Sunday, July 18, 2010

My Perfect Summer Playlist

There are so many reasons to love summer and so many reasons to love a summer playlist (don’t even think about having a cookout without good music to set the tone!). There are some songs that become emblematic of a certain summer, but anyone could Google “summer songs” and make a playlist- that’s generic. One of the things that makes a playlist great is that it’s personal to the person who compiled it; everyone has songs are meaningful to just them.

A couple people have suggested that I compile “The Ultimate Summer Playlist”, and I have to admit that the first thing I did was search “summer” in my iTunes library. I did, in fact use some of those songs, but others that popped up had no real significance to me. On the other hand, there are some songs that I specifically associate with a particular summer that might not seem like they’re necessarily related to the season. I found that it was a fun exercise to think back to various summers and the songs that I remembered from them. What follows is my own personal summer song playlist, some of which would be applicable to any summer barbeque, others of which are meaningful mostly just to me, which is what makes it a great list! Bear with me on the explanations…

Summer Winds (Frank Sinatra) – 1965: Ironically, although this is the oldest song on the list (and I was not yet born in 1965), it’s the one that I heard most recently. Last weekend, my 14-year old son played in what might have been his last baseball game as his team battled to win 3rd place in their league. Between innings, on the very scratchy PA system, this song was being played. I’m sure you can imagine how much the 14-year old boys appreciated it.

Baker Street (Gerry Rafferty) – 1978: This is one that isn’t necessarily related to summer, but I can tell you for a fact that it was popular in the summer. When I hear this song I feel like I’m back at the pool when I was 10.

Somebody’s Baby (Jackson Brown) – 1982: I distinctly remember that this song was popular the summer after I was in 8th grade and I had my first boyfriend up at my family’s lake house (aww!). Somehow, the fact that the song is from the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack now makes the song and the situation seem inappropriate, but it didn’t feel that way then.

Cruel Summer (Bananarama) – 1983: This song finds my best friend and I shopping at Oakbrook mall and spending babysitting money on very preppy clothes.

Summertime (Kenny Chesney) – 2005: I am not a huge country fan, but I do love this song (not much more to it than that).

Crazy (Gnarls Barkley) – 2006: This was also not necessarily a “summer” song, although it was popular during the summer. We hosted a barbequed rib contest with four other couples. Being the music lover that I am, I also asked everyone to bring a 30 minute playlist so that we could vote on both the ribs and the music (I would highly recommend this combo, by the way). I believe four of the five couples had this song on their list.

All Summer Long (Kid Rock) – 2007: I have a special affinity for Michigan summers. My parents met on the small lake where both their families had summer cottages; my family, in turn, spent at least a week or two each summer up at that same lake (we still do!). To me, this song solidly nails the vibe up there- I can just picture a beach cookout. Leave it to Kid Rock to get the emotion just right.

I Gotta Feelin’ (Black Eyed Peas) – 2009: I spent the better part of last summer training to run the Chicago Marathon. As part of that training, I ran the Chicago Half Marathon at the beginning of September. This song was playing at the starting line, and it has such a great, upbeat sound that you couldn’t help but feel good about running 13.1 miles. Sadly, that feeling wore off shortly after the song was out of earshot.

California Gurls (Katy Perry) – 2010: I know, this song is new and we might all be completely sick of it in another month, but for now it still feels fun and summery!

My perfect summer playlist is not the same as yours or anyone else’s. Make your own- it’s like a happy, free therapy session because you are really only recalling good summer memories. Enjoy!

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