Writers at WSOE share their song recommendations for summer. Whether it be new releases, classics, or something in between, these songs will get you ready for summer!
"Fight Test" - The Flaming Lips
If I had to pick one song to name the song of the summer, that honor would go to "Fight Test" by The Flaming Lips. The song comes off the early 2000s album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. The song is a psychedelic banger that infuses elements of folk, funk, rock, and a whole host of other genres, coming together to form a groovy track that you can jam out to on a nice walk through nature, on a lazy sunny day with your friends, or while cruising through town. The song's addicting hook and chorus will have you listening to it on repeat all summer long.
Music has the power to evoke feelings of nostalgia, warmth, and joy – the exact feelings I
associate with the season of Summer. One of my first musical memories was in the back of the family van on the way to the beach listening to The Beach Boys’ compilation record The Sounds of Summer. To this day, that album makes me feel like I’ve been transported to a place with sun and sand, where all the worries of school and work drift away. The following records are newer, but they have the same power to take me back to the beach, no matter where I am.
Calm Ya Farm – The Murlocs
This upcoming album will be the seventh studio record from the Australian outfit. For the
uninitiated, The Murlocs are a five-piece alternative rock style band that shares two of its
members with the better-known King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. Although not nearly as
intense or fast-paced as KGLW, The Murlocs retain the group’s musical ability and tight feel. As of writing this article, two singles from Calm Ya Farm have been released: “Initiative” and
“Undone and Unashamed”. These tracks are expansive, joyous, and just the right amount of
weird. Lead vocalist Ambrose Kenny-Smith puts on a high-pitched, rambling, yet somehow
pleasant tone that is perhaps evocative of R&B or gospel singers from decades past. The tracks are accompanied by bouncy acoustic guitars, wistful lap steel, and carefree percussion. The musical elements combine to give the impression of lounging by a pool on a day where it’s just too hot to move. Calm Ya Farm will be released on May 19 by ATO Records, and it’s one to look out for.
"Playing With Fire/Brian Wilson Is My Dad" – Breakup Shoes
I might be cheating by including two songs from this Arizona-based indie rock group, but I
couldn’t help myself. Both of these songs fit the summer aesthetic perfectly. The genius of these two tracks is that neither song takes itself too seriously – the lyrics poke fun at the conventions of summer flings and the desire to run away from it all with a newfound love. “Playing with Fire” tiptoes around the “something-more-than-friends” aspect of a budding relationship, while “Brian Wilson Is My Dad” holds a mirror up to The Beach Boys’ “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and examines the themes in a 21st century lens. Both tracks have a very typical indie surf-rock feel, with guitars, drums, and vocals all drenched in delightful reverb that evokes dreams of summer. Breakup Shoes also have an album coming out this year, but it doesn’t quite capture the summer aesthetic of their earlier work.
"Join the Club" – Beach Fuzz
Is it too obvious to include a band with the word “beach” in the name? Either way, “Join the
Club” by indie rock group Beach Fuzz is a great track that has all the hallmarks of a summer
classic. The guitars are springy and light, the vocals are pleasant and carefree, and the band
deviates from the genre slightly by including some distorted guitar lead lines and a great
keyboard part that accentuates the other instrumentation on the track. This song is a few years old, but it has aged gracefully to my ears. If you like this track, you’ll probably enjoy the rest of Beach Fuzz’s discography too, as they do summer vibes very well.
"17 Again" - banzai florist
"17 Again" puts into words the finality of leaving your younger years behind, a concept that is often so hard to come to terms with. The song's emotions are complicated; the artists sing about still loving friends who aren’t your friends anymore and wishing you were a kid again. That doesn’t take away from the fact that this song sounds so good being blasted from your car with the windows down, and it encapsulates feelings that most graduates are feeling right around this time (myself included). It’s a song to reminisce and relate to all the other 20-somethings out there feeling the same things.
"Band On The Run" - Wings
Every summer I make a playlist to be the soundtrack for my summer. While last years had was pop-focused with hits from Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, and Olivia Rodrigo, this summer was more rock-focused with songs from Fleetwood Mac, Sublime, and Led Zeppelin. With that, I added "Band On The Run" by Wings. I absolutely love how this song changes shape through the first first half, before it finally reaches the melody. The song starts calm like a summer breeze, and then picks up and becomes a bit heavier, until it finally dissipates into catchy and upbeat tune. This song would make a long drive to the beach much more enjoyable.
"Meet Me in the Hallway" - Harry Styles
When I think of a "summer song" I typically think of it being upbeat, yet relaxing. "Meet Me in the Hallway" does not apply to this. The song feels dark and dreamy, with lyrics describing love, loss and drugs. The bass rhythm powers through the acoustic guitar, pulling the whole song together and giving it a psychedelic, soft-rock sound. So while the song might not match the vibe of a summer day, it's perfect for a summer night. In the Apple Music documentary "Harry Styles: Behind the Album," Harry is shown jumping into the waters of Jamaica at night while this song plays in the background. This imagery perfectly embodies the vibe of this song.
Honorable Mentions: "Could You Be Loved" - Bob Marley & The Wailers, "This Head I Hold" - Electric Guest
"California Gurls" - Katy Perry
I think that "California Gurls" by Katy Perry is a song of the summer that has remained high on summer playlists since 2010. The song is upbeat and uses fun, summer related words which gets its listeners in the right mood to go outside and get some sunlight. For kids (or not so kids anymore) who grew up in the 2000s, this song is not only a timeless bop but also a fun childhood memory!
"DOGTOOTH"- Tyler, The Creator
Tyler, The Creator recently dropped Call Me If You Get Lost: The Estate Sale album, releasing songs he left off the original album, and I’m so glad he did. "DOGTOOTH" is a classic Tyler song, with the same style and rhythm that always hits. It’s a great song to play driving with the windows down, if you don’t mind passersby hearing about how he gives women head. Go give it a listen!