Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Tunes That Make Me Feel Fine

NEW YORK—Today is the summer solstice, and that means summer—prime time for hot weather, air conditioning, beaches, exposed flesh and turn-your-brain-off action-movie entertainment—is officially here (unofficially, it's been around, on-an-off, for a few weeks now).

You know what time it is? It's time to start humming those summer tunes!

I've got three favorites:

The eternally classy Frank Sinatra with his classic rendition of  "Summer Wind." Really, that's all that needs to be said.

Thank you, John McTiernan, for introducing me to Lovin' Spoonful's "Summer in the City" years ago by using it in the witty opening of Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995)! Also, bonus points for directly appealing to my love for New York City (warts, rank odors and all).

"Summer breeze makes me feel fine / Blowing through the jasmine in my mind." This wonderfully wistful Seals and Crofts tune sure makes me feel fine every time I hear it. Here's a great tune to play sitting out on a porch on a preferably breezy summer evening.

Honorable mention: The entirety of Vampire Weekend's 2008 self-titled debut album. Listen to it while driving on a warm summer day, with the top down and the wind blowing in your face. Even if it's not explicitly about summer, its driving rhythms and infectious sense of fun will get you in the proper summer mood, guaranteed. But hey, don't take my word for it. (The band's second album, Contra, released this year, isn't as conducive to this kind of thing, but still a fine record in its own right.)

Here's their song "A-Punk" from that album (briefly featured in the second half of my California video, by the way). Don't you think it has a surfer-music vibe to it?

Those are my choices for great summer music material. What are yours, my friends? I'd like to hear your choices. Maybe I'll discover a new favorite.

Comment away!

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