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What’s the Greatest Summer Album of All Time? The Final Round

Truth: Those Long Beach all-stars were no match for California's finest.

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There’s been an upset, ladies and gentlemen. The Beach Boys managed to toss aside the almighty Sublime. Yes, after weeks of reigning triumphantly over all comers, Bradley Nowell & Co. couldn’t handle the critical darling that is Pet Sounds. To be fair, it’s hard to vote against the second greatest album ever, which makes this final round’s underdog Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs.

In other words, the final two masterminds are Win Butler and Brian Wilson.

As always, it’s up to you to decide. But think of it this way: Do you wanna spend all summer with the delightful Caroline, or do you feel the need to head towards the Sprawl? This is by far the hardest matchup yet, and even we have no idea how it could end. The data from the past few weeks points either way, though admittedly, the edge belongs to California’s finest. Still, I’m not throwing any money down on this bracket.

So, what say you?

Deadline: You have until Monday, September 8th to vote.

summeralbums ROUND 4

Pet Sounds vs. The Suburbs

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Pet Sounds could be, from my perspective, the greatest album of all time. The fact that its lush sounds fit in the summer is simply a minor point of reference. However, there’s a sunny tilt to Brian Wilson’s masterpiece. It’s a compendium of raw emotion: happiness, longing, confusion, frustration at the nomadic way life unfolds. But you never doubt for a second that its existentialist musings come from anything other than a place of unequivocal love for the weird world around him. –Dean Essner

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The vision of bored teenagers’ hair flying in the wind on hazy summer days throughout all of suburbia is something that’s had no shortage of representation in American pop culture, from film to bad reality shows. And at times, The Suburbs is mistaken by the undiscerning for another celebration of middle-class ennui. However, Arcade Fire’s acclaimed LP is actually about the schisms inherent in the most nondescript parts of America, the angst laying beneath the dreamy listlessness and always similar houses. If Win Butler sang of how “I don’t wanna live in my father’s house no more” on Neon Bible’s “Windowsill”, The Suburbs is about the pain of watching year after year pass without ever actually getting out. –Dominick Mayer

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