As temperatures rise and the days grow longer, there’s only one thing we know for sure: summer is around the corner. And with increasing vaccinations and lower COVID restrictions, maybe, just maybe, we can have a “normal” summer worth remembering.
Seasonal ice cream parlors reopen their doors. Bug spray sales rise to an insurmountable degree. Lawn chairs begin to line up in every yard. Drive-ins become the yearly nighttime hangout spot. Bike rides. Picnics. Vacations. Cookouts. What do all of these activities require?
A kickass playlist, that’s what. Because nothing beats a soundtrack that makes you feel like the main character of a classic summer film. And if that film is like Wet Hot American Summer, well that’s none of my business.
For May, I’ve come up with five red-hot tracks that are perfect for combating that daytime humidity. Take a listen, and bask in the life of leisure… and air-conditioning.
5. “Dominoes” – Secondhand Sound
I’ve had the privilege of watching Secondhand Sound grow for a few years now, and as per usual, they’ve raised the bar with their latest single “Dominoes” – a free-spirited ode to Nashville summer nights. Like a cloudless sky painted in muted pastels fading into a dark, panoramic scene of shining lights, the track is young-hearted at its best, with fuzzy guitar revs and crashing cymbals driving it forward to a glorious look-out – one that no picture can do justice. A head-banger’s delight, you’ll definitely feel the urge to sing along to this one, as it exudes a life absent of one’s typical BS. Just you and the moon.
4. “Tough Enough” – Kaley Rutledge
As her first song separates from her artist name De Joie, Kaley Rutledge showcases a single that embodies a laid-back tanning session in the sun, dressed in brightly colored bathing suits, laying on oversized floaties, and sipping on ice-cold lemonade. “Tough Enough” is all about self-accepted resilience, refusing to play the game of change and instead, finding your voice above everyone else. With unapologetic ease, Rutledge’s voice is like a wade through a lazy river, exuding confidence amongst dream-like textures that resemble sunbeams filtering through your irises, eyes closed in reverie. And that’s what this season is all about.
3. “Coming Alive” – Shelby Elle
Few things encapsulate the sense of freedom gained by the weather warming and the ability to finally roll down those car windows, but Shelby Elle has the perfect song to fuel the adrenaline. “Coming Alive” combines vibrant, airy synths with driving guitar blends to create an electrifying powerhouse of a track sparkling in resonant endurance. As soon as the chorus hits, the draining responsibilities of everyday fades under the surface, leaving room for an overflow of liveliness and spirit. It’s quite literally impossible not to want to get up and dance to this song. Take my word for it. I tried.
2. “Villa” – Grace Lee
With the release of her 5-song EP Don’t Let Me Float Away, Grace Lee embodies a summer breeze through the trees, her voice like a ray of sunshine peeking out amongst the shade. Her song, “Villa” is the epitome of technicolor swimming pools and a bare-foot walk in the grass, made mesmerizing by a heavy, sultry beat and luscious guitars. Set in the midst of a birthday party, Lee contemplates her pace in life, trying to ease her anxieties over whether she’s accomplished enough and attempting to embrace a contented frame of mind. Lavished in a dreamy glow, this track sets the standard for a season spent on sunset beaches.
1. “Gone!” – Rightfield
Sun-kissed by reverb-soaked guitar riffs, atmospheric vocals, a groovy bass line and energetic drums, Rightfield’s track “Gone!” off their debut album Rightfield, One takes you on a scenic road trip down the coast. Hazy in a sweet escape infusion, the song blazes like a golden-hour glimmer, indulging in youthful abandon. I imagine this song to be playing in the background while a group of friends set off on a heat wave venture – wind-brushed hair held up by patterned bucket hats and aviator sunglasses, while sunscreen scented air mixes with the chill of ocean water mist. “Gone!” is exactly what you need for a summertime getaway.