This summer sure is a slow starter. Every time it shyly peeks its head out from behind the clouds, somebody shrieks or claps or farts or laughs, and frightens it away. I'm realizing now why this keeps happening--we haven't yet found the good summertime album that'll soundtrack the Summer of '08.

You know what I'm talking about. Every summer needs that one album, to get played constantly throughout, serving to identify and tag the season forever in the history books and memory banks. This can be an intensely personal thing; it can also be an entirely arbitrary decision. Most times, the summertime album just happens. No one plans it, there's no premeditation; the summer just rolls along and voila--there's the album to go along with it, played over and over.

However, I don't think this will work for '08. Maybe it's due to the desperately long presidential primary cycle, or all the catastrophe happening around the globe. Maybe it's just a slow year. But this summer needs every bit of encouragement it can get. So we need to come up with some ideas and start crankin' the tunes. The ideal summertime album will be a record with at least one foot in the melodic pop kiddie pool--tunes matter--and I think, one that almost everyone can agree on, no matter what kind of taste they have in music. It can't be too morose or gloomy, nor too angry and confrontational, and definitely not too mellow--although moments of mellowness are certainly needed. It's got to be something for hot weather, so it either needs to be hot itself, and boil right along with the sunny heat and match it, or it needs to be cool and refreshing, like a cool breeze or a dip in the pool.

It's a tough job, and frankly most albums--despite being worthy on all other counts--aren't up to the task. Know of one that is? Put your nomination in the comments, and let's start spinning those summertime tunes.