Go Into Summer Dancing With These 4 Funky Tunes

With the school year finally coming to a close, I think we all deserve some fresh and uplifting songs in our playlists right about now. Songs with the ability to get us dancing within the first verse, to remind us to thank ourselves for persisting this far, and to put some much-needed joy into the bright, summer days ahead of us. So from the ever so dynamic genres of funk, R&B and soul, I've compiled a list of four tunes that are masters at encapsulating the feeling of summer and joy. With lyrics that will make you think while simultaneously losing yourself in the music, and with artists that take musical creativity to new heights, at least one of these bops is guaranteed to be your next summer anthem. Now crank up the volume, prepare to de-stress and put your dancing shoes on — it's time for some summer jammin'. 

  1. 1. Jon Batiste - I NEED YOU

    It would be foolish of me to begin this list without putting Jon Batiste at number one. He's an artist who puts soul into every single note and I've spent hours upon hours streaming his discography, including his deeply melodic tracks on the "Soul" soundtrack or his groovy, dance-inducing jams on his most recent album, "We Are." He's a creative who embodies sunshine and carefree summer days, and his highly-favored single "I NEED YOU" never fails to put a pep in my step. Batiste has described the tune as "a vibe cleanse," and emphasized in an interview with UDiscoverMusic, "After 2020, this is like a warm hug. Let's bring the vibes back!" Now, I don't know about you, but after enduring this past year, I will never say no to a warm hug again — and trust me, "I NEED YOU" is a warm hug we all desperately need. So get your dancing feet ready and prepare your ears to be wowed — Jon Batiste is a type of magic the heart just can't deny. 

  2. 2. Lake Street Dive - Making Do 

    Truthfully, the first time I heard this soulful, honest tune, "Making Do," from the Boston-bred band Lake Street Dive. I'm positive I listened to it ten times in a row just so I could truly consume its glorious energy. With lyrics like "To the next generation, Merry Christmas, you're working harder than ever now" and "What do I say to my baby girl? Leaving her with half a world," the song poignantly grapples with the difficulties of being human in a time where it feels like the earth is crumbling beneath us. It tackles the anxiety and worries about what kind of world future generations will be left with, and how it feels as though some humans are "living like your eyes are shut" in the midst of events like climate change. Although the subject may be heavy, the extremely catchy melody effectively masks all the heaviness. The song itself has sound influences from rock, R&B and soul, and can certainly inspire one to bust a move just by the electrifying guitar riffs themselves. So if contemplating the universe while jamming out to some seriously fabulous tunes sounds like a good time to you, you're gonna want to add this song to your playlist pronto. 

  3. 3. Earl St. Clair - Thank My Self

    When I think of Earl St. Clair's positively hopeful "Thank My Self," the first thought that comes to mind is soulful self-love. In this bouncy, piano-heavy R&B tune, the lyrics flow gracefully into a power track about one's ability to get what they want, and to get it with just the power of the self. Singing "Never know if you don't try, I keep on doing what I like, I do what keeps my soul alive, bein' happy ain't a crime," Clair's voice radiates with all things passion and persistence. And if there's one thing we all crave during summer, it's the pure feeling of the sun on our skin radiating smiles and self-love into our days. "Thank My Self" delivers just that to its listeners, and Clair is certainly a master at emulating joy and euphoria from what he produces in the studio. This tune is sure to keep you listening for some serious confidence boosters, and will leave you ready to conquer what you crave by the power within yourself. 

  4. 4. Woody and Jeremy - Rolling in the Basement

    From the very talented musicians Woody Goss and Jeremy Daly, their joint musical act — Woody and Jeremy — brings guaranteed smiles to those who listen. With Goss holding experience as a member of the widely popular funk group, Vulfpeck, this duo seriously knows how to master a funky and fun tune. The aspects of "Rolling in the Basement" that caught my attention first were the comical and carefree lyrics exuding from the rich sounds of Goss and Daly's perfectly balanced instruments. The chorus, in my personal opinion, is the absolute best part of the song and it's quite literally one of the catchiest melodies I've ever heard in music. All in all, Woody and Jeremy's tune truly embraces the essence of hanging with your friends on a warm summer night, and I assure you it would add some much-needed funk and soul to your summer listening. If you listen to this track and find yourself wanting more, I would highly suggest you check out their other wonderful track, "Hollywood Witches," as well. 

So there you have it! Four funky and fun tunes to brighten up your summer, and a whole lot of listening — and dancing — ahead of you. This past school year was undoubtedly taxing, sometimes way too burdensome, and probably involved a lot of questioning for most students, but if there's one thing that seriously helped me get through it all, it was music. So I hope — whether it's these four songs or not — that you find some solace in the presence of music and allow yourself to be thankful for how far you've come. Happy listening!