Pretty much 90% of the spare time I have, I use to listen to music. I love it! Spotify happens to be my favourite app; it’s ideal if you’re like me and love curating different playlists depending on mood and season etc. As well, it contains so many wonderful ways to discover new stuff- a lot of the random songs I can’t stop replaying have been suggested through Spotify.
Last summer was when I really got into music and started developing different tastes and preferences. I realised what type of albums I kept going back to and which ones I might like to try next.
The summer months have an enormous effect on what I listen to. I go from blasting out the dark, cynical lyrics of Radiohead in the colder seasons, to warmer folk/acoustic styles like Bear’s Den and Angus & Julia Stone during the Summer. I’ve a very eclectic taste! Also, I have to say, I’m fairly stuck in the past when it comes to music. I like the old timers most of all, such as Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell.
Anyway, I created a little playlist with all the music that pops into my mind whenever the sun decides to come out. Below are the 20 songs that made the cut!
1. Home by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
“Laugh until we think we’ll die,
Barefoot on a summer night
Never could be sweeter than with you”
How can anybody not think of Summer when they hear this one?! It’s definitely going to be a timeless June/July/August anthem for me. And it sticks! Whenever I finish listening to it (probably after five or six repeats) I get the whistling sounds stuck in my head.
“For you, there’ll be no more crying.
For you, the sun will be shining.
And I feel that when I’m with you,
It’s alright, I know it’s right.”
This is probably the most stunning song ever written, in my opinion, and I’ll always listen to it! It definitely had to make its way into my Summer playlist. The melancholy yet hopeful lyrics fit so well with the feeling you get on Summer evenings, when it finally begins to darken.
“Oh, Ophelia, you’ve been on my mind girl since the flood
Oh, Ophelia, heaven help a fool who falls in love”
From the moment I first heard ‘Ho Hey’ five years ago, I just knew The Lumineers were going to be a band I followed. And they haven’t disappointed me yet. Their albums so far have been flawless. But this song stands out as particularly summery. I especially love the music video.
“Every time the sun comes up, I’m in trouble
People say I’m a one-hit wonder
But what happens when I have two?”
Sharon Van Etten is a genius and this song is amazing! She’s got such a humorous yet often quite sad way with words. I’m so thankful to have found her music. She’s probably my favourite female musician working today. She isn’t intimidated by the prospect of appearing vulnerable in her lyrics.
“Please see for me if her hair hangs long
If it rolls and flows all down her breast
Please see for me if her hair hangs long
For that’s the way I remember her best”
Two of the most brilliant old-time musicians coming together to sing this lovely song! What more could I ask for? I’m really protective over this one in the sense that I don’t think anybody else should sing it. These two were perfect. Any other version is going to fall short compared to this gem.
“Been worried about my babies, been worried about my wife
Just one place for a man to be when he’s worried about his life
I’m going home, hey hey hey, over the hill”
Living incredibly close to so much greenery- all kinds of hills and mountains – for some reason this song just encapsulates all of that. Whenever I hear it, which is often considering I listen to Martyn’s records A LOT, I always think of a camping site in Braithwaite I stayed at for a night last year. I was going through a big John Martyn phase and wouldn’t stop playing his songs by the tent. This one especially.
“You have suffered enough
And warred with yourself
It’s time that you won
Take this sinking boat and point it home
We’ve still got time”
Every single person should listen to this song. It’s one of the very, very best and I have to say I probably listen to it at least three or four times a week. Without a shadow of a doubt it’s one of my all-time favourites. There’s not much to say about it other than how lovely it is. (I think it’s a massive shame Glen Hansard isn’t known by everybody. He’s one of the greatest singer-songwriters to have ever existed- and more people should know who he is. He’s the definition of under-rated.)
“Depth over distance was all I asked of you
And everybody round here’s acting like a stone
Still there’s things I’d do, darling, I’d go blind for you”
It wouldn’t be a Summer playlist if I didn’t include this musician and this song in particular. Even when I listen to it mid-winter, I’m brought back to warm air and cool drinks. It’s not necessarily upbeat but there’s a really soft, bright vibe to it. I used to play it through constantly last June/July. As well as that, I would watch every live version I could possibly find on YouTube because I loved the part about five or so minutes in when he started singing so loud his voice cracked.
“I’m saving up
To take a trip to Mexico
I heard it’s the place to go
Oh I want to see the colours of another sky”
These three are perhaps the most talented sisters alive. Their harmonies are breathtaking. I remember discovering their music through the documentary Austin to Boston on Netflix. It’s about a group of musicians touring the United States. It exposed me to The Staves for the first time. I haven’t stopped listening to them since. This track is ideal for lazy Summer days when you don’t really want to move from the garden.
“Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right”
This should be on every Summer playlist for obvious reasons. I chose George Harrison’s rendition (and it was a close call; I almost went for Nina Simone, whom I adore) as I have a huge soft spot for him and could watch him perform for hours on a loop.
“Be my lover, my lady river
Can I take ya, take ya higher
Gonna take her for a ride on a big jet plane”
I think these two siblings deserve a place among everybody’s Summer favourites. There were a number of songs I could have chosen from any of their albums- they seem to capture the Summer feeling exceptionally well. In the end though, Big Jet Plane proves the most appropriate. It’s simple and hazy yet still so memorable.
“We’re all broke down
We’re all well hid
We’re all just kids
Despite our age”
Another discovery through the Netflix doc- Austin to Boston. The passion he always performs with blows me away. I’d kill to see him live one day. You can tell from the documentary he’s just so authentic in his love of music. Definitely a really intense and fierce song. I can’t quite explain why it reminds me of Summer, it simply has that folky edge to it. I can imagine hearing this while being at a really muddy, quirky mid-Summer festival, surrounded by fields, birds, and oceans.
“Love, it will not betray you
Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free
Be more like the man you were made to be”
Last year, around July, I read Jack Kerouac’s On The Road for the first time. It changed the way I look at literature and I quickly became obsessed with the story. I watched the film adaption shortly after I read the book and was equally as impressed with that. This Mumford and Sons song is often attributed to On The Road. In fact, Mumford and Sons might have been inspired by Kerouac, I’m not sure. They’ve wrote songs inspired by great American authors in the past, such as Steinbeck. Anyway, Sigh No More highlights the message of On The Road which is to basically live as brightly and brilliantly as possible.
“I heard from someone you’re still pretty
And then they went on to say
That the pearly gates had some eloquent graffiti
Like we’ll meet again and fuck the man
And tell my mother not to worry”
What a song!
Actually, I don’t even look at this as a song. More like a masterpiece. It’s close to ten minutes long but you become so engrossed in the gorgeous lyrics that you don’t even realise. It tells a story. The humming and the bells create this gentle, mellow atmosphere that makes me immediately think about the last few days of Summer. Yes it’s quite a sad one, but nonetheless- purely mesmerising.
“And the story’s all over you
In the morning I’ll call you
Can’t you find a clue when your eyes are all painted Sinatra blue”
I can recall the exact moment I first heard this song. It was late June and I was listening in bed to Bon Iver’s first album. Then, this song started playing. I checked instantly to see what it was called. I knew from the first verse it would become important to me. Ever since it’s been one I always go back to. It’s somehow harrowing but at the same time a cosy climate manages to form. You can almost picture a barn in late August as a heavy Summer rain descends upon it.
“Oh, I’ve been worryin’ that my time is a little unclear
I’ve been worryin’ that I’m losing the ones I hold dear
I’ve been worryin’ that we all live our lives in the confines of fear”
I could easily put all of the songs from his first album and early EP’s on here, but I won’t. The Fear has stuck with me for years. I think I was 12 when it first came out. I kind of forgot completely about it until last year. I fell back in love with this song. Even if you don’t think you know it, give it a listen and you’ll probably remember the chorus. There is a specific sentence which never fails to make me stop and think – “I’ve been worryin’ that we all live our lives in the confines of fear.”
It’s a fairly deep piece of music. Nevertheless, the melody makes it an instant Summer classic. Thoughtful AND a good one to sing along to.
“I had all and then most of you
Some and now none of you
Take me back to the night we met”
This song was made famous by the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why, I think. I haven’t seen it yet (I’m always very late on the bandwagon) but the beauty of this song makes me eager to do a binge watch to catch up with the hype. It’s insanely pretty. The alluring melody and simplistic yet touching lyrics make for a piece of music I put on repeat, repeat, repeat. I’ve been listening to Lord Huron for years; this is his best piece yet!
“Because I’m still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I’m still in love with you
On this harvest moon”
Neil Young literally will never get old. I think everybody who is familiar with his music feels the same from what I’ve read. He’s basically timeless, and a musical legend. Harvest Moon feels like being in a wooden cabin, clouds are just starting to block the sun as dusk arrives. Addictive, to say the least.
“Oh the weeds and larger leaves sway
And stretch themselves beneath
Blue dragonflies dart to and fro
I tie my life to your balloon and let it go”
I can’t believe I almost forgot about this song. Everything about it resonates with Summer. The delicate, basic tune is so appealing to listen to and the lyrics accurately sum up the simple joys of a warm day.
“Ég lamdi eins fast og ég get
með nefinu mínu
Hoppa í poll
Í engum stígvélum”
(It’s not an English song!)
Pretty sure I saved the best until last… this song is iconic! For Summer times, but also for all times. Written in a part-Icelandic, part made-up language, Hoppípolla is literally breathtaking. You’ll probably recognise the tune because it’s often played in the back of film scenes etc. But it’s only when you put your earphones in and appreciate it on its own that the song truly affects you. In terms of relating it to Summer, I think it captures what a Summer’s day feels like for a child. Whether adventuring through long grass with friends, going on bike rides, or having net-fishing competitions, the inspiring music summarises how those Summer days can make you feel like you’re on top of the world.
You can find this playlist on my Spotify -https://open.spotify.com/user/kaylenforsyth13/playlist/5SpjWodoY1NCFc7qVIRnWZ