I’ve spent the past few weeks preparing to get married, getting married, sorting through wedding presents, figuring out what stuff our new apartment needs, and similar such things, so I thought that I’d do something light this month. Here’s a mixtape of some of the songs that I’ve had on heavy rotation this summer. Because the best part about summer is driving with the windows down and the music up.
1. Alanis Morissette – “All I Really Want”
I was never a fan of Alanis Morissette until I watched the BBC series The Trip to Italy. The sequel to 2010’s The Trip, it centers on two middle-aged British comics as they travel around Italy reviewing high-class restaurants for a magazine. Circumstances leave them with only one CD—Jagged Little Pill—and watching them driving around the Italian countryside, unashamedly singing along to Alanis’ hits made me realize that I need to do the same thing. I have, and it has been a great decision.
2. Wrongchilde – “Gold Blooded”
Though the debut album hasn’t even been released yet, the few songs Wrongchilde has released have been amazing. “Gold Blooded” is essentially an ode to the days of yesteryear—dripping with nostalgia, heavy with 80s synth hooks, and straddling the line between endearing and cheesy—this song could play at the end of a John Hughes movie.
3. Midi Matilda – “Ottawa”
Another band without a proper full length, but every song off their EP is great. “Ottawa” is a song about falling in love when the other person is unsure. The music is pretty simple, basically just one super catchy synth hook, but toward the end a horn section starts in out of nowhere and it is really zazzes everything up. Perfect for driving around and thinking about all your past summer loves.
4. Porcupine Tree – “Trains”
This is my essential summer song. I really do not have the words to convey just how much I love this song or how, if I could only listen to one song for the entire summer, it would be this song.
5. Clutch – “The Mob Goes Wild”
No summer is complete without a crunchy southern rock song. I’ve never really had the desire to own a muscle car with a Confederate flag on it, but when I listen to Clutch, it is all I want in my life. Plus, with its anti-government/war themes, this song is the perfect summertime independence anthem.
6. Kosmos – “Amerique Innavouable”
I actually have Calvin to thank for helping me discover Kosmos. Remember that one year when Calvin partnered with that terrible online music service Ruckus? Well, while Ruckus may have been a terrible program that quickly disappeared, I did stumble across the French-Canadian space/prog rock band Kosmos, so it wasn’t a complete disaster. This song is all dirty guitars, fuzzy bass, and incomprehensible French vocals. It makes me want to light off fireworks and drink terrible domestic beers.
7. Less Than Jake – “Short Fuse Burning”
I will never not love Less Than Jake. Plus, every summer mixtape needs a punk rock song about feeling misunderstood and lost.
8. Clear Static – “Anything at All”
Clear Static had one album and then disappeared. But what an album! It is upbeat, poppy, and influenced heavily by the 80s. “Anything at All” always puts me in a good mood and makes me want to dance.
9. Zeromancer – “Erotic Saints”
When I was younger, I loved Zeromancer because I loved eurotrash/electro-goth music like nobody’s business. But their third album “Zzyzx” came out and they shifted totally away from that sound into a more straight forward electronic-tinged rock style. “Erotic Saints” is just a nice acoustic guitar driven track that makes me want to take a drive in the green countryside.
10. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – “Higgs Boson Blues”
If you are ever feeling particularly melancholic on a late summer night, pour yourself a glass of whiskey and listen to this song.
11. Kill Hannah – “Welcome to Chicago”
At its most basic level, this is a song about doing drugs and having a crazy night in Chicago. But if we look past the obvious and discern the underlying message, it is about living free and in the moment, which is what summer is all about.
Paul (’10) lives in Grand Rapids with his wife, Emma (’10), and cat, HandsomeMarcoCat. He loves board games, Babylon 5, and honey-curry chicken. Everything else is negotiable.