Playlist: Almost Summer / Sun

by Maddie Farr ’18

The last few days have been so inexplicably warm and wonderful that I almost don’t want to mention them and risk having our good weather jinxed. We can’t exactly say it’s summer yet, but it feels like it. This playlist is for that fizzy, sun-choked, hopeful feeling of waiting for summer to just start already.

1. “Lie to Me” – Addie Pray (So Long)

It was hard to choose one song from So Long (by Kenyon’s own Addie Pray!), because the entire album is (a) so good and (b) so summery. But “Lie to Me” feels exactly like a setting summer sun. The lyrics are heartbreaking and daring and resigned and expectant, all cloaked up in harmony and guitar.

2. “Strawberry Blond” – Mitski (Retired from Sad, New Career in Business)

Mitski’s latest album, Bury Me at Makeout Creekhas been getting a ton of buzz lately, and for good reason, since it’s absolutely amazing. But Mitski has been making great music for a while now, such as this gem off her second album, Retired from Sad, New Career in Business. This song is so effervescent and carefree but somehow breaks your heart (as summer inevitably does).

3. “Good Ol'” – JoJo (The High Road)

I will always be a JoJo fan. I recently rediscovered this album after like 6 years and was shocked to find that I knew all the lyrics — but there are some things (ie. early 2000s teen girl artists) that live in blood memory, y’know? While this song’s lyrics are sometimes a little questionable (JoJo sings, “We can go the distance homie cuz I’m always neutral” — what message is she sending about female sexual agency?), “Good Ol'” is ultimately a joyful summer jam, to be played with the windows rolled down on a highway somewhere, or — in the middle school tradition — just loitering in a drugstore parking lot with nothing to do.

4. “Rally” – Phoenix (It’s Never Been Like That)

“Rally” is just so much fun. The entire premise is kind of absurd — Thomas Mars is basically singing an ode to hooking up with a young groupie? — but it absolutely works. This song makes me want to spend my summer at a perpetual music festival.

5. “Saints” – The Breeders (Last Splash)

The Breeders are altogether wonderful, but this song is a standout. Listening to it, I can feel the smells and tastes and feelings of summer, and it’s a bit overwhelming in the way the song is meant to be. And ultimately, I just want to take Kim Deal up on her declaration—”Summer is ready when you are.”

6. “Susie (Dramas)” – Elton John (Honky Chateau)

This song’s summer pedigree is heightened by the flower pun drawn by the lyric “My pretty little black-eyed Susie”—his girl is both actually named Susie and has black eyes, but a black-eyed Susan is actually a flower!! “Susie” gives me such nostalgia, which is really why it’s on this playlist.

7. “Summer Mood” – Best Coast (Crazy for You)

The entirety of Crazy for You is intense summer crushin’ vibes. Also, the lyric, “There’s something about the summer / That makes me moody” is just so good. I would listen to Bethany Cosentino draw out that “moody” for hours.

8. “Bonfire” – Waxahatchee (Ivy Tripp)

I reviewed “Bonfire” off Waxahatchee’s most recent release Ivy Tripp, in my album review last week. To recap, this song is very, very good.

9. “Carey” – Joni Mitchell (Blue)

Joni Mitchell is leaving her lover, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have one more night together, right? I mean, “the night is a starry dome”! Come on, Carey!

10. “Let in the Sun” – Bill Fox (Shelter from the Smoke)

The opening guitar on this song by Cleveland musician Bill Fox is unbelievable. I want to live in this song. Nothing is too bad knowing that this song exists.

11. “Be Good” – Waxahatchee (American Weekend)

It is Waxahatchee’s more polished, developed later albums — Ivy Tripp and Cerulean Salt — that usually get most of the buzz. But the raw, painful, and unrelentingly honest American Weekend will always be my favorite album of hers (and maybe ever). This song is the one sunspot in a veritable thunderstorm, heartbreakingly honest in its dissection of a stagnant relationship. This song is begging you to catch it before it disappears.