It is not officially summer until every media outlet with the capability to play music starts playing summertime jams (even if it is weeks before the actual summer solstice). Forget summer movies, summer barbeques, summer fashions, even forget summer weather – until songs with the words “summer”, “hot”, “sunny”, or “heat” are played on a continuous loop, it ain’t summer. And even though you love rocking along to songs that rep the best time of the year, deep down in your heart if you never heard those great songs again you’d be fine.
Now, we are not talking about the worst summer songs. Anyone and everyone knows that Katrina and the Waves’ “Walking on Sunshine” or LFO’s “Summer Girls” should never be enjoyed at ay time of any year under any circumstances. Nor are we talking about songs that came out during the summer months but have no reference to the time of year. We are talking about those summer jams that are specifically summer oriented in lyric and/or feel. These are the summer tunes that you loved when you were younger, you love them even now, but if they disappeared into the ether you would be totally okay with it. *
[* “Summer Bunnies” by R. Kelly is the one summertime song exception. This song should be played every summer, all summer long. You could even play it during the Christmas holiday and it still would be acceptable. Why? Because R. Kelly is cray cray and everything he does is filled with cray cray brilliance.]
“Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince: This seems to be the first song that all radio stations (terrestrial and satellite) play at the start of the summer. And it is definitely a good intro to this time of year, so good that there is no need to hear it for the rest of the season.
“Cruel Summer” by Bananarama : The saddest summer song in the bunch, yet it is so bouncy you can’t stop singing the hook. Only later do you realize that you’ve been singing “It’s a cruel (cruel) summer/Leaving me here on my own.” No one needs that grief during the warm weather months.
“Steal My Sunshine” by Len: This last-century tune is the epitome of lackadaisical. Just listening to it makes you want to quit your job and sit on a beat-up couch on your front porch and that’s just not good for the economy.
“Hot in Herre” by Nelly: You will hear this blasting from every car from now until Labor Day. Everyone who hears it will stop what he or she is doing and start dancing. Many people are horrible at dancing. Ergo, this song should not be played in the summer.
“Soak Up The Sun” by Sheryl Crow: Turn on the TV. Flip to any channel and wait for a commercial. (I know, just do it.) Odds are that you will hear this on one or several of the ads that come up. It’s like it was tailor made for selling every summer item from sunscreen to popsicles. I’m not even sure if it’s an actual song at this point.
“All Summer Long” by Kid Rock: Kid lifted samples from “Werewolves of London” and Sweet Home Alabama” for this one and the mashup evokes summer perfectly. Too perfectly, in fact. I spent much of my summer youth by a lake “sippin’ whiskey from a bottle” and “smoking strange things.” I want those days back and they are never coming back so screw Kid Rock for making me feel all nostalgic.
“Sunmer Nights” by John Travolta and Olivia Newton John: The oldest song in the list, it is almost a federal crime if you don’t know this song. Everyone knows it, everyone can sing along to it. Therefore, we never need to here it again.
“Summer” by Calvin Harris: This is the newest and most recent addition to the summer songs group and despite its popularity and awesome techno-lite dance beat, this tune needs to be boycotted because 1) it was released in March, 2) the title is too spot-on, and 3) Calvin Harris was born in Scotland and I’m pretty sure they don’t even have summer over there.