The Playlist: 10 Summer Tracks for an Unforgettable August
Find the fresh hits and timeless classics you need to enjoy the many musical moods of August.
1. For That Last Day on the Beach
A showcase for the chirpy-voiced stylings of early-career MJ, this sweetly glum but still somehow upbeat disco nugget will motivate you to make the most of your final hours of pastoral heaven. Or, at the very least, help keep you moving as you sweep the sand and grit off the cottage floor.
2. For Those Summer Memories You'd Rather Forget
Whether it was a bad romance, a terrible sunburn or an incident with the barbecue, even the most diehard summer lover has a few hot-weather memories they'd sooner forget. This jaunty confection, which combines falsetto, Wurlitzer and whistling into one smokin' soft-rock package, will help you say sayonara without regrets.
3. For When You Wake Up While It's Still Dark Out
When a track opens with the line "Hello darkness," odds are it's not going to be a pep-fest. U.S. rapper Lupe Fiasco does the pop-music equivalent of whistling in the dark on this moderately gloomy jazz-inflected hip-hop number.
4. For Wallowing in End-of-Vacation Depression
Best Coast (a.k.a. California girl Bethany Cosentino and a couple of surf-pop pals) is known for making songs that sound like summer. This distortion-wrecked, guitar-fuelled angsthem, however, is more like a sudden thunderstorm interrupting a blissful sun-drenched afternoon.
5. For When You're Stuck in Highway Traffic with Other Sweaty, Cranky Vacationers
It is physically impossible to stay grumpy while singing along to this song-especially if you try to hit Kurt's high note. (Seriously. Physically impossible.)
6. For Slow-Dancing on the Dock
This classic '90s slow-jam played during the final episode of The Cosby Show. As such, it will forever be the default song for when all good things come to an end.
7. For That Last Outdoor Summer Nap
French electronic pop outfit M83 is incapable of producing music that isn't dreamy, but this beautiful miasma of spongy synthesizers, breathy vocals and somnolent percussion goes above and beyond.
8. For Killing It at End-of-Season Karaoke
After Mariah Carey's "Without You," Heart's "Alone" and Céline Dion's "My Heart Will Go On," this wonderfully cheesy explosion of power balladry lends itself to gleeful fist-pumping, chest-thumping and head-banging.
9. For Stargazing During the Perseid Meteor Shower
The Perseids-the collection of starry debris that falls steadily from the latter half of July to the middle of August-is a truly wonderful celestial phenomenon. The best days to spot these falling stars are between August 9th and 14th; listen to this haunting alt-country lament about secrets and meteors in the dead of night, while looking waaaay up.
10. For Getting Ready for the First Day of School
Early in his career, Swedish troubadour Jens Lekman released a modest EP in which he paid tribute to Rocky Dennis, that misunderstood kid from the movie Mask. This vaguely Bacharach-y piano ballad, in which he says goodbye to his unusual muse, opens with a seasonally evocative image: "Early September and the kids start school / Leaves are floating in the swimming pool."