal goodness, the songs take the slighter lead because well, you’ve got the life-altering title track, “I Would Die 4 U,” “Let’s Go Crazy” and of course, “When Doves Cry” in which we still get misty eyed whenever it enters our f@cking souls. Bottom line–if this ’80s music masterpiece isn’t in your summer rotation, well, you’re just not doin’ it right. 

Madonna/ True Blue (June 30th, 1986) So much to relive and um, tell here, so we’ll just kick it off with two little words…Sean Penn. Yes, besides being her best-selling set to date, (10 million worldwide), the Material Girl’s love-kissed third offering mostly plays out as an ode to her then husband. But of course, it’s all about the music here, and what a fantastic experience this album truly is. One of Madonna’s best vocal efforts (no, no that wasn’t a question), each True groove showcased a stronger, confident pop star. Of course, we also got a serving of a young diva who wasn’t afraid to musically stir things up a bit, and lead single, “Papa Don’t Preach” certainly did just that and got the icon in trouble deep with Planned Parenthood and the Church thanks to the chart topping single’s lyrical content about, well, you know. Of course, a little controversy goes a long way in Madonna’s world, and the buzz would not only send “Papa” straight to her greatest hits collection, but it kicked off a long line of now classic True Blue music moments including “Open Your Heart,” “Live to Tell,” “Where’s the Party,” “La Isla Bonita” and the album’s oooey-gooey title track. But if we really want to sum up this era of the Queen of Pop, take a closer look at the absolute fierceness that’s still contained in the Herb Ritts shot True Blue album cover….because it’s all still right…here. 

Aerosmith/Permanent Vacation Although this summer-of-’87 effort was the legendary rock band’s ninth studio set, it would go on to become their most successful record in more than a decade, selling over five million copies in the U.S. alone. This was not only thanks in part to three Steven Tyler worthy top 20 singles–“Rag Doll,” “Dude(Looks Like a Lady)” and “Angel”–but to the fact that this was right around the time that MTV actually played music videos, like, all of the time, which ultimately helped music artists like Aerosmith and so many others gain massive chart success back then. Yes, it’s hard to believe that it actually worked like that, but what’s not hard to believe is that we simply love this Aerosmith record…especially in the rockin’ summer months. 

Janet Jackson/janet(May 18th, 1993) “Like a moth to a flame burned by the fire…” you know…the words. Actually, if you don’t know the words to Ms. Jackson’s still epic and bedroom ready lead single to her just-turned-twenty-five year old single-named masterpiece, then you should start to familiarize yourself with it all right now. Here we not only have one of the best recorded (and interluded up) albums of all time, but a record full of life about coming into your own both sexually and artistically as Ms J fiercely displays both throughout this still satisfying music ride. From “Love” to “If’ To “Again” to “This Time” co-starring the incredible Kathleen Battle, to “Throb, ” “You Want This,” and “Anytime, Anyplace,” there isn’t a janet groove on here that still doesn’t hit the spot in all of the right ways possible. But perhaps the grandest part of the whole janet experience is that this record is iconic not just with the LGBTQ community, but as a pivotal turning point for every closeted gay man in 1993. If you fit that description, you know you’re shakin’ your head yaaaas. Go on, Ms. Janet, go on. 

Forrest Gump/Soundtrack (June 28th, 1994) There’s truly no need to argue that the classic Tom Hanks Oscar snatcher is indeed one of the best ’90s flicks of all time, which is mainly in part to its glorious and iconic back-in-the-day setting and storytelling. The film’s six-times-platinum soundtrack remains as groovy and timeless as Mr. Gump himself, as we get an array of legendary tunes from Elvis Presley, Duane Eddy, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, Jefferson Airplane, Lynyrd Skynyrd and many, many more. The epic 2 disc soundtrack doesn’t just contain some of the greatest music of all time, but will continue to be heard and experienced by every new generation that experiences Forrest Gump along the way in this box of chocolates we call life….and that’s the best part of it all.  

Alanis Morrisette/Jagged Little Pill (June 13th, 1995) An album that not only defines summer but god damn life itself, Ms. Alanis’ conformed and deliciously feisty third studio outing has no doubt been owning and defining our lives since its release all the way back in the summer of ’95. Much, much more than an angry love letter to Uncle Joey (the album is a frickin’ Broadway show now!), lead single “You Oughta Know” opened up the angst ridden gates to a Billboard chart destroying (twenty-six million!) record that was smart(“You Learn,” “Hand in My Pocket”), truthful (“All I Really Want,” “Right Through You,” “Ironic”) and just a little–or a lot–rockin’ thanks to Alanis new energy alongside Jagged super producer, Glen Ballard. While you could search all day long to find a record that contains a stern, yet beautiful buffet of hooks, a lavish display of lyrics and an oh, so young music star who seemingly understood the world for all of us ’90s kids back then, chances are, you’re certainly not going to find it. Thank you, Alanis for this f@king record and may we feel forever feels those nails scratchin’ down our backs. 

Beyoncé/Dangerously in Love (June 24th, 2003) Picture it…fifteen years ago this summer….it happened….Beyoncé started on her journey to becoming Beyoncé with the serving of her soon-to-be Grammy snatching debut record. Yes, it’s hard to believe that Bey made her big splash away from Kelly and Michelle that long ago as each groove on the record has certainly withstood the sands of summer music time. From the one, two punch of “Crazy in Love” & “Baby Boy” to “Naughty Girl” &”Hip Hop Star” from “Me, Myself & I” and the album’s delicious title track…this is truly where it all began for the Lemonade legend. Of course, this is also where it all began for our obsession with Jay and Bey as the release of the record was around the same time we all started to realize that they just might be more than “Crazy” co-horts…and we’ve been in ‘”Love” with them every single second of it ever since. Uh, oh, uh, oh forever. 

Rihanna/Good Girl Gone Bad (June 2nd, 2008) If you weren’t gettin down to a newly reformed RiRi’s Bad sounds in the summer of ’07 (and ’08 thanks to the Reloaded edition) well, you just weren’t born yet because everyone and their mother from back then is still obsessed with everything on the Barbadian songstress’ career defining third studio set. Aside from killer singles and album cuts, “Don’t Stop the Music,” “Shut Up & Drive,” “Take a Bow,” “Disturbia,” “Breakin’ Dishes,” “Sell Me Candy” and “Push Up on Me,” Girl is also blessed with “Umbrella,” which is undoubtedly one of the greatest summer singles ever recorded. Although Ri was already well into the game at this point, this record truly transformed her into the icon who owns everything she touches today…..and we’ll be forever be grateful for everything that Good Girl has to offer until the god damn end of music time. 

Katy Perry/Teenage Dream (August 24th, 2010) No matter what you may think of Ms. Katy these days (anyone listen to Witness lately or watch American Idol this year…anyone?), there wasn’t a radio station back in 2010 that wasn’t blasting lead Dream single “California Gurls” or the still bubbly title track all summer long. Isn’t that right, the cast of Glee? Not only did Perry’s sun-scorched sonnets set her up for a truly smashing  third studio effort, but the tantalizing tracks would become the whipped cream wearing diva’s first pair of five consecutive Billboard chart topping hits from the record (becoming the only female to do so), and would no doubt launch her to true music icon status. Oh, and the fact that most of the Teenage tunes were dedicated to then husband Russell Brand? Well, that’s just f@#king priceless. Kitty Purry 4 lyfe. 

Prince/Batman Soundtrack (June 20th, 1989)  If you’ll recall (really, how could anyone forget?), there wasn’t a person on the globe who wasn’t struck with Dark Knight fever thanks to Tim Burton’s late ’80s blockbuster. Our beloved Purple One took over the accompanying soundtrack and simply flew with it, where it would go on to become the music legend’s eleventh studio offering. With each track derived with delicious bits and pieces from the classic superhero flick (“Batdance” and “Electric Chair,” anyone?), Prince truly hits the mark with every dark twist and turns along the way and also gives us the reason why we’ll never, ever forget the name, “Vicki Vale.” An equally iconic record paired with an equally iconic film in a summer we’ll never forget.

Now, let it all play. 



5 Albums Celebrating Milestones in 2017/’70s Groove Edition

When it comes to lists such as this one, introductions are not needed as classic sets from Michael Jackson, Fleetwood Mac, Gloria Gaynor, Elton John and Ms. Donna Summer are served up and ready for your 2017 milestones pleasure. 

Michael Jackson/Got to Be There While it’s easy to pass on high accolades for pop culture in these current daze and times, one that we must show our immediate respect and attention to the King of Pop’s very first solo album post-Jackson 5 as this past January 24, the Motown released record celebrated forty-five (!!!) years since blessing our MJ lives.

While it was a far departure from the grittier, grimier feel of Jackson’s later material, its classic grooves like the album’s title track, “Rockin Robin,” “Love is Here and Now You’re Gone” and Michael’s take on Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine,” that you truly get a fascinating reminder that this album is where it all began. 

Elton John/Honkey Chateau Considered by critics as a touch frothier than his ’71 set, Madman Across the Water, Mr. Elton’s fifth studio album still went down as one of the stand out albums of the decade, if not all time.

With its buffet of ballads, rock, blues and soul songs, Honky went straight to the top of the Billboard album charts, but it was mostly because the world took notice of John’s sharpened musical skills with this set, as it’s still undoubtedly one of the most focused and accomplished set of songs Elton wrote with his long-time co-writer, Bernie Taupin.

And it shows, especially in “Honky Cat,” “I Think I’m Gonna Kill Myself” and “Rocket Man,” which is most likely a song you either butchered this week or plan on butchering at the next karaoke night you take over.

You know it’s true. 

Donna Summer/Once Upon a Time/I Remember Yesterday Where else can you get two incredible albums for the price of one fabulous milestone? Only in the groovy ’70s, kids. If you’ll recall (really, how can anybody forget?), Ms. Summer (may she boogie on in disco piece) was a strobe lit force to be reckoned with in the 70s, but before she gave us “Last Dance” and “Bad Girls” to close out the groove filled decade, she served us heavenly life and lots and lots of love with this pair of ’77 sets. 

As if the reigning shimmer of tracks, “Can’t We Just Sit Down(And Talk It over?),”Love’s Unkind,” “I Love You” and “Rumour Has It” aren’t enough to get you toot-tootin’ and beep-beepin’ all night long, it was Yesterday that gave us the Giorgio Moroder magic that was and will always be all up in “I Feel Love.” 

Can you feel it? Yas, Ms. Summer queen, yas. 

Fleetwood Mac/Rumours  Now, if we were to spill about the inner turmoil that went on with all members of Fleetwood Mac during the crafting, cooking and serving of their world shattering album, we would seriously be here all day. 

Seriously, we would click on this and read away.

But what we will do right this second is press play on grooves “Dreams,” “Don’t Stop,” “Go Your Own Way,” “The Chain,” “You Make Lovin’ Fun” and, like, every fucking song on this album that proves much like Fleetwood Mac themselves–in forty years, these classic thunders haven’t lost touch with anyone or any fucking thing for that matter. 

Gloria Gaynor/Glorious Three words…one fiery disco delight…”I Will Survive.” You know it….you feel it….you most likely danced really drunk to it last night….or most likely right this very second because you’ve just had it, gurl. 

Either way…what still highly strobe lit bliss. Groove on, Mizz Gaynor. 





5 Albums Celebrating Milestones in 2017/Divas-of-’97 Edition

What do albums from…ah, just get down with this week’s list because your divas-of-’97 lives are about to get checked right about…now. 

Janet Jackson/The Velvet Rope If there’s one album we should all listen to right now, it’s Ms. J’s magnificent (and highly underrated) fifth studio opus. An artistic tale about life and all of the good/bad shit that comes with it, Ms. Jackson-if-you’re-truth certainly hits the life nail on the head every music step of the way. 

Whether it’s on the yearning Q-tip/Joni Mitchell starring lead single, “Got Til It’s Gone,” the life preparing dance flow of “Together Again,” the freedom ringing of”Free Xone” and the album’s title track or the seductive and scandalous nature of “Go Deep,” “I Get Lonely,” “Rope Burn” and “What About,” it’s all here behind Ms. Janet’s Velvet Rope, more importantly, for all of us to listen and relate to right…now. 

Plus. there’s that cover of Rod Stewart‘s “Tonight’s the Night” always hits our music “G” spot.

Missy Elliot/Supa Dupa Fly  Beep, beep which ’97 diva’s got one of the hottest hip-hop albums of all time? That would be our beloved Mizz Misdemeanor, whose award snatching (Missy also got the Academy Award for Best Supporting Werk with this album) debut set blessed our blunts two fucking decades ago. 

And of course, that’s meant in the kindest way possible as album singles and tracks “Sock It 2 Me” (hey, Ms. Brat!), “Beep Me 911″(hey, 702!) “Pass Da Blunt” and the Ms. Ann Peebles’ sampling “The Rain” (plus, that video, tho) sounds as fresh as the day they were baked in Timbo’s studio oven. 

And of course, may you “Hit Em Da Hee” for Missy life

Erykah Badu/Baduizm About a year before she made you (yes, you) call “Tyrone,” everyone’s favorite Soul Train Awards hostess served us straight up spiritual lyfe with her still stunning debut set.

But since this in album best understood through positive, life ready vibes and lots of great marijuana, as evident in tracks “On & On,” “Next Lifetime” and “Other Side of the Game,” twist it up, chill the fuck out and let Ms. Badu’s Baduizm teach us some things and thangs about life and stuff, man. 

Mary J. Blige/Share My World  Considered a large piece of Ms. Blige’s long-lasting presence in the industry, we still continue to get a slice Mary’s World with her groundbreaking third studio set. 

While the recording of 1994’s My Life was intertwined with Blige’s reported clinical depression while battling drug and alcohol addiction, World was met with a new Ms. Mary–one that made a fabulous effort to clean up her life, which led to the positive frame of mind that’s laced all throughout the still sassed up, Share My World.

As if you couldn’t tell by the sizzling strength of “I Can Love You” with Ms. Kim and “Love is All We Need” with Mr. Nas. Pure Blige bliss. Turn it up because the undisputed Queen of R&B & Hip Hop certainly did with this album. 

Shania Twain/Come on Over Does this one really need any kind of explanation? Most likely because you’re listening to it (and, like all of these albums)right this very second. Let’s go, gurls. 

Aqua/Aquarium Because “Barbie Girl” will always be our ’97 diva for life…especially on daze like today. Let’s go party.