Scene’s Selections: Summer Songs
The sun is out, birds are chirping and flowers are blossoming. Summer is coming. Here are some of Scene’s favorite summer songs to keep your spirits high through finals.
Bonny Doon — “Summertime Friends”
By Erin McAuliffe
As college students, a lot of us live in different places throughout the year: campus, home, different cities for internships. With this lifestyle, returning home or back to a city reunites us with summertime friends. “Summertime Friends” is a track that explores the expendability of seasonal, place-based relationships and manages to make it sound more cotton candy-melty than melancholy.
Bonny Doon is a band out of Detroit, but their music sounds like it belongs in a lush, sleepy beach town, fittingly, as Bonny Doon is a place in California. The lyrics in this specific track are simple — simple lyrics for a simple time. It may be weird to soundtrack your summer to lyrics like “One day I’ll disappear / I’ll buy you a beer,” but the surfy strumming and lackadaisical crooning will relieve any existential relationship worries.
LEN — “Steal My Sunshine”
By Adam Ramos
Marc and Sharon Costanzo’s amorphous ska, hip-hop and electronic project LEN had but one major hit, 1999’s “Steal My Sunshine” — but what a hit it is. Every year, as quads across America begin to fill with frisbee clad students and the first beach tags of the season get sold, “Steal My Sunshine” always seems to rear it’s beautiful little summery head. And it’s no wonder, with it’s light back-and-forth piano/guitar hook and metronome-like drum loop, the track walks a delicate balance between catchy 90’s bubblegum pop and an actually well put together hip-hop song. Think Beastie Boys or Biz Markie meet Aqua’s “Barbie Girl.” Interludes consisting of giggling and discussions on whether Mark “likes buttertarts,” or what exactly the disheveled Sharon “got up to last night” come and go like the ocean breeze, affectingly capturing summer’s playful mischievousness. The result is a fun and (almost) never annoying hit that makes a great addition to any summer playlist.
The Chills — “Double Summer”
By Mike Donovan
Summertime invites us to a place of immediate happiness. The hospitable air wipes away our responsibilities and lets us pursue temporary pleasures. Chief among these joys is the summer fling — three or four months of exuberant infatuation followed by an abrupt end. But, like July’s warmth will fade, we can’t live in a fling forever.
The Chills remind us not to despair because we can, and should, double down on the good stuff while the leaves are green and the sun shines. Temporality, they say, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Even though, off in the distance, we may “hear distant thunder / troubles bubbling under,” the summertime calls us to “look at her with one single sheaf of color.” The band’s jangly guitars and pristine harmonies gallivant to the natural rhythms of this “single sheaf of color,” and we’d be fools not to shamble along with it.
If we turn our eyes from the present, fail to recognize the summer for the gift that it is, then we’ll find ourselves questioning — “Will she stay and share some double summer?” — the answer to which we know all too well.
Big Boi — “Shineblockas” and new singles
By Owen Lane
The warm weather is arriving, plants are blooming, I can’t stop fluids from coming out of my face, and… wha… what’s this? Two new singles from Big Boi? Outkast’s too oft forgotten son has returned with the singles “Mic Jack (feat. Adam Levine)” and “Kill Jill (feat. Killer Mike and Jeezy)”. And lo, these tracks are good. But don’t forget, Antwan Patton has been a king of summertime hip-hop jams ever since his days with André 3000 in the untouchable duo OutKast. Big Boi’s immense talent became legendary when he released his fantastic solo debut “Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty”. It is not even May yet and I already know that this record is going to be one of the classics I have on rotation for the next few months. Throw on “Shine Blockas” and let the yin and yang team of Big Boi and Gucci Mane take you away to their happy place. The bars are top notch, the production is joyful, and the message will keep you plugging through those tough, hot summer days. No matter the setting, you can’t go wrong with “Shine Blockas” or any track off “Lucious.” Play them at darties, play them in your car (window down, of course), or even bump it at a family barbeque. Hopefully, come June, Big Boi will deliver another classic in “Boomiverse.” Until then, the grin-inducing, celebratory rap on “Lucious Left Foot” and Big Boi’s new singles should be more than enough.
MGMT — “Time To Pretend”
By Jack Riedy
We can call it iconic at this point, right? Hearing that opening synth melody feels like emerging from a cocoon. No wonder the duo compared it to “the wings of an insect.” One of my earliest memories of discovery, that high so prized by music nerds, was hearing this song take flight with a titanic drum fill. Never mind that I probably heard it on the radio. The build and release structure is proto-EDM, but the winking lyrics are more dorm room than warehouse. The boys of MGMT fantasize about archetypal rockstar hedonism, decades removed from Mick and Keith in the south of France. I fantasized about being in a band like MGMT, nearly a decade away from a legal drink. The song begins with “I’m feeling rough, I’m feeling raw, I’m in the prime of my life.” There’s nothing better to yell out a car window, even when none of it’s true.