Thursday, September 3, 2009

End of Summer II: Top Five "Summer" Songs

It must be summer, cause the days are long...

It's too hot to be completely coherent... so here we go...

I've seen quite a few blog posts this past week about the best songs from the summer of 2009. Out of dozens of different songs posted, I think I've heard one or two. This depresses me (and not just because it's yet another sign that I'm not as hip as I was -- or at least as I thought I was).

Back when people listened to the radio all the time, you couldn't get away from certain summer songs -- they were everywhere and they served as an unconscious soundtrack to the time. (This isn't a post about that, but if you want one, Charley Sommers at Throck Manash posted his a few months ago.)

Rather than dwelling on songs from this summer (or the best summer sons of all time), I decided to make a list of my favorite songs that have the word "Summer" in their titles.

5. The Lovin' Spoonful -- "Summer in the City"
An edgier sound (well, edgy's a relative term with the Lovin' Spoonful) that brings me back to growing up on the east coast with 90% humidity that makes you sweat through every last stitch of clothing.

My first apartment after college had no air conditioning and I remember one night coming home after work and finding the temperature inside was over 100 degrees. So naturally I sat in the tub for a long time listening to an oldies radio station (which played this song twice in the same hour).

4. B-52s -- "Summer of Love"
It might be hard to imagine now, but for a few shining moments, the B-52s were rock stars.

Or maybe they weren't rock stars, they were rock lobsters.

3. The Ataris -- "Boys of Summer"
The Ataris kick Don Henley's song up a notch, from the great So Long Astoria album.

Some would argue that changing the lyric "Deadhead sticker" to "Black Flag sticker" destroys the irony of the song, but I'd argue that just having that argument is (in itself) ironic.

2. Ben Folds Five -- "Where's Summer B"
(Sound is a bit tinny on this video) From the first Ben Folds Five album, a perfect amazing slice of power pop that emerged so fully formed and so completely out of touch with what was popular at the time.

A friend from work gave me a cassette tape of this when it first came out; she said she thought I'd really like it. Knowing her musical taste, I assumed it would suck and didn't listen to it for several months. When I finally listened, I didn't stop listening to it for several months after that. It's just that good. (And still sounds great today.)

1. Fountains of Wayne -- "It Must Be Summer"
(Again, sound's not great on the video, but you get the idea). From the great album Welcome Interstate Managers, a great example of the I'm-chasing-this-girl-and-she's-oblivious sub-genre of power pop.

Although, come to think of it, if you get rid of the I'm-chasing-this-girl-and-she's-oblivious sub-genre, half of rock 'n' roll would vanish into the ether.


Anonymous said...

What?!@ No "Hot Fun in the Summertime"?

Kinky Paprika said...

For some reason the Ben Folds tune reminds me of "Holland"-era Beach Boys.
Feel free to tell me I'm on crack.

Peter said...

My three favourite summer songs are:

Mungo Jerry - "In The Summertime" (1970) (YouTube)

Sherbet - "Summer Love" (1975) (YouTube)

The Sunrays - "I Live For The Sun" (1965) (YouTube)

And a slight correction: FoW's "It Must Be Summer" appears on 1999's Utopia Parkway (not Welcome Interstate Managers).

Love your blog, by the way.

Alex said...

Kinky, You may be on crack, but I can see it.

Peter, Excellent list. And you're right about Utopia Parkway. My bad.

Anonymous said...

Beach Boys - All Summer Long

Alex said...

How could I have overlooked the Beach Boys? D'oh!