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Ten Rock Tunes to Listen to Before Summer Is Over

By OIB | 08/31/2016
Ten Songs to Listen to Before Summer Is Over

Before this summer is over – and it will be gone before you know it – put these songs on a playlist.

  1. “Nightswimming” – From R.E.M.’s classic Automatic for the People, this piano-driven tune demands that you drum up all those adolescent summer memories, pleasant or otherwise. Signature lyric: “I forgot my shirt at the water’s edge… they can not see me naked…”
  2. “Into the Mystic” – Van Morrison seemingly wrote all those early albums as some sort of summer soundtrack. Put on Moondance and cruise around with the sunroof open. Shout it with your friends: “I want to rock your gypsy soul!”
  3. “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” – Summer becomes a verb on this track from Vampire Weekend’s debut LP. If you’ve ever worked at a country club and wanted to get with some member’s daughter you can relate to this one. Signature lyric: “Is your bed made? Is your sweater on? Do you want to fuck, like you know I do?”
  4. “California” – Because the left coast is the best coast, right? One of the few sunny tracks on the otherwise dark, Blue, Joni longs for SoCal while traveling in Europe. Signature lyric: “Will you take me as I am, strung out on another man? California, I’m coming home.”
  5. “Cruel Summer” – Perhaps more than any other summer song (even the one that talks about the “back of my neck gettin’ dirty and gritty”), this tune from Bananarama conjures up the filth and sweat that are likely a constant part of your summer. Also, that way it sucks when all your friends are having more fun: “The city is crowded, my friends are away, and I’m on my own.”
  6. “Boys of Summer” – Despite the fact that it drips with 80’s synths and drums, this track from the “malcontent” holds up pretty well. Be sure to listen to it before Labor Day, it’ll break your heart just afterwards. Signature lyric: “I can (can’t?) tell you my love for you will still be strong… after the boys of summer have gone.”
  7. “Gold Soundz” – Pavement have a tune called “Summer Babe,” but “Gold Soundz” could be their opus. It makes this list because 1) it’s one of the best indie rock songs of the 90s and, 2) this lyric: “So drunk in the August sun, and you’re the kind of girl I like.” Yep, you’ve been there.
  8. “In the Summertime” – You can’t escape this one. A completely timeless and perfect one-hit wonder. Let’s all thank Mungo Jerry for the tune and particularly this line, “If her daddy’s rich, take her out for a meal. If her daddy’s poor, just do what you feel.”
  9. “Wouldn’t it Be Nice” – It doesn’t mention surfing, hamburger stands, or any other Beach Boys lyrical staples, but this number brings out that feeling of youthful optimism, and freedom (or lack thereof) that is tough to beat. The opening line says it all, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older, then we wouldn’t have to wait so long.”
  10. “Passing Afternoon” – This closing track from Iron & Wine’s Our Endless Numbered Days is packed with the imagery of humidity and oscillating fans, and you can picture Sam Beam writing it lying in the grass as he’s drawn himself on the album cover. The fragility of summer, and life itself, are on full display here. Signature lyric: “There are times that walk from you like some passing afternoon. Summer warmed the open window of her honeymoon…” You’ll want to go hug someone (really, anyone) after giving this a spin.