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Thursday Discussion: The Best Summer Songs

Posted by - 11:53 AM on 06/14/12
I’ve lived in Florida my entire life. That means that I have no real sense of when seasons begin and end, as our summer runs from basically March until October. Then we get something that we call "winter," which is usually a couple weeks of lows in the 50s when girls decide to break out furry boots, then we’re back on our way to the sweltering sunlight. This past week in Gainesville has seen some particularly brutal weather, so this week’s Thursday Discussion centers around the topic of summer songs.

Naturally, pop-punk music is associated with the summertime most. We look for songs that are fast-paced, full of hooks and easy to sing along to. But in an attempt to avoid a list that's just the best of a single genre, I wanted to choose some tracks that you also might play on slow, sticky summer nights or during rain showers, too. That being said, New Found Glory’s "My Friends Over You" is the song I most instantly identify with the season. Sticks and Stones just celebrated its tenth birthday, and there’s probably no better time to revisit that album than right now, during these endless hot days. To me, part of the younger generation who grew up with New Found Glory’s best albums in middle school during those crucial formative years, this is the song that I point to when people ask me what pop-punk music is. We shouldn’t overlook Yellowcard’s "Ocean Avenue," though. There’s still nary a time that I take the short, 20-minute drive from my mom’s house back home to Ft. Lauderdale beach without rolling the windows down and cranking this song up all the way.

Not everything on this playlist has to have distorted guitars. You can pretty much pick anything out of the Beach Boys’ catalog for a discussion like this, but I’ll choose "Surfin’ Safari," just edging out "Surfin’ U.S.A." Those guys wrote a lot of songs about surfing. You should include some version of "Summer In the City" – whether it’s the original by The Lovin’ Spoonful or the Butthole Surfers cover. While we’re on the topic of songs that actually have the word 'summer' in their title, I’ll happily include one of the first songs I ever knew all of the lyrics to, Bryan Adams' "Summer of '69." The guitar riff is great in any season, though.

Almost as synonymous with summertime as pop-punk is pure radio pop. Every playlist needs a little flavor of the month, so I’ll throw in everyone’s current favorite radio hit, Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe." And now I’m painstakingly deciding whether I should choose a Katy Perry tune or Maroon 5’s "Moves Like Jagger" – I’ll go with Perry’s "Teenage Dream." One of AP.net’s favorite bands is currently riding the radio charts as well, so although this doesn’t fall into the category of "pure radio pop," we can insert fun.’s "Some Nights" here. I came this close to picking "All The Pretty Girls," though.

We’re going to round this playlist out on a faster note, so I’m going to stick Bruce Springsteen's "She’s The One" in here. The track is easily the catchiest Springsteen song that isn’t on Born In the U.S.A., and it’s a perfect one for those aforementioned sticky, humid summer nights. I don’t want to go with the album version, though – specifically, I’m picking the live version from the Hammersmith Odeon concert in London in 1975. Just give it one spin and you’ll understand. Without making this too cheesy of a transition, my next choice is the latest single from The Gaslight Anthem, "45." This really only edges out "The Spirit of Jazz" or "The Backseat" because of timely relevance, but it’s obviously still a great summer song as it continues to perform well on rock radio. And my final pick isn’t too much of a shocker – Brand New’s "Soco Amaretto Lime" might get playtime from all of us year-round, but there’s something about listening to this song while you’re speeding along a pitch-black road when it’s 80 degrees at midnight that leaves it embedded in your heart forever.

Jump to the replies to leave your own choice summer songs, and check out the playlist I made in Spotify if you want to spin it yourself.
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 141
11:54 AM on 06/14/12
Thomas Nassiff
retired staff member
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12:03 PM on 06/14/12
I got a lion in my pocket I'm lying
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jdr277's Avatar
Im just gonna list some of the new albums I got that will rule my summer 2012
Vacationer - Gone
Rome - Dedications EP
Jukebox The Ghost - Safe Travels
Japandroids - Celebration Rock
Jack White - Blunderbuss
Neon Trees - Picture Show
fun. - Some Nights
Norah Jones - Little Broken Hearts (Dangermouse hooked this album up)
12:04 PM on 06/14/12
Alex DiVincenzo
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Some of my favorites:

Blink 182 - The Rock Show
New Found Glory - My Friends Over You
Four Year Strong - Wasting Time
Set Your Goals - Summer Jam
The Wonder Years - Summers in PA
Man Overboard - Love Your Friends, Die Laughing
The Ataris - The Boys of Summer
MxPx - Summer of 69
Mae - Summertime
Day at the Fair - Coda
Lanemeyer - What a Shitty Summer
Andrew W.K. - Party Hard
Patent Pending - These Pools Were Made For Hopping
12:06 PM on 06/14/12
Thomas Nassiff
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Rock and roll like Japandroids is just as good as anything else during this season, IMO.
12:06 PM on 06/14/12
Playfully witty sign-off
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PetitnaindesÎles's Avatar
12:06 PM on 06/14/12
Holly HoX!
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King Tuff - "bad Thing"
12:11 PM on 06/14/12
Airbud took my spot on the team
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floormaster925's Avatar
You sleep alone-hellogoodbye
time bomb- the format
partying is such sweet sorrow- every time i die
comeback kid- sleigh bells
...and Age of Adz by Sufjan Stevens in its entirety (but that always sounds good to me).
12:11 PM on 06/14/12
Steve Alcala
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This song just puts me in that happy, montagey mood summer brings.
12:14 PM on 06/14/12
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Acad08's Avatar
Summer songs...my favorite kind of songs!

Some of my favorites:

The Maine - Girls Do What They Want

The Friday Night Boys - Stuttering

New Found Glory - It's Been A Summer

The Dangerous Summer - Northern Lights (but really, the entire RFTS album as well)

The Rocket Summer - Circa '46
12:18 PM on 06/14/12
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12:20 PM on 06/14/12
Zack Zarrillo
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Now I want to watch The OC
12:22 PM on 06/14/12
Thomas Nassiff
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That Phantom Planet song was a staple of my ninth grade year. Didn't know it was on a TV show till years later.
12:23 PM on 06/14/12
Writer, Under the Gun Review
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tozborne's Avatar
Fireworks - The Wild Bunch

Yellowcard - Life of a Salesman / Back Home

New Found Glory - Understatement

Green Day - Westbound Sign

The Wonder Years - Summers in PA

Sum 41 - Makes No Difference

Big D and the Kids Table - Noise Complaint
12:23 PM on 06/14/12
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SomethingLikeTJ's Avatar
Going totally outside my comfort zone here, but if "Haven't Met You Yet" by Michael Buble doesn't put a skip in your step on a summer day, I don't know what could.

That being said, "Sticks and Stones," "Ocean Avenue," "Futures," and "So Long Astoria" are my go-to summer albums. Some new discoveries in Gregory Alan Isakov and Johan Orjansson are also proving to be perfect for mellow summer nights.

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