Friday, July 26, 2013

Staff Picks: Sounds of Summer

There are a few quintessential things that trigger memories of summer: smells (sunscreen, freshly cut grass, tomato plants, warm rain after a storm, watermelon, campfires), sights (fireworks, warm sunsets, pool or lake splashes, sandals, sunburns...), and sounds (thunderstorms, soft rain, motorcycles, bicycle chains & gears shifting, and, of course, music).  Here are some of our favorite sounds of summer if you're working on your road trip playlists for summer adventures!

(c) Cara Beth Stone

For me, nothing says “summer” more than a few familiar tunes. Every time I hear any of the following songs I’m immediately transported back to memories of warm temps, sunshine, and thunderstorms. Sometimes it’s just because I discovered a particular artist during the summer (usually resulting in me listening to their album nonstop in my car during road trips). Most of the time, however, it is because I heard the song while having a blast with friends during summer adventures. Here are a few, in no particular order:
I could go on forever, but if you’d like to hear all of these tunes together, check out this playlist.

Growing up (in the days before iTunes) my dad would make a summer soundtrack to take us across miles and miles of road trip fun. To this day there are certain songs that conjure memories of California coastline or the smell of sulfur in Yellowstone. Some of those songs are included in this list, others are new editions as I make my own memories with my children. Truthfully, my summer playlist isn't complete without a whole lot of country music. Nothing says summer like the sound of a guitar and the poetry of pick up trucks and broken hearts.

The summer playlists of my youth are kind of like Melissa's in that they involve a lot of things my parents listened to (The Limeliters, The Kingston Trio, John Denver, Johnny Cash, Roger Miller, James Taylor, Simon and Garfunkel etc.) But I do remember that summer music took on a whole new meaning when I could drive and therefore pick the music, and there are some artists that I listen to almost exclusively in the summer. Here are a few favorite songs for driving around with my teenage/college self. Of these, I have to say that I barely listen to Vampire Weekend, Panic at the Disco, or Mika the rest of the year, but I listen to them ALL SUMMER LONG. They are just happy pop fantastic, and as soon as I can roll the windows down, I start feeling like listening to them. (Disclosure - I linked to videos where you can listen to these on Youtube, but didn't watch the videos all the way through once I was sure it was a good verson of the song, so don't yell at me if the videos are randomly offensive.)

Is it weird if my contribution to this list is an audiobook? Because I honestly can't think of any songs that I really associate with summer, and it was actually a thing this past year that every time I walk around Orem, Utah, it makes me remember last summer when I was listening to all the Harry Potter audiobooks while running. Even before I listened to the audio, I always associated Harry Potter with summer; the books always start out at the end of summer, and summer is when I always start feeling the itch to reread them. Listening to the audiobooks was a whole new Harry Potter experience, and now it is associated with summer, too.

Before summer starts, I get the hankering for new music.  That's usually when I splurge and buy a few CDs to carry me through till Fall.  Summer usually means popular music.  I've been known to buy a CD or two and just listen to them over and over.  My first summer CD (once I made it past listening to Disney songs on tapes with my mom) was Semisonic.  Other favorites were Maroon 5, Rooney, Weezer, and Vampire Weekend.  Of course, there's always some Top 40 and 80s songs thrown in there.  Here's what I've been addicted to this summer. Warning: I'm real random.
  • My Name is Jonas by Weezer
  • Surf Wax America by Weezer
  • I Love It by Icona Pop
  • Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus
  • Stickshifts and Safetybelts by Cake
  • Sister Christian by Night Ranger
  • You and I by Ingrid Michaelson
  • Wouldn't It Be Nice by The Beach Boys
  • Give Your Heart A Break by Demi Lovato
  • Anything Could Happen by Ellie Golden
  • Bulletproof by La Roux
  • Big Parade by The Lumineers
  • Love Somebody by Maroon 5
  • Come & Get It by Selena Gomez
  • A-Punk by Vampire Weekend
  • Just What I Needed by The Cars
Yeah.  I just wrote this all out and realized there are too many former Disney Channel starts on this list for a 30-year-old woman. But I don't care. I love it.

I love to roll down the windows in the car, turn up the bass, and blast some musicals or movie soundtracks. I bet all the punk rockers and rappers think it's pretty lame, but I'm having fun and that's what matters! I love to sing along to Newsies, That Thing You Do, Shrek, or Enchanted to name a few. For the cloudy and dark days I go more for Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, or Aida. It's fun to sing along and picture the scenes in my head.

I didn't get my drivers license until I was 19 and it had a few downsides (not being the captain of my own destiny wasn't that awesome) but it had some upsides, one of which was the fact that I always had company when I was in the car. Most of this company came in the form of my friends and we always had music playing. I can't remember what we listened to specifically, but the songs we enjoyed the most were the ones that made you giddy when you sang them at the top of your lungs. These songs bring back a little of that feeling (regardless of how trashy the song may be--I'm looking at you Miley Cyrus!):
  • Are You Gonna Be My Girl by Jet
  • Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus
  • Island in the Sun by Weezer
  • Everything by Michael Buble
  • Cave In by Owl City
  • Rhythm of Love by Plain White T's

My dad is a road trip fiend. He always has been. In fact, he already has the entire first year of his life post-retirement planned out and that plan involves an RV and a cross-country road trip. From the earliest days of our family we have been epic road trippers (think: a three-day, non-stop drive from Mexico City to my grandma's house in Utah) and, like many families, most of those road trips happened during summer break. For years, our go-to soundtrack on these summertime adventures were a series of cassette tapes called "Cruisin' Classics." We have longs since lost the actual tapes and I have had to work hard to try and recreate them in playlist form (my parents and sisters and I aren't known for have great memories). We still have a long way to go before we have them all, but what we have so far still makes me want to hop in the car and drive!
  • He's So Fine by The Chiffon's
  • Crocodile Rock by Elton John
  • My Girl by The Temptations
  • That'll be the Day by Buddy Holly
  • Travelin' Man by Ricky Nelson
  • Great Balls of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis (fun fact: for years I thought that Elvis sang this song and I was utterly crushed when I found out it was him singin. CRUSHED, people!)
  • Uptown Girl by Billy Joel
  • Fishin' in the Dark by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
  • Roasanna by Toto
  • Sherry by The Four Seasons
  • Your Mama Don't Dance by Loggins and Messina
  • Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Barry
  • Don't Stop by Fleetwood Mac
  • All I Have to do is Dream by The Everly Brothers
  • Blueberry Hill by Fats Domino
P.S. If there are any other Cruisin' Classics fans out there who can remember more songs, by all means- send them my way!

What are you listening to this summer?

No comments: