The Summer Fun mix
I’ve made a lot of mixes in my time, starting with cassettes, then CDs, and now the ubiquitous digital playlist. I take my mixes seriously, and put a lot of thought into them (see this accomplishment/boondoggle for proof), so believe me when I say to you that my latest mix is one of my favorites that I’ve ever put together. It’s an ode to the end of summer, full of bright, upbeat songs, hardly any of them approaching, much less longer than four minutes. It’s a combination of 90s/2000s power pop and 60s R&B, with a surprise or two tossed in for good measure, appropriate for end of the summer barbecues, beach trips, workouts, and killing time at work.
I’m In Love – Myracle Brah
Myracle Brah deal almost exclusively in these type of tight, joyous power pop gems, which is almost enough to make you forgive them for their pun overload band name.
Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys
One of Brian Wilson’s masterworks. You can’t watch the Wilson biopic Love & Mercy and ever listen to this song the same way again, especially the “chugg-ed-duh, chugg-ed-duh, chugg-ed-duh” cello part.
In the Midnight Hour – The Jam
Though ostensibly a punk band, The Jam always had more in common with Wilson Pickett than The Sex Pistols, and here’s definitive proof.
What You Do To Me – Teenage Fanclub
Pop perfection neatly sewn up into a 2:01 package.
Get Ready – The Temptations
Few Motown artists brought it with as much consistency as the Tempts did in the late 60s/early 70s. Get Ready is one of their very best.
Me & You & Jackie Mittoo – Superchunk
Another example of how many of the very best pop songs come in sub-2:00 packages.
I Never Loved A Man (The Way That I Love You) – Aretha Franklin
Not her best known song, but I don’t think the Queen of Soul every recorded a better one than this.
All That Money Wants – The Psychedelic Furs
Just a great tune from one of the most underrated bands of the 80s.
I’m In Love With A Girl – Big Star
The well of Big Star hits is deep and timeless.
You’re No Rock n’ Roll Fun – Sleater-Kinney
The list of bands that have recorded more than one or two records without making a dud is a short one, but S-K is near the top of it for sure.
Respect – Otis Redding
Let’s face it, this song sung from the perspective of a male takes on a VERY different and pretty unsavory meaning than the better-known Aretha Franklin anthem, but that doesn’t stop it from being completely bad ass though.
Dancehall Domine – The New Pornographers
Not going to lie to you, the whole reason I wanted to make this playlist was to have an excuse to listen to this song more. One of my favorite pop songs in a long, long time.
All The Wine – The National
This is pretty much my personal theme song: “I’m put together beautifully / Big wet bottle in my fist / Big wet rose in my teeth / I’m a perfect piece of ass / Like every Californian / So tall I take over the street / With high beams shining up my back / A wingspan unbelievable / I’m a festival / I’m a parade / And all the wine is all for me.” I mean come on, except for that bit about being Californian, that’s a perfect description of yours truly, no?
Running On Empty – Jackson Browne
A first ballot “sing-along-with-reckless-abandon-when-this-song-comes-on-the-radio” hall of fame entry.
Shotgun – Jr. Walker & The All Stars
This song is just flat-out amazing, and it’s a shame it isn’t more well-known than it already is.
Save It For Later – The English Beat
I defy you to listen to this song and not dance around the room like a maniac. Or is that just me? Whoops. Well, that’s your problem, not mine.
That Someone Is You – R.E.M.
A tasty little morsel stashed away on side 2 of their excellent final record, Collapse Into Now.
Is It Alright – Mikal Cronin
An absolute burner from the first Mikal Cronin album.
On A Saturday Night – Eddie Floyd
A sadly under-appreciated but absolutely great R&B tune. Those Stax horns are killer, man.
Super Baby – Matthew Sweet
Matthew Sweet is the closest thing we have these days to Alex Chilton, and that’s about the highest praise that I can give.
Eyes Of The Muse – King Tuff
A really fun and rocking tune from 2014’s great Black Moon Spell record.
There She Goes Again – Marshall Crenshaw
The self-titled Marshall Crenshaw is one of the highlights in pop music, especially the one-two opening salvo of this song and Someday, Someway.
Massive Nights – The Hold Steady
A straight up fist pumping party anthem for the 2000s and beyond. Hopefully everybody got to experience at least one or two of these nights before they woke up one day and found responsibility closing in on them.
Distantly In Love – Jimmy Buffett
Just my periodic reminder that Jimmy Buffett was a terrific songwriter before he become a trademarked, money printing machine.
Tighten Up – Archie Bell & The Drells
Every party needs a dance number. And this is the music we tighten up with…Come on now, drummer.
Here’s the Spotify playlist for your listening/subscribing pleasure.
Cheers, and enjoy what remains of your summer.