Four albums worth another listen before summer anthems begin

In that awkward gap between early spring singles and summer hits, music lovers idly scroll through their played-out playlists and repeatedly visit download sites to find a hot track that will carry them over to the next phase of 2012 music.

But maybe listeners are looking in the wrong place. As summer anthems draw towards us, maybe we should be looking to the past for a something fresh to listen to. After all, many of the top artists of today are highly influenced by the music icons of ten or twenty years ago. And who knows? You might even find some of these in your parent’s record collection, saving you a bit of extra cash.

1. Whitney Houston by Whitney Houston (1985)

Though the singer’s death has earned some of her older tracks some extra radio time, Whitney Houston still warrants another listen. Inspired by her icons Chaka Khan and Gladys Knight, Houston pours out her soul on her debut album in famous ballads like “You Give Good Love” and “The Greatest Love of All.” But even if you’re looking for something a little more up-tempo, songs like “Someone for Me” and “How Will I Know” are sure to get your heart pumping.

2. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill (1998)

Though this one might seem a bit obvious to die-hard hip-hop fans, it still remains a legendary contribution to the genre. With tracks like “I Used to Love Him,” “Doo Wop (That Thing)” and the ever-popular “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, the debut solo album of the title artist, solidified Lauryn Hill’s place in the music world and still harbors a startling relevancy for issues in urban life.

3. Songs for Young Lovers by Frank Sinatra (1954)

Need a little extra romance and sick of Rihanna’s “We Found Love?” Turn back to one of the original Casanovas. Sinatra’s slick, seductive vocals in songs like “My Funny Valentine” and “I Get a Kick out of You” provide a refreshing alternative to modern, blatant sexual lyrics. In addition, characteristic witty lyrics and endearing charm make this member of the Rat Pack worthy of a comeback.

4. Nevermind by Nirvana (1991)

Everyone probably recognizes the 90s, head banging track “Smells like Teen Spirit,” but Nirvana’s Nevermind has a lot more to offer than proto-indie music. One of the first rock albums to popularize grunge music and revert back to the sixties era of discussing political and social issues, Nevermind features hidden tracks like “Drain You,” “Polly” and “Something in the Way,” which show a maturity to a band overshadowed by lead singer Kurt Cobain’s death.


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