10 Songs To Help You Hold On To Summer

Happily or unhappily, we are back on campus for yet another academic semester. You might be wishing for sunburns or the scent of sunscreen, but unfortunately, the fluorescent lights of O’Malley library, papercuts and spilled coffee are now your new reality. Welcome back!

Look, I am not thrilled about these prospects either. However, there is one way we can get through this higher education nightmare together: through the power of music.

I bet you weren’t seeing that one coming.

To help you remember the better times of cold saltwater and sweltering summer days, I have compiled the major songs of my summer that best convey carefree times and the unexpected summer catastrophe of sand between your teeth. The intention of this playlist is not a selfish one – I merely want to share the wealth of pop music that is sun-stained and joyous.

Take some time this week to daydream of better, warmer times. You will find yourself desperately needing it now that syllabus week is officially over.

“Tenderness” by General Public, off of their record, All The Rage.

Yes, this is the song featured in the end credits of Clueless!, as my sister so helpfully pointed out to me early last June.

The impossibly upbeat nature of “Tenderness” by General Public makes this song a timeless classic. Between the opening “ha, ha, has!” and cheery piano, there is seriously nothing not to love about it. You will find yourself – even upon your first listen – kicking your feet up and skipping around your living space or campus (think of Molly Ringwald from The Breakfast Club). In short, if you need a quick auditory pick-me-up, this is the song to listen to.

Dave Wakeling has a wondrously warm – yet dark – voice that is inviting, nearly begging you to sing along with him. Do it – you won’t regret it.

“Mi Escriba” by El Último Vecino, off of their album, Voces.

I fell in love with El Último Vecino in the last half of the spring semester – and for good reason. Their dreamy guitar work and new wave-inspired bass lulls you into a trance, which is certainly influenced by the work of The Drums. However, do not let the comparisons distract you – they are doing something unique and awesome whilst calling back memories of sandy shores and sunglasses.

There is a certain desperation and longing in the voice of the lead singer. You will find yourself moaning along with his voice, even if you do not speak a word of Spanish.

Music is awesome in that kind of way.

“Flame” by Sundara Karma, off of their EP, “Flame.”

I love the brightness of the guitar melody in the beginning of “Flame.” It sets you up for perfectly for Oscar Lulu’s gritty, powerful voice.

“Flame” itself is a repetitious song in nature, but it is that same nature that beckons you back to its comforting sound again and again. It, interestingly enough, places emphasis on the vocals in each verse, as if to prepare you for the intense stomping and singing you will do during the pounding, swelling chorus. You wouldn't want to blow out your voice before singing, "Hold my flame / And set alight / Hold my fire / Screaming inside."

This track is powerful – there is no getting around that. Put it one right before you head to class in order to get pumped up. Frankly, you might be too thrilled to be in class after one listen.

Live your best life, man.

“The Less I Know The Better” by Tame Impala, off of their record, Currents.

Look, I know this album – let alone this track – has been out for a really long time. I am late to the game – I admit it. However, disregard how “old” this song actually is and just let yourself fall in love with the psychedelic grooviness that only Tame Impala could create.

It is no secret that I am a sucker for bass melodies – and this song is certainly one that puts one of my favorite things on display. Kevin Parker’s vocals are airy, mesmerizing, and despite the seemingly carefree attitude about them, are very emotionally-charged and perhaps angry.

Nod your heat to the beat and take note of the delicate, quiet guitar work in “The Less I Know The Better.” I can guarantee you that you will be listening to this song for days on end. It is that good.

“Sudden Emotion” by Public Access TV.

It is no mistake that I have placed Public Access TV and The Strokes so closely together. You heard it here first: Public Access TV is this decade’s The Strokes.

John Earthly’s voice sounds charmingly naïve – which, when paired with the lyric, “Got invited by / Got invited by the one she loves” is a lyrical work of art. He effortlessly conveys the childish sweetness of puppy love while simultaneously making it the most rock-and-roll thing you have ever heard of.

 “Sudden Emotion” truly comes to a climax in the chorus as Earthly’s coolly declares, “It’s all right / Sudden emotion!” It is a simple declaration of exactly that: emotion. The way in which Earthly roars into it drives home the suddenness of said emotion – and even beckons you to shout along with him in his declarative chorus.

Shout along with him; shake your hair to the beat. Let loose a little bit – summer isn’t over quite yet!

“Threat Of Joy” by The Strokes, off of their EP, “Future, Present, Past.”

The Strokes are that effortlessly cool band (bands from New York tend to have that attribute about them) that produce incredible music in a way that seems, well, effortless. “Threat Of Joy” is yet another creation by this fabulous band that truly needs no introduction, but I am going to give it one anyway.

Julian Casablancas opens up this song with an agitated dialogue to a nameless somebody, which ultimately concludes in his giving in, signified by his “be right there, honey!”

The bright, simple guitar work washes over you, filling your soul – with lack of a better word – joy. Casablancas’ “I’m-too-cool-to-be-in-a-rock-band” vocal drone is featured in its prime in this song and will have you wishing for times where you could listen to this track with your toes buried in hot sand.

“I Saw You” by Beach Vacation.

If there needed to be a textbook example of what surf rock is, “I Saw You” by Beach Vacation is it.

This song is relentlessly paced and undeniably cheerful. The lead singer has a voice that is jam-packed with California sunshine and sea air while the guitar constantly scrubs away, sounding as if it was submerged beneath the ocean. It is the type of song you would find yourself blasting at high volume while driving fast down the highway towards the coast, in short.

The chorus is a repeat of “I remember when I saw you sitting alone / You were happy when you saw me noticing you / Noticing me.” There is something beautifully innocent about this song, much like the naivete featured in "Sudden Emotion" by Public Access TV, that perhaps makes you long for a time where your palms got sweaty around your crush.

Before you know it, “I Saw You” is over. You’ll find yourself scrambling for the repeat button.

“California Sun” by Baby Strange, off of their album, Want It Need It.

Yet another grand band from Glasgow, Scotland.

You have to love a good use of the whammy bar. Frankly, there is nothing more that screams “summer time” than that tiny little mechanism. Yet, what is particularly interesting about this song is that despite the shimmering, wavering guitars, there is an underlying darkness within Johnny Madden’s vocals. When he sings, “You know it breaks my heart in two,” with each syllable, you feel your own heart breaking alongside the speaker’s.

“California Sun” features a round sound that is nearly begging you to stare at your shoes and sway along with the beat. Keep the Sun out of your eyes with your hair and sing along.

“Vowels (And The Importance Of Being Me)” by HUNNY.

HUNNY is a band that is catering to the inner egomaniac that resides in all of us with their song “Vowels (And The Importance Of Being Me).” I agree, it is important being me.

HUNNY is essentially the refined version of all of those pop-punk bands you used to listen to in middle school and perhaps even high school. Jason Yarger has a vocal style that is smooth, yet punching – and even easier to sing along with (I’m sure you’re noticing a theme in this playlist). With each word, you know he is putting in his all – and this is crucial. Who wants to sing along with a weak voice? Nobody.

This song with its soaring guitar work and its fast drum beat commands your feet to the dance floor. Given the relentlessness of HUNNY’s composition, you will find yourself frantically throwing yourself across your room, the Quad – perhaps even your classroom – to this song.

“Santa Ana” by Smooth Ends.

I am infinitely impressed by Smooth Ends. One second they are doing smooth and sexy guitar music and next they are performing groovy summer songs like this one.

“Santa Ana” has a sound that is impossibly cool. I mean, the drums and the guitar swagger into your ear whether you like it or not. You can’t even fight it because you’ve already been hypnotized by the warmth of Kevin Erlicher’s voice and the instrumentals.

While Erlicher has a voice that can be considered immature, it is this same immaturity that is endearing. As he sits, “thinking about the perfect sound / Thinking of you / And just moving around,” you, the listener, blush a bit. It makes you wish you had the summer back so you could have a prolonged summer fling with “Santa Ana.”

In short, the summer doesn’t have to die just because you’re trapped in the classroom for the next four months. You can still have your sunshine-stained everything through the power of music – I promise you.