Friday, July 29, 2005

It's Summer, Babe

Top 10 Super Summer Hummer

The playlist challenge from Robert (Rhapsody Radish): Name your top 10 songs with the word summer in the title.

I knew right away what would be #1 and #10, and the rest have been shuffling and out and around the ten for the past 30+ hours.

1. "Summer Babe (Winter Version)" - Pavement (Slanted & Enchanted, 1992) This is the song that first introduced me to Pavement (originally a Drag City single.) I was hooked from the start as Stephen Malkmus sings "Ice baby, I saw your girlfriend and she was eating her fingers like they're just another meal." #286 on Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

2. "Bummer in the Summer" - Love (Forever Changes, 1967) Arthur Lee was a L.A. hustler, desperately searching for the formula that would make him a star before forming Love. Here, in this powerful, churning, Bo Diddley-style rocker, Lee evokes the hustler repeatedly telling his lover "...you can go ahead if you want to, ’cause I ain’t got no papers on you."

3. "Hot Fun in the Summertime" - Sly & The Family Stone (non-album track, 1969) Seemingly sweet, but in actuality it's supposed to be a biting commentary on the race riots of the late-1960s.

4. "Indian Summer" - Beat Happening (Jamboree, 1988) Calvin Johnson's low tenor mixed with lyrical innocence makes this song a long time Beat Happening fave. Covered later by Eugenius (1992) and Luna (1993.) "Motorbike to cemetery / Picnic on wild berries / French toast with molasses / Croquet and Baked Alaskas"

5. "Hot Hot Summer Day" - The Sugarhill Gang (non-album, 1980) Ahead of it's time... who knew global warming would be heating us up this quickly - clearly time to revive this old skool rap classic. "Winter time is gone and dead / Summertime full freakin' ahead!"

6. "Feel Good Hit of the Summer" - Queens of the Stone Age (Rated R, 2000) Only 8 words in the song. ("Nicotine, Valium, Vicodin, Marijuana, Ecstasy and Alchohol... Co-co-co-co-co-cocaine")
Side affects from this song include: Head-banging, fist-pumping, and shouting along.

7. "In The Summertime" - Mungo Jerry (In the Summertime, 1970) Always curious about this lyric: "If her daddy's rich, take her out for a meal / If her daddy's poor, just do as you feel." Regardless of whether or not the song is sexist (and classist?), this skiffle evokes summer like no other.

8. "So Nice (Summer Samba)" - Astrud Gilberto (w/ Walter Wanderly A Certain Smile A Certain Sadness, 1966) For sipping a martini on a nice outdoor patio. Step-daughter Bebel's version runs a close second.

9. "All Summer Long" - Beach Boys (All Summer Long, 1964) Just wouldn't be summer without The Beach Boys. "T-Shirts, cut-offs and a pair of thongs, we've been having fun all summer long." Not their best, but it's a great example of the 'California mystique' that Brian Wilson helped evolve (so much that it closes out the Cali summer movie American Graffiti.)

10. "Summer Madness" - Kool & the Gang (Light of the Worlds, 1974) I actually would rank this one higher, but DJ's spinning summer jams used to always end the night with this one, and so will I.

More:
The last pesky track to get bumped: "Summer" by Buffalo Tom (Sleepy-Eyed, 1995) This song nowadays evokes a sort of bittersweet feeling of regret. It was the summer of '95 and felt like the end of both a great musical run that happened from the late-80's to the early 90's, and also the end of Buffalo Tom. They put out another album, but this one just feels like the end.

Crucial song that missing (not in Rhapsody): "Celebrated Summer" by Husker Du (New Day Rising, 1985) "It's back to summer, back to basics, hang around/ Getting drunk out on the beach, or playing in a band/ And getting out of school meant getting out of hand/Was this your celebrated summer? Was that your celebrated summer?"

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2 comments:

drake leLane said...

A Top 10 Super Summer Hummer

* "Summer Babe (Winter Version)" - Pavement
* "Bummer In The Summer" - Love
* "Hot Fun In The Summertime" - Sly & The Family Stone
* "Indian Summer" - Beat Happening
* "Hot Hot Summer Day " - The Sugarhill Gang
* "Feel Good Hit Of The Summer" - Queens Of The Stone Age
* "In The Summertime" - Mungo Jerry
* "So Nice (Summer Samba)" - Astrud Gilberto-Walter Wanderley
* "All Summer Long" - The Beach Boys
* "Summer Madness" - Kool & The Gang

Robert 0f The Radish said...

I would have to say that your list is lightyears ahead of the top selling "Summer" songs as determined by Billboard.

It really shows the gulf between what's good and what sells.