Nights get longer, days get hotter, and possibilities seem to be just around the corner as our moods lift with the summer vibes. And, of course, nothing goes better with that feeling than the right tune. Looking back over the last decade, we bring you some of our favourite songs that have accompanied warm days and nights, setting the right mood for the brightest season of them all.
Rhye is no emerging talent anymore, but they certainly were a refreshing discovery back in 2013, which is when we first heard the tunes of this L.A.-based duo and became instantly hypnotized by them. The combination of Michael Milosh’s voice and the R&B tunes behind it brought about an appealingly mellow album that we must have heard a zillion times by now. “One of Those Summer Days” was one of the songs we turned to the most four years ago and it helped replace the “Oh Lonesome Me mood” — Don Gibson’s song that was featured in the famous classic 1989 comedy Let It Ride — with a comfortably nostalgic, yet uplifting feeling.
It was in 2012 that we first heard “Lord Knows Best” when Taiwanese-born Canadian musician Alex Zhang Hungtai still wasn’t a major success and went by the name of Dirty Beaches. This song, featured in the album Badlands — yes, just like Terrence Malick’s cult film — immediately made us think we were in a barely illuminated bar witnessing a spellbinding live performance instead of behind a fan in some warm apartment. For some reason, maybe because we played it over and over during July, “Lord Knows Best” became the perfect tune to go with a romantic and unforgettable summer.
In a more country spirit, one of our favorites in 2011 was Caitlin Rose, whose Own Side Now album, which went relatively unnoticed, in spite of having been included in a Rough Trade compilation, featured some summer-perfect songs, especially if it represented a moment of starting over. “Own Side” was the one song from the album we liked the most, and although the lyrics were not necessarily merry, they did refer to refreshing new beginnings. Going even further back, in 2008, Department of Eagles’ In Ear Park album was in our playlist from June all the way to September. From this band’s second album, we danced to “No One Does it Like You” and went to sleep listening to “Balmy Night”.
We must acknowledge that between these classic summer tunes, we would also pop up in our playlists as we walked around a hot city or sat back looking at the sea. These have included — and still do — “Summertime” (both Ella Fitzgerald’s and Janis Joplin’s versions) and Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day”, along will other all-time favorites.
This year, we’re still on the hunt for what could become our summer song, but we have a few tunes on our mind, some of which we have already been reviewed over the past weeks at Ear to Ground. Looking back, we seem to have filled our summers with comforting nostalgia and sometimes merry songs. In the end, that is what this season is all about — an ending as something different is on its way — and each year certainly brings a new story along with at least one great tune.
*This is special content provided specifically for our site. The musical tastes, while good, do not necessarily represent favorites of Greg or Matt. We appreciate the guest editors views though, however misguided.