DC9 at Night's Favorite Summer Songs

Categories: Commentary

Kim Deal in the video for "Cannonball"
The summer I bought The Breeders' Last Splash on cassette at the mall was the summer I dyed my hair with Kool-Aid, and woke up with ants on my pillow. It was the summer I lost my grandfather, though my mother swears that was him making our lights flicker every once in a while. It was the summer I split my lip open on a sprinkler head, after a trip down a Slip N Slide went awry. It was the summer before my sophomore year in high school, and I wanted to be Kim Deal.

I can remember all these little moments because of that album. I listened to it over and over, until the tape was literally worn out. "Saints" spells it out: "Summer is ready when you are." And while "Cannonball" was its big hit, and the song I associate with that summer, the whole album is near-perfect. I went back to it a few weeks ago, after not listening to it for a few years, and no matter how hard I tried to fight it, I still knew every word to every song. I could smell that Coppertone smell I associate with Florida summers, and taste the blood in my mouth.

More than any other season, summer has an elemental tie to memory and song, and with that in mind, a few of our DC9 writers shared their summer favorite tracks. Feel free to leave yours in the comments.

Yo La Tengo, "The Summer"
Always gets me thinking about how happy and sad I am when the summer ends. Glad that the heat will be ending, but sad about sending the kids back to school, this song perfectly fits my mood. From the great album Fakebook. - Darryl Smyers

Broncho, "Try Me Out Sometime"
You can almost feel the heat coming off Broncho singer Ryan Lindsey's yelps on this throwback punk song. It's worthy of being stuck in your head as you wait for the interior of your car to cool down. - Daniel Hopkins

Big Star, "Ballad of El Goodo"
In all fairness, all of Big Star's #1 Record is a summer album. It was recorded in the summer of '71 at Memphis' renowned Ardent Studios, and radiates that air of teenage boredom and longing. The harmonies on "Ballad of El Goodo" are especially devastating. - Audra Schroeder

Azealia Banks, "Jumanji"
I only have two real non-negotiable requirements when assigning "summer jam" status to a tune. First, it has to be new, because I like a new jam every season. Second, when I turn it up real loud in my car, I have to feel like I am in a music video. Enter Azealia Banks' "Jumanji," produced by Hudson Mohawke and Nick Hook, and a very good sign for her upcoming mixtape, Fantastic. The track is jittery and playful, and as a bonus, Banks' wordplay has potential to trickle into your seasonal vocab. I can vouch, "all my bitches bougie," especially once it hits 100 degrees, and all we want is the cabana boy with quickest access to some cold champagne. - Deb Doing Dallas

Beachwood Sparks, "Earl Jean"
"Earl Jean," taken from Beachwood Sparks' new album, The Tarnished Gold, is a mid-tempo song with a steely guitar that smears across the music page like the back of a hand wipes a soaked forehead. And I mean that in a good way. - Daniel Hopkins

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Summer 1988, working at the Jersey Shore and listening to Midnight Oil's Diesel and Dust on cassette.  I'm sure my roommates hated it by summer's end but I never tired of that gravely sound.

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