Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Summer Playlist

There's just something about summer that's inexplicable. Maybe it's the reckless potential of all that it contains. The days are long, the nights are hot, and the restlessness that they bring makes us all feel young, even if for a bit.

Barnside Movie at Silly Goose Farm
From Summer 2011 Barnside Movie Party

When I think of summer, I think of swimming with my high school boyfriend ('sup Brian) with a crank radio on the dock broadcasting the Yankees game; I think of throwing bocce in the backyard with a good drink in hand while laughing with friends as the sun goes down and the fireflies come out; I reminisce of hot, sweaty days pitching hay into the barn and the smell of tractor oil.

In all of those situations, certain songs that are intrinsically summer come to mind. There are those tunes that are mandatory listening as the temperature rises; they make you want to put an extra cuff in your cut-offs, slather on sunscreen, and dance in the most fun, seductive manner with your best friends and lovers. Songs by The Beach Boys, Sam Cooke, John Mellencamp, Snoop... Sure, they're good any time of year, but even better when the windows are down and the wind whips through your hair, pulling tiny little beads of sweat off your skin. They beg of lazy adventures, limited clothing, and getting lost in a moment seemingly suspended in time.

I've asked some of my favorite people to help me compile a quintessential summer playlist, complete with songs of nostalgia, novelty, obscurity, and apropos seasonal mentions. It seems for each person, there is a song that just can't be heard without flashbacks to a summer memory (for me, it's driving my first car, my Mustang, at unreasonably high speeds with Bowie on repeat, headbobbing harder than an over-zealous hooker). Read on (and listen) below - there's about 50 songs, so scroll through. Did we miss your favorite summer song? Got a memory to accompany? Share in the comments and I'll work to update the list!

Jenny Witte, impeccably stylish editor-in-chief and my gadabout soul sister: Although not technically ABOUT summer, "Waiting on a Friend," by The Rolling Stones always reminds me of summertime. Mick is hanging out on that front stoop in the video, just sort of wasting the day away the way summer days can sometimes go, where it starts getting dark and you realize you've just been hanging out all day. It's so relaxed and laid back, it makes you want to just sit around and wait too. And of course Mick is just at his most louche, tight pants best in this video. I love it.

Tom Makovitch, Artist Extraordinaire: I couldn't decide on just one song, so two it is. The first is "Origins" by Tennis. Whenever I listen to music I never hear the lyrics separately from the instruments. I hear them as one digesting the song as a whole piece. My second is "Naked Kids" by Grouplove and it overwhelms me with nostalgic happiness.

Kelly Kramer, Resident BFF and music festival champion: Long days filled with sunshine, road trips to the beach, outdoor brunches that last until nightfall, and baseball games - thinking about summer yet? For me, nothing can bring about these feelings of summer better than music. The music of summer should automatically make you dance, put you in a good mood, or at least make you think about all the things that make you cherish the summer. The scenario that epitomizes what summer means to me is sitting on a mountain at a music festival listening to my favorite jams. And what song will you ALWAYS hear at a festival? "The Weight," by The Band. Imagine day drinking with all your best friends when you heat the first few chords of "The Weight." You automatically know that for the next four and a half minutes, everyone will be engrossed in the song. Whether you know all the lyrics of have made up your own, it's a hell of a good time singing at the top of your lungs to the ultimate story song. There will be lots of smiles, cheers with beverages, and lighters in the air. You just can't be in a bad mood once those chords are played, and for me that's the best part of the summer - getting lost in the feeling that the season, these friendships, and the beer supply will never end.

Jillian Kalonick, everyone's favorite red-headed librarian: I used to date a guy who liked any song that had "ooh ooh oohs" in it. I know he would dig "White Wave" by Portastatic. I love the nostalgia for teenage rebellion, the stinging sunburn, and "Yelloe Brick Road" on the jukebox. It's the perfect thing to blast with the windows down on the way to the shore.

Braden Russom, cookbook author, brother-in-the-bonds, and business confidante:  I know it's a bit cheesy, but I guess I'd say "Boys of Summer," by Don Henley. It's kinda got everything. It's a summer love/lust story, and the repeated, driving drums and guitar have a relentlessness that's almost oppressive, like a long, hot, summer. I think my attachment to it comes from being about 12 and seeing it on VH1. The sepia-toned video and the not-so-subtle sexiness really grabbed me. I felt a bit like I was getting a glimpse into what the older, more popular kids were doing during their summers.

Julie White Eklund, my cocktail co-conspirator and touchstone of what's cool in the best esoteric ways: Despite my penchant for thoughtful, lyric-driving music, there is just something about humid weather that calls out for crunk. I find that "Get Low," by Lil Jon is perfect for cooking and dancing around in the kitchen on one of those muggy thunderstorm nights when the sweat is dripping down your neck in little rivulets that are either gross or the sexiest thing ever. It's just a matter of where your head is at. (editor's note: Julie has here own list right here.)

Shannon McGill, tempting songstress with hair one could lost in for days: "Green Garden," by Laura Mvula is infectious, ebullient, beautiful, and lust like its title. Mvula's voice is warm and inviting and the backing vocals... woah! The thing is just perfection, it just envelops you in beauty. Swallows you right up and makes you a devotee instantly! Like the refrain says, "I'll go wherever you go, wherever you take me, I'll go." I'd follow this woman anywhere! This song just knocks me out and oozes summer. It's what summer sounds like. "Birmingham" is a winding, stomping, snaking story of two musicians in love. After I first heard it, I listened to it for 4 days straight, just this one song. It's all my ears wanted. Here is the wanderlust and restlessness that's inherent in summer. Forever this song will represent summer of 2013 for me. 

Taya Matthews, operatic crooner and master of brevity: "Breathe," by Telepopmusik. Gosh is this ever the song...

Share your songs below!