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Songs of the Summer

We as a society are pretty attached to the idea of a theme song for each summer, as evidenced by the fact that every summer in recent memory has had its Big Song. (NYMag has some pretty obsessive coverage of the summer song phenomenon.) I’m not sure why we feel the need to attach a song to every summer; perhaps the increase in leisure time that summer often brings lends itself to listening to mindless pop music?

While there may be certain songs that topped the charts on any given summer, sometimes you have your own song for the summer. You’re probably sick of it by the time September rolls around, but if you give it a year or two (or ten) to mellow out, you can enjoy it for its nostalgia factor for years to come. I thought I’d share three of my summer songs, and please feel free to do the same!

Summer Girls, LFO

OK, this song was pretty blatantly grabbing for the “summer song” spot in summer 1999, and being a late teenager, I fell for it big time. My friends and I were old enough to have begun doing the delicate dance of “ironically” liking a song. As much as we professed to hate it, with its cheesy music video and insipid lyrics, we turned it up every time it came on the radio so we could hear it over the wind through the open windows.

Crazy in Love, Beyonce

I actually dislocated my knee dancing to this song at my friend’s August birthday party. Since this was 2003, she was turning 21 (do the math; we are old now). [Copyeditor’s note: Shut it, whippersnapper.-PoM] This was also my last college summer; less than a year later I’d be graduating and moving down to DC to start working. This was the summer of inconsequential summer jobs, road trips, barbecues, and finally going out as a group to all my small town’s bars. I actually loved my post-college years, and most of my 20s, but there’s something about this song that gives me a little pang as I remember that last summer of still effectively being a “kid.”

Sweet Escape, Gwen Stefani

This song was popular in spring-summer 2007, which was a time that I and Mr. McDoog did a lot of traveling. We went to two separate Floridian weddings in May of ’07, and this song was everywhere. I can’t hear this song without thinking about sangria, seafood, and lounging by the pool. This was also one of those songs that I disliked at first, but grew to love as it became increasingly attached to some great memories. Which, really, is the MO of any proper summer song; latching onto your emotions like a barnacle and never letting go.

Photo: Getty

4 replies on “Songs of the Summer”

Summer of 2006 – “Everytime We Touch” by Cascada. I can feel the sun on my hair when I hear that song. Really that whole album was full of songs that were my jams for that summer.

The Garden State soundtrack can have the same effect, and I didn’t even like some of those songs. It was unavoidable when I was in college in ’04 and ’05.

“Ocean Avenue” is a standout for ’04, as I can remember doing a brief road trip with my best friend listening to that song.

Last summer was all about the Gaga for me, most notably “Bad Romance,” “Telephone,” and my favorite, “Monster.” Oh yes, and Glee’s first season music. Can’t help it, I loves the pop music. I still have my boy band albums…and occasionally I still listen to them. I was in a musical theatre program in the summer of ’99 and the guys in the cast one day took it upon themselves to sing “I Want It That Way” in the choir room. ‘Twas awesome.

The summer in college when I found a song called “Summertime in the 509” (that’s the area code for Eastern Washington, where I lived at the time) was pretty epic, in terms of amazing mix CDs I made for the long drives I did across the state.

Other summer favorites: “Summertime” by the Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff, “Boys of Summer” all versions, “Cruel Summer” and all other Ace of Base, and for some reason I think Aqua is pretty summery group. Cheerful and poppy, I guess.

Disturbia – Rihanna and Lil Wayne’s song -Lollipop always bring me back to the summer of 2008 which was the first year at my apartment and thus the first summer spent lounging by the pool at said apartment. These two were always being played by someone at the pool. I can practically smell the chlorine and feel that sun anytime I hear either of these songs now.

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