24 August 2006

songs of summer

Some of them hit the airwaves on the cusp of or during the summertime. With titles like "Summer in the City", references to the sky and sunny days, or simply embodying summer in three to four minutes, they translate the playfulness of the season, the sweltering days and the breezy nights, the dynamic laziness, the careful splurging, and the aimless drives. The others are not necessarily released in 2006 or even during June, July, or August, but they still echo the summers of my childhood and youth. In these ever so elusive months, summer is like an annual visitor that arrives without notice and then abruptly departs.

I've compiled a list of songs, in alphabetical order:

Alphaville - Forever Young
Though released two years before my birth year, (try to figure that out!) it celebrates youth and longevity and evokes sun and sand.

Aly & AJ - Chemicals React
Ignore sisters Alyson and Amanda Joy Michalka's Disney Channel ties and you get a really vocally-gifted duo. These girls sing very well and this song drifts you "out into the sea", while the tide is "pulling you in deeper." Cheesy but summery!

Anna Nalick - Catalyst
Subtly embedded in this song is California. Miss Nalick sings of LA lights and Frisco lights, reminding me of one too many summers spent in Southern California and of my trip to San Francisco last summer, which would've been repeated this summer as a last-minute thing. Fate had the final word.

Belle and Sebastian - Another Sunny Day
Hey, Swedes can bring in some light, too.

Bloc Party - Banquet
Kele Okereke (we have the same birthday!) and his crew are a talented lot, don't you think? I love Bloc Party and I tie this song very closely with summer, even though fire is the least bit of summer reference and SoCal didn't have a lot of wildfires this season! Anyway, go ahead and feast on this "Banquet."

The Boy Least Likely To - Faith
I think George Michael would be proud of, if not at least amused by this cover. The brilliant banjo and the soothing vocals are a cute twist on a late eighties anthem. This song cleverly tells a very interesting portion of my summer, and doesn't it take you to a field in Kentucky with a bunch of dancing, patchwork-wearing Midwestern folks?

Busta Rhymes ft. Kelis & Will.I.Am - I Love My Chick
Okay, so this is Busta's attempt at philogyny. It's a little rough around the edges and has rap and hip-hop's constants: objectification of women (refer to the original title) and sexual and drug references, but it's summer through and through.

Carla Bruni - Noyée
Donald Trump's ex, one of my favorite chanteuses, but an Italian gem all her own, sings about Casanovas and walnut trees. This is one former model who can sing!

Cary Brothers - Ride
This song screams, no, whispers a late afternoon drive down PCH with the top down and the sun gradually setting and shining benevolenty. Beautiful. Enough said.

Cassie - Me & U
You know this has been blaring on the radio stations all throughout summer. Cassie the half Pinay stunner, guys talking about the way she does what does. Go Pinay!

Christina Aguilera - Ain't No Other Man
She goes Back to Basics but sings way beyond basic. She's still got the voice and now has a more refined look and a jazzy, bluesy sound.

Dashboard Confessional - So Long, So Long
With a new album titled Dusk and Summer, Chris Carraba delivers once again. I know he's moved away from his trademark acoustic sound and a lot of people don't like that. I remember back in high school when I was positively obsessed over Dashboard Confessional and people answered, "What the **** is that?" whenever I told them about DC and emo. Emo didn't even have a look back then. It was all about the music. Anyway, I can't get over how good this song is! He sings something about a lifeguard stand (summer!), an ocean road (summer!), and the line "but just as summer’s hold is fleeting" (summer!). I also want to know who sings the background vocals. He made the song all that much better.

Fergie - London Bridge
Stacie Ferguson's foray into being a solo artist begins with a bang. Is "London Bridge" what I think it is? "Oh snap", (or "Oh sh*t") another mainstream summer release!

The Fray - How to Save a Life
You know how movies and television shows use background songs a lot, and I mean a lot? They did it to Liz Phair's "Why Can't I?" and to Michelle Branch's "Breathe". They showed no mercy upon this song, but I still love it!

Glassjaw - Ape Dos Mil
This has to be my rebel entry. The lyrics "You can bet when mid-October ends I'll still be ranting 'bout most early May" completely skip the summer months but who cares?

Gnarls Barkley - Gone Daddy Gone
I prefer this a million times over their obvious summer hit "Crazy". I must be crazy but again, I could care less.

Her Space Holiday - My Girlfriend's Boyfriend
I haven't gone insane over a violin ever since Avril's "I'm With You", and that song isn't even that great. "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend" sounds weirdly happy for a girlfriend-cheated-on-me-with-my-best-friend song, but that just adds more appeal to it.

Imogen Heap - Speeding Cars
This was on the last episode of The OC, an appropriate title for the cause of Marissa Cooper's death. You know what The OC's season finale means. That's right, a summer hiatus.

JoJo - Too Little Too Late
After two flops on the big screen, JoJo redeems herself with a certified summer song!

Justin Timberlake - SexyBack
The video's location makes me want to hop on a flight to Barcelona, roll with the pijos and learn Catalán. "SexyBack" was an acquired taste for me.

Kamikazee - Narda
I first heard this song back in March or April but I haven't grown tired of it. It makes me proud that a lot of Filipino bands are cranking out true OPM. Woot. A song about Narda (the limp teen) aka Darna (the superhero alter-ego)? You can't get any more Pinoy than that!

Kelis ft. Too Short - Bossy
Basically, Mrs Nas murdered her teeth, but I can't stop bopping to "diamonds in neck, di-diamond in my grill."

KT Tunstall - Suddenly I See
So You Think You Can Dance's answer to American Idol's overplayed "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter. But hey, KT's very talented. The British are coming!

Natasha Bedingfield - Unwritten
Never mind that it's been on every TV show imaginable (see The Fray above) and most recently as The Hills' opening credits song, "Unwritten" reeks of suntanning in Malibu and rollerblading in Venice Beach, no? The British are coming indeed.

Nelly Furtado ft. Timbaland - Promiscuous
Overplayed. Those radio stations killed it. Nelly Furtado has resorted to semi-rapping. Hey, that's okay, I embrace it anyway. When I look back, this song is basically summer of '06.

Nena - 99 Red Balloons
They float in the summer sky. Now pop every single one of them. Kidding. This song was released the same year as Alphaville's "Forever Young" and it has the same spirit, that upbeat big-haired cheeriness of the eighties. Don't you love it?

Ne-yo - Sexy Love
Sexy. Sexy. Sexy.

Paris Hilton - Stars are Blind
At the end of the day, after all the exhausted Gwen Stefani comparisons, this song is summer to to core. If you don't think the song is, then the music video definitely is.

Pitbull - Bojangles
Pitbull is awesome. Period.

Pussycat Dolls - Buttons
Did they really need Snoop to rap on this track? Come on. Lead Pussycat is half Pinay! Now where's the gasoline and matches so we could all work the floor like they do on the video?

RBD - Enséñame
I have to admit, Rebelde is one of my favorite shows. This is so Mia, Miguel, Roberta, Diego, Lupe and Giovanni romping in Cozumel, swimming with the dolphins and having dinners on the beach.

Regina Spektor - Fidelity and Summer in the City
An extraordinary vocalist with super catchy songs, Regina Spektor was my summer discovery. Applause, applause.

Rise Against - Swing Life Away
I wanted to include this song because it has that drinking-lemonade-on-the-porch-on-a-hot day feel. Yeah. Don't hate.

Scissor Sisters - Don't Feel Like Dancing
This group is just so much fun! They have a hint of Bee Gees and a sprinkle of Kylie. Included in their yet-to-be-released album Ta Dah! is this track, with a timid title but expectedly full of fun and energy.

No matter how much I curse summer for its onslaught of hellish temperatures and for being an inopportune season for layering, I appreciate it for its academically-absent carefreeness and its seemingly endless opportunities for celebration.

Summer. L'été. El verano. L'estate.

I'll cut the melodrama and let you listen for yourselves!

Posted by ilovesecondhandsmoke @ 11:43 PM