Summer’s pretty chell, right? If you’re like me, lingering in that glorious post-graduation grace period where it’s somewhat (but not really) acceptable to be unemployed and get plastered every night, then you’re having the chillest time of your life right now. The only challenge we worry about when we wake up every day is figuring out how to avoid our parents and the consequent get-a-fucking-job scolding we’re all too familiar with.
When we’re away from our progenitorial dictators, whether it’s cruisin’ with the windows down or drowning in barley pops by the pool, nothing enhances the relaxation more than a good set of tunes that rolls along on its own. No picking after every song, no browsing a million different artists–just one album from one artist that has a vibe you can fall into for an hour or so.
Here are seven to let play when you’re getting sunburnt like a lobster, sneakily guzzling beer on the beach, or sneakily guzzling beer with sunburnt lobsters on the beach:
Morning Phase – Beck
Best Songs: Morning, Blue Moon
Every album this guy releases is like music Neapolitan ice cream. Each combines so many different sounds and styles into surprisingly uniform songs. You’d THINK it would sound like absolute shit when trying to combine a tambourine, guitar, and chiptune into one composition, but Beck inexplicably pulls it off. Morning Phase excels in this type of experimentation by having a melancholy and ambient atmosphere. It’s the kind of album you listen to when life seems irreversibly fucked and you need all the heavy circumstances to wash away for a short while. It’s kind of like therapy, only cheaper and without the leather couch or conniving therapist in a mothballed sweater.
Closer to the Sun – Slightly Stoopid
Best Songs: Somebody, Closer to the Sun
Weed is tight, weed is tight. Weed is even more tight when consumed in copious quantities with Slightly Stoopid groovin’ in the background. If you’re a leaf chiefer and have been unaware that Slightly Stoopid is synonymous with chiefing leaf, you’ve been doing it quite wrong, young squire. Whether it’s 4:19 and you got a minute or you’re just soberly lounging outside somewhere, Closer to the Sun is always appropriate if you’re jonesing for a seamless fusion of dubbed-out funk, reggae, and hip-hop.
Channel Orange – Frank Ocean
Best Songs: Thinkin Bout You, Crack Rock
We all know most of those Odd Future dudes are one fry short of a Happy Meal, if you know what I mean. They’re all batshit crazy, and we know that from their overtly rapey lyrics and goofy steeze. However ridiculous they may be, they’re pretty good at writing songs, especially Frank Ocean, who breathes fresh, calm air among the hardcore hip-hop collective. But he also knows when to stand up for what belongs to him. HEY CHRIS BROWN, NOBODY TAKES FRANK OCEAN’S GODDAMN PARKING SPOT.
The Best of A Tribe Called Quest – A Tribe Called Quest
Best Songs: IT’S A “BEST OF” ALBUM
I was late to pick up on these guys. Full disclosure, I never even heard of them up until about two years ago and they’ve been around for almost 30 years. Once I did, I listened to People’s Instinctive Travels and Beats, Rhymes and Life for six months afterward. Their music is just light enough to relax to and just funky enough to bob your head to, which is a delicate balance not achieved very often. Their best-of album is packed with Q-Tip and the boys’ best work over their long-ass tenure together. I’m gonna marry a woman named Bonita Applebaum one day. Bonita A-Mac. Yeaaaaah.
Dive – Tycho
Best Songs: A Walk, Coastal Brake
This one has that ambient Brian Eno style to it. No speaking, no lyrics, all electronic synthesizers and shit. It’s the kind of music you drop ‘shrooms to in your room on a rainy afternoon, but you don’t have to be eight miles high to like it. Just like Morning Phase, it just makes you feel at ease, like all the really terrible shit in your life melts away for a while. Throw on some headphones and fall asleep to it or blare it in your car if you want. Dive deviates from the other choices on this list in the best way possible.
In Between Dreams – Jack Johnson
Best Songs: Never Know, Staple It Together
Oh, you HAD to have known this would be here. The guy embodies the definition of chill–a former surfer turned professional acoustic guitarist. Even when him and Andy Samberg are beating the shit out of each other, he’s chill.
He often plays at Merriweather Post Pavilion, a venue near my hometown, and he always makes the crowd go apeshit during “Staple It Together” by saying, “Staple it together/we’re rockin’ at Merriweather.” Except he didn’t say it when he came through a few weeks ago. Fucking mellow man.
Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine
For when it’s 6 p.m. and you’re done being hungover and leaving the beach to rip shots of Spirytus and FUCKING RAGE.