Maybe it’s the fact that our air conditioning unit is broken and my vision is getting blurry. Maybe it’s the fact that writing about summer jams has become so ubiquitous among us bloggers that the very idea of a summer jam actually finding success organically has become impossible. Still, even if we’ve only just started August it feels like a good time to look back across the wavy heat lines rising from the scorched concrete to a simpler time when Michael Jackson was just some still-alive weirdo, when those eight kids didn’t have to worry about a future with two Christmases and when G.I. Joe was just a trailer you liked to make fun of instead of a cash machine and surefire franchise cornerstone.
Below you’ll find the songs we certified as perfect summer jam material. Granted, some of these aren’t exactly the BBQ fodder that typically passes for summer jams but honestly who among us ONLY listens to summery music during the summer? Moods, like seasons, change [that last sentence was poetry btw].
We hope you agree with our choices and enjoy the MP3s and our thoughts on a few of the selected songs. Any songs we forgot? Let us know!
Passion Pit – Little Secrets – Manners is a close second for best record of the summer and this song is a major reason why. Also, before we put this list together we failed to realize just how many songs employed the age old trick of having kids singing the hook this, obviously, being one of them. Child labor rules!
Many more songs after the jump:
Foreign Born – Vacationing People – There should be no question why this song made the list. I mean, the band is from L.A. where it’s summer year round and the song is called ‘Vacationing People.’ Now, if you question its cred as a certified summer jam, I’ll kindly thank you to leave. I said good day sir!
Dead Man’s Bones – My Body’s a Zombie For You – Song number two with kids on the hook, but I’ll be damned if I’m still not a sucker for that trick. Oh, and if you didn’t know this is Ryan Gosling’s band. The last time he spent this much time with kids he ended up getting high in the girls bathroom. Be careful Ryan!
Mayer Hawthorne – Your Easy Lovin – Funky, soulful, white.
Magic Kids – Hey Boy – Yes, it’s another song with kids singing on the hook, but this time it sounds like Pet Sounds era Beach Boys. Fun, right?
Fool’s Gold – Surprise Hotel – If having kids sing on the hook was the first motif of summer songs in 2009 then channeling Afro-pop sounds into songs had to be a close second. Surprise Hotel definitely fits that bill, but what makes the track stand out is the way the music sways and plays in the air with the best of them.
The Very Best – Warm Heart of Africa – Looking for proof that Afro-pop was more than just a passing fad in indie circles? Well, this song should help.
Wale – New Soul – The standout track from the man who’s been the best rapper of the past year hands down — and he hasn’t even released his debut album yet. While we could listen to Wale spit playful sports references in his rhymes all day, it’s when he takes a moment to combine that lightness of touch with his more introspective material that he really shows just how special an artist he is.
Phoenix – 1901 – 1901 is the best song from the best album of the year, so it’s almost unfair to lump it in with disposable summer hits, but here we are. Released by the band quite a bit before summer officially hit, 1901 and Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix came have been on rotation non-stop since then neither shows no sign of stopping. And isn’t the true value of a summer album measured by the fact that you keep listening to it well after summer ends? We think so, and it’s songs like this one that will ensure WAP endures for many summers and years to come.