I have two music-related addictions: Discovering new artists and sharing the songs that I love with my friends. Since I love sharing music so much, I've decided to start a weekly post of some of my favorites, focusing on a new theme each week. Some you might already know, others you may not. This Sunday, it's my Top 10 Summer Songs.
I tend to associate certain songs and artists with certain seasons. Sometimes it depends on the style of music, sometimes it depends on when I first heard the song or artist, and sometimes a specific memory ties the song to the season. These are 10 songs that remind me of the summer, based a little bit on style and a little bit on memory.
1. Summer is Coming - Matt Pond PA, The Nature of Maps
(2004) "The porch light gives off small lit circles / How you could see nothing..." An anthem to summer, swimming, and confusing love. [download]
2. Chicago - Sufjan Stevens, Come On Feel the Illinois
(2005) "I drove to New York in a van with my friend / We slept in parking lots; I don't mind, I don't mind..." Sufjan has the perfect folksy-summer sound, and "Chicago" feels like the perfect opener for a summer roadtrip. [download]
3. Janglin - Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes, Up From Below
(2009) It's that song from that car commercial. Light and bouncy with a Beatles-y sound, this song sounds like summer to me. I saw these guys perform this live at a music festival last weekend, so I'll always connect it with summer memories. [download]
4. July! July! - The Decemberists, Castaways and Cutouts
(2002) A summer playlist is incomplete without at least one song named after the hottest month so far. [download]
5. Old Dirt Hill (Bring That Beat Back) - Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds, Live At Radio City
(2007) "Screaming, shouting, louder innocence / In the days when all we did would never end..." Bike rides, dirt hills, and childhood memories of first loves and first kisses. The sounds and smells of summer make it easy to reminisce about kid activities, and this song captures that essence perfectly. [download]
6. Sunset Soon Forgotten - Iron & Wine, Our Endless Numbered Days
(2004) "Be this sunset one for keeping / The junebug street sings low and lovely..." Quiet acoustics pair beautifully with the end of a long summer evening. [download]
7. Neutral Ground - Sea Wolf, Leaves in the River
(2007) "We turn onto our backs and see / A streak of light above the trees / Lying on a bed of leaves / Listening to each other breathe..." My dad and I used to watch meteor showers together when I was growing up, and the August Perseids put on one of the best shows of the year. This song captures the quiet existential mood of lying out on the grass in the early morning counting streaks of light in the warm air till dawn that I remember so well. [download]
8. Folding Chair - Regina Spektor, far
(2009) "Come and open up your folding chair next to me / My feet are buried in the sand and there's a breeze / There's a shadow, you can't see my eyes / And the sea is just a wetter version of the skies..." A sandy beach paradise as a metaphorical distraction from romantic pining and lonliness, paired with a light perky beat and lines about oceans and dolphins. [download]
9. Hey, Soul Sister - Train, Save Me, San Francisco
(2009) Apparently, this song was inspired by songwriter Pat Monahan's vision of the famed Burning Man festival that takes place every summer in the California desert. And it sounds so breezy and carefree, like discovering a summer love should be. [download]
10. First Song - Matt Pond PA, Last Light
(2007) "The thick of summer / Grasshop bring me songs from in the trees at dusk..." I first discovered this band in the summer of 2007, which is probably why most of their songs remind me of summer (in fact, the first song of theirs I ever heard is the first song on this list). Several of their songs have a similar mellow-acoustic-y feel. Their newest album, The Dark Leaves
, is probably my favorite and most summer-feeling-inspiring album they've released. [download]
Tune in next week for some international flavor with my 10 Favorite Songs by Japanese Artists.