Some songs strike me as being summery, even beyond the ice cream truck tune and the songs we learned at girl scout camp.
- Astrud Gilberto- Fly Me to the Moon, The Girl from Ipanema
Romantic and tropical. Gentle crooning, jazzy and nostalgic. Bossa nova is excellent for summertime and Astrid Gilberto has the most beautiful voice. The beats are mellow and it makes you want to roll the windows down. These two are my favorites, but there are many more worth checking out.
- More recent music:
Baby K- Roma-Bangkok: Italian rap/samba, bouncy and festive
DNCE- Cake by the Ocean: Maybe too literal? But a Jonas brother finally did something I like. o.O
Kent Jones- Don’t Mind
Drake- One Dance
George Ezra-Blame it on Me: George Ezra has such an interesting voice. And Robert Hegenbarth does a lovely cover.
Icona Pop- Emergency, Break the Rules: Poppy, bright, fun, and danceable.
Ingrid Michaelson- Hell No: A girl power breakup anthem kind of had to be on here.
James Bay- Hold Back the River, Let it Go: Gentle and folksy, nice instrumentals, sensitively manly vocals. You know.
Kaay- Desequilibrio: So dance-y and happy.
Luke Bryan- Kick the Dust Up: Hysterical song, catchy. Who knew parties and farming towns went together so well?
Margaret- Cool Me Down: Obsessed with this at the moment.
Maroon 5- Sugar: This was THE summer song a year or two ago. Still does its job.
Mike Posner- Buried in Detroit Remix, Be As You Are
Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats- SOB: GET ME A DRINK
Phillip Phillips- Raging Fire: This is from a year or two ago but it always resurfaces on my radar at this time of year, every year.
The Shady Brothers- Addicted to Your Love: Folksy quickstep, it’s a thing.
The Wreckers- Leave the Pieces: This is one I’ve been listening to for years and years. I can sing the whole thing.
Yall- Hundred Miles: Party-ready while still being relaxed and upbeat. Summer love.
- The Beatles
So here’s the thing. The Beatles are definitely not solely a summer thing, but a lot of their songs have that feel. Here Comes the Sun? Check. Yellow Submarine? Check. Easygoing songs with that mix of uplifting and rueful.
- Billy Idol- Dancing with Myself
Summer is the correct time to dance with yourself. I mean, any time is, but summer particularly. Who knew Billy Idol was such an upbeat and happy camper?
- Bruce Springsteen- I’m on Fire
I don’t listen to much Bruce Springsteen but I love this song and am fond of a few others. Americana is summery to me. And this song is chiller than most.
- Cat Stevens- Wild World
The lyrics of this song are actually kind of sad, but Cat Stevens’ voice is so soothing. About accepting the wildness, danger, unpredictability, and, well, badness of the world at large.
- Reggaeton. Specifically Daddy Yankee and Don Omar. I think it must come from hearing it blasting from so many car windows.
- Ennio Morricone- The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Soundtrack
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. L’Estasi dell’Oro is where it’s at. And Congratulations to Morricone for FINALLY winning a MUCH-DESERVED Oscar for the music in The Hateful Eight.
- Enrique Iglesias
Yes, Latin Pop. Excellent stuff. Duele el Corazon, Bailando, Bailamos… Some pretty joyful and/or romantic stuff (if we’re discounting Tonight I’m F**king You, which I like for other qualities)
- France Gall- Poupee de cire poupee de son, Les sucettes
French ye-ye, so cheery and agreeable.
- Françoise Hardy- Les temps de l’amour, Le Premier bonheur de jour
Comment te dire adieu? strikes me as being more for a light autumn rain, but there is nothing so summery at LTDL’A. Maybe because of THIS scene in Moonrise Kingdom.
- Gillian Hills- Zou bisou bisou
More sixties semi-French music. Charming bright and poppy.
- Gipsy Kings- Bomboleo, Bem Bem Maria, Caramelo, Escucha Me, Volare
Flamenco in a pop context, sometimes energetic and sometimes mellow, always warm and gorgeous. I first found it watching this ballroom showpiece. Slavic and Karina, man.
- Henry Mancini
I love Henry Mancini. Some favorites include Moon River, Two for the Road, The Last Time I Saw Paris, and Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet. But he was quite prolific, produced lots of gentle, breezy, and romantic soundtrack material. Oh yeah, and the Pink Panther theme.
- Hotel Saint George- Figli delle Tenebre
I can’t not dance while this is playing.
- Jane Birkin- Di Doo Dah
This is an odd one, but it’s so slow and light and languorous that it belongs on this list. It’s like drifting off to sleep while lying in the sun.
- Joan Jett- Bad Reputation
So what if I first got to know this song through Shrek? It’s an excellent scene. Unapologetic and happy-angry.
- Johnny Cash- Folsom Prison Blues and other early music
His songs got more and more fall and winter with time. Hurt is a fall/winter song if ever there was one. But the buoyant and rebellious earlier music has lots of summer swagger.
- Lana del Rey- High by the Beach, Summertime Sadness, etc.
Lana del Rey might not be everyone’s favorite, but her slow-paced, haunting music is, in my mind, perfectly summery. Oddly eerie and aesthetically pleasing and interesting.
- The Mamas and the Papas- California Dreamin’, Monday Monday, Dream a Little Dream of Me
They may pretend California Dreamin’ is about winter, and I may worry about Mondays the least during vacation, but it’s summer music anyway.
- ABBA, particularly Dancing Queen
- MIKA- Boum Boum Boum
MIKA has never been my favorite artist, but this song is excellent and party-ready.
- Neil Diamond- Sweet Caroline
So good, so good, so good.
- Nouvelle Vague- Love Will Tear Us Apart, Ever Fallen in Love, Blister in the Sun
I love these beachy covers and the beautiful French accents of the singers.
- The Pointer Sisters- I’m So Excited
Hey, don’t look at me. It’s quickstep.
And of course there’s always Surfin’ USA…