Music occupies a unique space in our lives; it can pick you up if you’re feeling down, it can keep you down when you’re feeling blue, it can set the mood for innumerable activities and it often acts as a way for us to sonically decorate the space around us. When you think of music in these terms, it becomes even more important to really consider what you’re listening to; this is why we here at Goliath have taken the time to compile our absolute favorite Monday morning albums, so as to save you the pain of having to listen to the radio on your way into work. Every one of these albums is guaranteed to wake you up and keep you happy on the gloomiest of all days (nobody likes Mondays), and they’re all filled with great songs to boot.
10. Comfort Eagle (Cake)
Cake are one of those bands you may not know by name, but you’ve definitely heard their music. It juxtaposes ordinary, monotone singing (often speaking, as well) overtop of really catchy, upbeat tunes; their classic tune “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” is a perfect example of this, and it’s one song of theirs that you’d recognize instantly. A great Monday song in its own right, “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” isn’t the only tune on Comfort Eagle that’ll get you up and moving on the worst day of the week; tracks like “Shadow Stabbing” and “Love You Madly” are in the same vein, and they’re all great tracks to sing along to on your drive into work. Quality instrumentals (complete with a brass section) succeed in adding an extra layer to this already great album. Check it out the next time you’re feeling the Monday Blues.
9. Greatest Hits (Al Green)
Let’s get this out of the way right now; there’s very few situations in life where Al Green isn’t the answer. Rather, the classic soul man can be played in most any situation, and there’s nothing wrong with cranking up these smooth jams on your long commute to work in the A.M. Green, who hails from Arkansas and is often known simply as The Reverend, is about as slick as they come, and the tracks on this Greatest Hits compilation (often cited as one of the most finely curated Greatest Hits albums of all time) are drawn from his pre-1975 albums, when he was making some of the finest soul music in the business. It might not rock you to your core like some of the albums on this list, but Al Green’s Greatest Hits is sure to put you in a warm, fuzzy mood that might not normally find its way into your Monday morning routine.
8. El Camino (The Black Keys)
The Black Keys have a ton of studio material at this point in their careers, and we’ll be the first to admit we like some of it more than others. El Camino (released in 2011) isn’t our favorite Black Keys album (that honor goes to their earlier work Thickfreakness, which is so firmly rooted in the Deep South Blues that it may as well have crawled straight out the Louisiana Bayou), but it’s a rocking endeavor that features a bevy of songs sure to you have you moving and grooving in the A.M. Well recognized tracks like “Gold on the Ceiling” and “Lonely Boy” will have you singing along in no time, there’s more here than just radio fodder; “Dead and Gone” and “Money Maker” feature more of the same hook-ridden blues rock the band have become known for, while slower tracks like “Little Black Submarines” offer brief respites from the rocking nature of the album.
7. Michigan Left (Arkells)
The first surprise album on this lists is from a lesser known Canadian band, the Arkells. Hailing from Hamilton, Ontario, the Arkells have produced several quality albums that play from front to back, in particular their debut album Jackson Square and the follow up, Michigan Left. It’s the latter album we’re going to speak about here, because it’s filled with rocking feel good tunes that’ll wake you up and leave you feeling like you’ve just received a shot of adrenaline on your way into the office. “Book Club,” the album’s first track, is a total winner, with an echo-y, reverb filled guitar line and a catchy chorus that’ll make you want to put down your windows and feel the wind against your face. More of the same can be said about the album’s title track, “Michigan Left,” while “Kiss Cam” reigns supreme as one of the more romantic and underrated tunes to come out in the last ten years or so. A little gem from the Great White North, Michigan Left is a Monday morning must-listen.
6. Every Picture Tells A Story (Rod Stewart)
You heard it here first…we’re making Rod Stewart cool again. Maybe not cheesy, ’80s Rod Stewart, but rocking, Faces-leading 1970s Rod Stewart. Now that’s a guy whose music we want to listen to. Before he went glam on us, Rod Stewart was producing quality rock and roll with the help of guys like Ronnie Wood (who would later go on to take Mick Taylor’s place in The Rolling Stones). Stewart, whose finest solo album is undoubtedly 1971’s Every Picture Tells A Story, is often the punch line of musical jokes, but this album will have you wishing you could take back every “Do You Think I’m Sexy” impression you’ve ever done. Containing the quintessential Stewart track “Maggie May,” along with a litany of other awesome rock arrangements including a Bob Dylan cover and some epic guitar work by Wood, this is Stewart’s strongest individual offering as a musician and a perfect album for when you’re looking for something different to pick you up in the A.M.
5. Born to Run (Bruce Springsteen)
If Rod Stewart is something different, then The Boss is someone whose work you should be intimately familiar with (and that’s a good thing). There’s nothing like tossing on a classic album that you know all the words to, and just cruising. Sure, you’re headed into work on a Monday morning, but who cares? Springsteen is playing! America’s greatest songwriter gave us Born to Run, his best album, and if you haven’t heard it by this point in your life you’re committing egregious sins against the lovers, the dreamers, and the worn out troublemakers of this work. The king of the open road and the power ballad rounds out a terrific front to back album with the help of the E-Street Band, complete with a brass section and some of the most iconic heartland rock riffs the world has ever heard. There’s literally not a bad song on the album, and we guarantee (or your money back) that the opening verses of “Thunder Road” will put you in a mood so good not even your boss (your boss, not The Boss) can ruin it.
4. Trouble Man (Marvin Gaye)
Did we say Al Green was the smoothest around? We lied. Marvin is the smoothest, and there’s no Marvin Gaye album smoother than Trouble Man, which actually functioned as the soundtrack to a 1972 Blaxploitation film but makes for perfectly fine listening all by its lonesome. Silky smooth and featuring some of Gaye’s most complex and layered musical arrangements, Trouble Man was a critical success despite the fact that the film it was attached to was less successful than intended. A departure from the overly political efforts of his earlier work (especially What’s Going On?), Trouble Man makes for some smooth Monday morning listening. Put on the title track (“Trouble Man”) as you cruise to work and let the glorious drum work and Marvin’s soulful utterances wash over you. Life changing stuff, folks.
3. Rumours (Fleetwood Mac)
We’ve spoken of our love for this album before, and that love only grows each and every time we put on this classic album. Rumours, released in 1977 and representing the best work that iconic rock band Fleetwood Mac ever produced, is, like many other albums on this list, one that you can simply put on and let play; each and every song has a place in relation to the others on the album, and it’s filled to the brim with feel good tunes, heartbreak songs, and everything in between. “Second Hand News” will brighten up your morning; “Don’t Stop” will give you some perspective on where you’re at in your own life; and “Go Your Own Way” will remind you of the sincere importance of, well…going your own way, man. Produced amidst absolute chaos at the legendary Sound City studios in California, Rumours is the kind of album made for Monday mornings. Just don’t get lost listening and end up late to work, alright?
2. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (The Beatles)
There’s a myriad of Beatles albums that could’ve found their way into this list; whether you’re craving something upbeat on a Monday morning, or something more mature and melodic, there’s a Beatles album for every mood and situation. They were that good. We’ve gone and chosen Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the eight studio album released by the band, as the perfect Monday morning Beatles album, if for no reason other than the album’s seamless flow and energizing guitar work; the tracks meld perfectly in to one another, and before you know it you’ve reached the end of a classic album (and your parking spot at the office). That’s the thing about great music, it can transport you from one place to another without you ever realizing you were on a journey to start.
1. Pet Sounds (The Beach Boys)
If it were left to us, everyone on Earth would listen to Pet Sounds on Monday mornings; we think the world would be a much happier place, were that the way things worked. Musical genius Brian Wilson’s answer to Beatlemania, Pet Sounds is one of the most critically acclaimed and universally loved albums to have ever been released, and its legend has done nothing but grow in the years since its release. From the overwhelmingly happy opening notes of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?” to the melancholy musings of “God Only Knows,” Pet Sounds is as close to a perfect album as you can get, and it just happens to be one of the most inspiring and creativity-inducing pieces of art we’ve ever come across. This album won’t just make your Monday morning better; it’ll make your entire week fall into place.