E:I don’t know about you, but there are certain songs that mean summer to me. Some, because I associate them with particular summers past (probably because they were overplayed on the radio) and others because they just have that summery feel. I thought we might share some playlists of our summer faves – offer up what we’ve all liked, and hopefully see what you enjoy, too.
First, a few songs that I strongly associate with the summers they were released are the Black Eyed Peas “Where is the Love” and Guns n’ Roses “Sweet Child of Mine”; I danced with my firstborn child to the first, and a boy write me a love letter quoting the second (“Her hair reminds me of a warm safe place/ Where as a child I’d hide”) (M: to quote C, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little) (E: oh, whatever). I remember making a fake music video with high school friends to Def Leopard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me.” Not a song you’d expect to be sentimental about, huh?
C: Hey, associations don’t have to have logic to them! (Actually though, I associate that song with the movie Coyote Ugly; if summer is a time for guilty pleasures, that’s one of Hollywood’s most summery films…)
E: Some songs seems eternally summery to me, regardless of my experience with them (or their association with attrocious movies or embarrassing personal anecdotes):
Colbie Callait’s “Bubbly”
Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours”
Sheryl Crow’s “Soak Up the Sun” (C: Blegh!)
Doris Troy’s “Just One Look”
Big Mountain’s cover of “Baby I Love Your Way”
Corrine Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On”
Bob Marley’s ” Waiting in Vain” (but really, the whole Legends album – we can all probably agree that reggae is a summer genre, and that Marley is reggae personified)
Jack Johnson’s “Flake”
What else? I’m sure there are lots of summer anthems I’m missing.
M: There are a lot that I associate with summer for one reason or another. Usually it is the association with the summer that I first heard it, or the summer that I remember listening to it a lot, or it being the soundtrack of one specific event. Sometimes it’s much more blatant, as summer is either mentioned in the title, like the aforementioned Cheryl Crow song or Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer,” or it’s about summer, or both, like Will Smith’s “Summertime.”
Some that pop to mind for me right away are Blues Traveler’s “Runaround,” Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week,” O.A.R’s “Wonderful Day” and The Hooters’ “And We Danced.” All to me are light, fun and upbeat songs that I want to listen to when I’m outside and able to really move around, preferably with the heat of the sun pouring down on me, and maybe the ocean, a pool or a wiffle ball game near by. Some others get-you-moving songs that make my summertime list are Bruce Springsteen’s quintessential summer song “Glory Days” (which I heard just yesterday!), Rusted Root’s “Send Me On My Way” (C: Or as Dad called it, “Simeon the Whale”/E: He’s not the only one, either – I’ve heard people not related to us say that as well.), Boston’s “More Than a Feeling,” Better Than Ezra’s “Good” and Chumbawamba’s fantastic one hit wonder “Tubthumping” and its companion from the summer of ’97, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ hit “The Impression That I Get.”
Of course, I have to include some for the more relaxed moments, that make the perfect backdrop for sitting around watching the sun go down and hanging out, like the Counting Crows’ “Anna Begins,” Creedence’s “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” and Jars of Clay’s “Love Song For a Savior.” Lastly for me, since summer and baseball go hand in hand, any summer time list wouldn’t be complete without John Fogerty’s “Put Me In Coach,” or pretty much every song ever recorded by Jimmy Buffett.
E: Love “Tubthumping”! What a great call! And the Bosstones. Rusted Root makes me think of Phish’s big top forty hit, “Bouncing Round the Room,” which is excellently, er, bouncy. And all your old school stuff. What’s the idea with “Anna Begins,” though? That’s a fascinating choice – it’s one of my favorite songs, but it seems so moody and dark. To me their summer anthem has to be “Hangin’ Around.”
M: I know, I’m odd. (E: Truer words…) Now, I could put just about any song off of the Counting Crows album “August and Everything After” on my list, because that’s one of my all time favorites, and I could listen to just about any of the songs at any time of year. And yes, their songs like “Hangin’ Around,” “Angels of the Silences” and “A Murder of One” are much more stereotypically summery, but for the grouping I was going for, my “listening to while basking in a glorious summer sunset” list, “Anna Begins” really works for me. Not even 100% sure why, but it does.
C: Have to say, I’m with E on “Anna Begins.” One of my favorite songs, but way too melancholy in tone to be summery. Also, the lyrics evoke images of night and darkness, whereas to me, summer songs ought to feel sunshiney. Even if that’s not what this summer has been like! A sunshiney song, to my mind, is one like The Cure’s “Mint Car” or some cheery oldies like “Build Me Up, Buttercup” or “So Happy Together.” And as M mentioned, BNL’s got the right feel – I saw a lot of their concerts in summertime back in the day, and though some of their music is dark, tunes like “If I Had $1,000,000,” “The Old Apartment” and “Jane” have a good drive-with-the-windows-down beat.
M: You know how much I love BNL, but I’m not sure I’m with you on “Jane” fitting that bill. “Who Needs Sleep”, definitely, but “Jane” not so much.
E: That makes me think, C, that there are subsets to summer songs. There are driving songs, like “Life is a Highway” or The Proclaimers “500 Miles,” and there are summer night songs, songs replete with nostalgia for summers past like 10,000 Maniacs “Verdi Cries” and REM’s “Nightswimming.” I still don’t think “Anna Begins” fits into that category, either, but you only have to listen to the lyrics to know that one’s about the night, and (in as cliched a phrase as possible) the night time of the soul.
M: Like I said, not exactly sure why, but I think its probably some memory from when I first heard or started to like it, or the crescendo near the end, or some combination of both that put it in that category me. And for the record, you two are banging on one of my choices as being moody and melancholy, and then you put an REM song in your list? Come on, you’re talking about a band that had to bring in one of the B-52’s just to come up with a song that people didn’t want to kill themselves to. Not that “Nightswmming” is particularly their most down beat, and not that their depressing music isn’t fantastic, but still.
E: Oh, whatever, you’re just grasping at straws. Anyway, moving right along (which could be a summer song!), C, you’re making it harder and harder for me to refrain from naming one of your favorite songs. Hurry up already!
C: Sorry E, maybe I should just let you post for me! “Nightswimming” was on my list of songs I associate with summers of the past, as are Fastball’s “The Way,” Smashmouth’s “All Star” and “Walking on the Sun” (I remember one night spent waiting for it to come on the radio so I could tape it!), Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life” and OMC’s “How Bizarre.”
These days, though, when I want summer music I think more in terms of whole albums, ranging from Carbon Leaf’s Indian Summer, Stars’ Set Yourself on Fire, the Veronica Mars soundtrack, cheery instrumental soundtracks like Anne of Green Gables or Wives and Daughters, and jazz classics like Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra.
But the song I know you want me to mention is “Dela” by Johnny Clegg & Savuka. It’s a bright dancy tune, but truthfully, I think of it as a song for any occasion!
M: Definitely a great song, and a must listen for anyone not fortunate enough to know it. And since C finally got that you, that’ll be our list for now. Feel free to add your own, tell us where our lists went wrong, or just further demolish my selection and explain why Anna Begins doesn’t work as a summer song!