This week we’re prepping for Summer with some songs hotter than the sidewalk in Austin.
Standard Daniel here, and over the past couple of weeks that I’ve been compiling these tunes-from-team, I’ve often fought over the self-imposed restrictions on what songs make the list and what songs fall short. This week, with a topic as broad as “summer”, it could be difficult to make that decision. It came down to this essentially; does it have the word summer (or beach, pool, hot, etc.) in the title, and does the song *slap* (slap: verb – slang term applied to a desirable object [if it’s good, it slaps. if not, it does not slap]).
As I’m sure I’ve noted before, the keeper of the keys is me, and so I accept that reality that some of my song choices will not align with yours, and that’s fine. That’s a price I’m willing to pay. That being said, here is a list of songs that remind me of summer, and are all amazing for their own unique reasons. I’ll highlight a few.
Stand Out Songs
– Summer Girl – HAIM: This track is off the California sister’s third record, released in 2020 and appropriately titled ‘Women In Music Pt. III’. It has a hypnotic groovy bassline that reminds me of 1990’s Can I Kick It? by A Tribe Called Quest (which sampled 1972’s Walk on the Wild Side by Lou Reed).
The vocals are effortless; in fact, effortless is the best way to describe the song. It’s the feeling of longboarding down a hill, going fast but not too fast, just cruising along an asphalt wave in no hurry of anything at all. Danielle Haim (lead singer/guitar/drums) sings that she’s “your summer girl”; a bright light and positive energy, the way we feel after a log winter. She wrote the song to be uplifting after she found out that her partner was diagnosed with cancer (he’s in the clear now). The song is radiant like the LA sun.
– Summertime – DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince: this song is obvious and needs no explanation. For summer inspiration, see video below.
– Summer Love – Justin Timberlake: From 2006’s epic ‘FutureSex/LoveSounds’, this track is a modern telling of Grease’s Summer Loving. Summer is the perfect time to fall in love, but it is also a temporary relief; from the cold, from school, from normal monotonous life. Some loves are summer loves, with expiration dates; and then there are other loves, loves that “can’t just be summer love.”
– Cruel Summer – Taylor Swift: This song has the line “Devil’s roll the dice, Angels roll their eyes” and that’s so T. Swift. Over the past decade, few artists have climbed to the heights of Tay-Tay. From country to pop to folk, she’s crafted an undeniable resume. I have always thought her lyrics were amazing, and there is a quality that reminds me so much of emo punk rock from the early 2000’s. I can’t be the only person to think this. Which brings me to…
– You’re So Last Summer – Taking Back Sunday: As discussed earlier, summer (and summer loves) comes to an end, and then things turn cold. Relationships are just seasons after all, and when they end, sometimes they end hard. Taking Back Sunday was one of the biggest bands of the emo mall-core scene from the beginning of the 21st century, and this song from their debut album, 2002’s ‘Tell All Your Friends’, has some of the best emo lyrics that high school standard Daniel sang as he got over a horrible break up.
In the second verse, Adam says “I’d never lie to you, unless I had to, I’ll do what I got to. The truth is you could slit my throat and with my one last gasping breath I’d apologize for bleeding on your shirt.” Few lines are so fully encompassing of a genre as that. They’re on this list twice, later on with the love song One-Eighty by Summer. I’m just kidding, it’s a break up song (“Go on, just say it, You need me like a bad habit… She says ‘live up to your first impression’, my best side was your worst invention, can’t you live without the attention”).
I had a lot of tough break ups and I don’t want to talk about it.
– Summer’s End – Phoebe Bridgers: I will put Phoebe on any and ever list that I possibly can. One of my favorite artists right now.
Video for Summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
Some quick hits! Rockaway Beach by The Ramones is a punk rock Beach Boys song, and if you don’t like that I have nothing for you. Summertime by Orville Peck sounds like no other song you’ve listened to. It’s haunting and reminds me of a goth-western movie from the 70’s.
We have a couple of covers here: 1. Summertime by all-star punk cover band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes (originally from the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess), 2. The Boys of Summer by The Ataris (originally by Don Henley, some random guy from a some unknown band called Eagles), and 3. Summer of ’69 by MxPx (originally by Bryan Adams). I almost always prefer the pop punk cover over the original when given the choice.
Last thoughts: Friendly Fires is criminally underrated, and if Jump in the Pool doesn’t make you want to dance, you are in fact a criminal. Same thing goes for Summerfest ’86 by Miami Horror, and Hot Mess by Chromeo.
Last little bonus of summer fun is the track Survive from Summer People, a outrageously fun band from Binghamton, New York. How do I know they’re outrageously fun? My band in college was lucky enough to tour the east coast with these fine gentleman (and Cleveland’s own Hot Cha Cha) , starting in Texas and ending up in New York state, with about 20 stops in-between. Good times were had by all.
Here’s the list…
This summer, I hope you enjoy the sun, and crank up the jams. Wear sunscreen though. Just because you’re cool doesn’t mean you have to be dumb. Summertime! And the living is eeeassssyyy…