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Splashy, Sunny Sounds: 10 Perfect Vinyl Albums for Summer Entertaining

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • July 14, 2022

For splendid, sun-dappled get-togethers, the right tunes can make all the difference. And part of that perfect soundtrack may include the richly textured intimacy of vinyl. From driving dance beats to mellow moods, here's a set of scintillating albums to throw on your turntable for your next summer soiree.

Who is Jill Scott, Words and Sounds Vol. 1

With beautifully crafted ballads and laid-back grooves, the engaging 2000 R&B debut from the luminous Jill Scott sets a sublime vibe for small, intimate gatherings on warm sultry evenings.


Ray LaMontagne's serene 2020 album serves as the consummate antidote for the stress of everyday life. His stripped-down, retro acoustic sound and seductive, breathy vocals translate so well to vinyl.

Purple Rain

If you want to get your guests on the dance floor, you can't beat Prince's 1984 masterpiece. With beloved hits like "Let's Go Crazy," "When Doves Cry," and "I Would Die 4 U," this tight set will get your party started.

Court and Spark

Joni Mitchell's 1974 album was an immediate commercial and critical success. Infused with jazz inflections, the folk rock classic introduced lush, enduring tunes like "Help Me" and"Free Man in Paris."

Van Halen II

The 1979 sophomore effort for Van Halen was praised by Rolling Stone for its "feel-good, party atmosphere"—and we concur! Hits like "Dance the Night Away" and "Beautiful Girls," are instant mood boosters.

Golden Hour

Kacey Musgraves's award-winning 2018 album elevated her vibe beyond the homespun country of her previous efforts. The music is confessional, cohesive, and incandescent. It's a radiant, revelatory crossover performance.

Catch a Fire

With its perfect island beach vibe, this 1973 set from Bob Marley and the Wailers has been described as the gateway drug of reggae albums. Tracks like "Concrete Jungle" and "Stir It Up" demonstrate the Wailers' impressive range.

On the Beach

This is the fifth album from Canadian-American musician Neil Young. Released in 1974, the melancholy-tinged songs explore themes of alienation, nihilism, and cautious optimism, with jangly, sunkissed harmonies.

Women in Music Pt. III

Sisters Alana, Este, and Danielle Haim make up the band Haim. Their 2020 album received widespread acclaim, with critics praising its honest and vulnerable lyrics and experimentation with a wide variety of genres.

Abbey Road

Several choices from the fab four could have made their way onto this list. With feel-good faves like "Come Together" and "Here Comes the Sun," their 1969 album (recorded shortly before the band's breakup) gets our vote.

Summer is in full swing! Gather your best pals, make some cold drinks, and get into the spirit of the season with some of these consummate summer albums spinning on your turntable.

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