Summer is geared up in full right now – it’s nearing the end of July, the heat is a-blazin’ and hopefully you’ve already created a few stories you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Every season needs a soundtrack, so use these songs for whatever you desire: as a backdrop for a taking a load off by the Poudre River, sneaking into your neighborhood pool late at night or searing your skin til’ it resembles bacon strips.
/ “Boys of Summer” – Don Henley (1984): From the opening guitar to the point where the former Eagles front man sees a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac and knows he can never look back, and you can’t either, this quintessential pop song is summer. Don’t even think about replacing this with the Ataris version.
/ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” – Guns N’ Roses (1987): The opening guitar riff is legendary and should kick any road trip or night o’ debauchery into full swing. Not a power ballad but not too heavy either, this ode to Axl Roses’ girlfriend at the time walks the fine line between bad-ass rock ‘n’ roll and sentimental aching.
/ “Do You Want to Dance” – Bobby Freeman (1958): One robust aspect that summer never will lose is twistin’ the night away. Even if you’re a wallflower or if it’s like a full body dry heave when you groove, everyone needs to stomp that foot once in awhile, and that’s exactly what this 1958 staple is asking you to do.
/ “Can’t You See” – Marshall Tucker Band (1973): Melding acoustic guitar and floaty flute lines, this is the song that will make everyone on the front porch sing-a-long after consuming to much cheap hooch. Can’t you see, can’t you see, what that __ (whatever your sexual preference is), been doin’ to me.
/ “Sippin’ On Some Syrup” – Three 6 Mafia (2000): I don’t know where you were in the summer of 2000, but anywhere I strolled the “siz-erp” was blaring on the radio. Toting one of the best lines ever in a rap song – “I’m trill working the wheel, a pimp not a simp; keep the dope fiends higher than the Goodyear Blimp; we eat so many shrimp, I got iodine poisoning” – this takes the Oscar.
/ “Golden” & “One Big Holiday” – My Morning Jacket (2003): The former is a sprawling echo of vocals careening around a simple beat, while the latter is an epic guitar-driven stomper that will surely get your blood pumpin.’ One contributes to getting $90 speeding tickets while out for a night on the town, the other’s for recovering the morning after.
/ “Kokomo” – the Beach Boys (1988): One of the most noteworthy cheese-ball songs of all time, it’s more than fitting for the soundtrack to I’m-the-most-rad-80s-bartender-ever Tom Cruise in “Cocktail.” So swirl the blender or pop some Bartles & Jaymes, and find that someone who’ll put out to sea looking to perfect your chemistry.
/ “Dancing in the Street” – Martha & the Vandellas (1964): From the get go this is an ultimatum to boogie it up – “Calling out around the world, are you ready for a brand new beat, summer’s here and the time is right, for dancing in the street.” Over 40-years-old, this record never sounds stale.
/ “Rockin’ in the Free World” – Neil Young (1989): While some folks think Bruce Springsteen or John Mellencamp deliver the archetypal Americana tunes, I’m putting my weight behind this rocker, albeit he is a Canadian. Screw the acoustic version, go straight for the gut with the electric one; it’s a fist-pumping glorious piece of work.
/ “It Was A Good Day” – Ice Cube (1992): A tasty breakfast, rolling dice and slamming dominos, plus brew, chronic and not even having to use his AK, pre-Barbershop Mr. Cube knows how to make the most of his 24 hours. Bob your head to this one when you’re trying to hit the three-wheel motion.
Brian Park is a senior journalism and political science major. He recognizes he left numerous summer standards off this list, from Jimmy Buffet to “Summertime” by Fresh Prince & DJ Jazzy Jeff. Send your own list of summer jams, or rants and feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.