Summertime in the Bay Area is one of the best moments of the year. You can roll your windows down, drive lazily through the streets until sunset or chill out under the summer breeze at one of the Bay’s many outdoor parks. After the long three-day weekend, May has suddenly turned into June and summer is in full effect.
So whether you’re looking for something to fuel you through a hard day’s commute or are planning a weekend getaway, there’s no better way to welcome the summer than to have the right soundtrack to set the mood. These summer tunes are for those moments you just want to chill out, relax and enjoy the ride–what summer is all about! Get ready to take a trip down memory lane, because you can bet the nostalgia runs high on this trip.
1. “Catch & Release (Deepend Remix)” by Matt Simons
“Catch & Release” is an infectiously catchy song by singer-songwriter Matt Simons. He sings of a secret internal place where he finds his element and remembers how to love–something or someone. The original version of this song was released in September 2014 but had mainstream success when Dutch DJs Deepend remixed it in 2015. It’s definitely secured a solid spot in our playlist to be the backdrop for all of those easygoing, carefree summer moments of 2016.
2. “Wedding Budz” by Kurt Vile
Kurt Vile screams summertime with his laid-back, fingerstyle-driven acoustics and introspective songwriting. Any first-time listener will be transported into a state of tranquility with Vile’s prolific discography. “Wedding Budz” from 2013’s Walkin’ On A Pretty Daze features Vile’s lo-fi synths and washed out guitars with a toe-tapping rhythm, making it the perfect instrumental accompaniment to any summer drive.
3. “Something To Believe In” by Tall Tales and the Silver Lining
There’s something to be said about a lesser-known band delivering simple, well-crafted songwriting that puts a smile on your face. Tall Tales hails from Los Angeles and their sunshine-y indie folk tunes are reminiscent of sunny 1970s California. “Something to Believe In” off of their 2015 album Tightropes is an easy-going tune full of upbeat synths and rhythm guitars that is both refreshing and heartwarming to the mind, body and soul.
4. “Learn To Fly” by Foo Fighters
There are those songs you hear on the radio and are instantly brought into a place of ease and comfort. Foo Fighters’ classic 1999 single “Learn To Fly” is one of those songs. This takes me back to those lazy, hazy days of summer driving down the California coastline without a worry in the world. It reminds me to break away and live, “looking for a complication” just to try and “make this life my own”–something we all ought to do.
5. “Wicked Game” by James Vincent McMorrow
This modern take on Chris Isaak’s 1989 hit “Wicked Game” has been taking over the Game of Thrones-fanverse ever since it premiered in the 2016 season trailer in March of this year. Irish singer-songwriter James Vincent McMorrow has broken from obscurity since then and managed to recreate Isaak’s tune into an incredibly gritty, heartbreaking and raw love song that modern audiences have been enchanted by. Add it to your summer playlist and feel the “Wicked Game” all summer long. It’s one of the best and most haunting renditions I’ve heard thus far.
6. “Snow (Hey Oh)” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
One of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ best songs, “Snow (Hey Oh)” is a song about realizing your misfortunes and coming clean. The band’s classic funk-rock style and soft, melancholic writing make this song from 2006’s Stadium Arcadium a classic. As the summer tends to be a time where our work and school weeks come to a temporary end, this song is the perfect reminder to look within, wash over and come clean.
7. “You Get What You Give” by New Radicals
Quite possibly one of the most iconic yet forgotten songs of the 90s, “You Get What You Give” was late 90s band New Radicals’ groundbreaking debut single from 1998’s Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too. Songwriter and frontman Gregg Alexander encourages dreamers in the song to “don’t give up” and that “you get what you give”– a statement he soon presses on as he points out the oppression and corruption by the bigger forces towards the end. Probably one of the most optimistic and uplifting songs I have heard, Alexander’s modern rock and blue-eyed-soul style is timeless and comforting for those late summer night drives.
8. “Road To Nowhere” Talking Heads
The anthem to anyone’s trip anywhere, this 1985 Talking Heads classic “Road To Nowhere” takes a triumphant look at the road we all take in life. The galloping drumbeats and gospel choir drive the song forward, mimicking our own movement in life. It celebrates our existence and reminds us to enjoy the journey to “nowhere,” for it’s the journey instead of the destination that really counts.
9. “Can’t Stop The Feeling!” by Justin Timberlake
Probably THE song of the summer and of 2016, Justin Timberlake’s new hit single “Can’t Stop The Feeling!” from DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls has already reached No. 1 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 list. This is one of those infectious, feel-good songs that is all about having a good time–something you can’t go wrong with on your summer getaway. We “can’t stop the feeling” that this is a good one!
Whatever you’ve got planned this summer–a trip to nowhere or finding something new to believe in–I hope these songs can help you power through your day. Summer is all about plugging out and taking it easy, so we might as well have the right tunes to match.
What songs put you in the summer mood?
This article was featured on KFOG.com.