Well, it’s that time of year again. The dead of winter. The temperature begins to drop. Leaves have already fallen. Less sun. More clouds. Things start to smell differently. If you’re a beachgoer, then you’re probably pretty bummed, but if you’re like me, and your average body temperature is somewhere between the surface of the sun and a raging volcano, then you’re probably welcoming winter and With that being said, it isn’t all bad, and with the help of music, there’s still at least a few ways to bask in the chill vibes of the sunny season. So, let’s officially welcome hoodie weather, pumpkin spice lattes, and the sound of dry leaves crunching under our feet, first let’s wind down with some of my favorite Summer tracks.
5) The Only Place – Best Coast
When I think of chill, beachy Summer vibes, I think of California, which is kind of crazy considering I’ve never actually be there. With ‘The Only Place,’ Best Coast rattles off just about everything that makes the Golden State the best place to be in the Summer. Summer is often thought about as a celebration, and with this song, Best Coast gave us an anthem to start off every beach day. Listening to this track, one cannot help but imagine riding down the coastline on a warm, breezy day, top-down and not a care in the world. So, slip on your favorite pair of sandals, and your best pair of imitation gas station Ray-Bans and crank this tune loud while you celebrate all things, Summer!
4) Doin’ Time/Summertime – Sublime
The end of Summer has this weird way of forcing us to look back. Not just on the closing season, but seemingly on the entire year to date. At least, that’s the effect that it tends to have on me. It’s not a bad thing. It’s just something that happens. Maybe it does for you, too? Anyway, ‘Doin’ Time’ is a classic late 90’s jam from the seminal third-wave Ska band, Sublime. For those of you that are a little younger, it was also covered by Lana Del Rey in 2019. Regardless of which version you prefer, the song is a Summer staple. Its chill, meditative vibe is best served with a cold Corona and lime while slouched in your comfiest beach chair. The song itself sees the narrator looking back on the situations he’s recently found himself in, all the while immersed in the easy living vibes of a hot, steamy Summer. An in-depth look at the lyrics prove to be somewhat bitter, but the music and vibe go down smooth as strawberry margaritas on a warm, cool August evening.
3) (Sittin’ On The) Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding
I’m from Long Island, New York. I’ve lived on the South Shore basically my whole entire life. While I’ve never lived on literal beachfront property, I’ve also never truly been more than a 5-minute drive from the water, either. Generally speaking, the closest body of water to me has always been the Great South Bay, and now the Shinnecock Bay, and so this song has always really resonated with me. It’s an especially chill Summer song. It beckons memories of lazy days spent doing nothing but kicking back and relaxing. The song itself caresses your ears with the gentle sounds of lapping waves, and carefree whistling, with the narrator encouraging us to clear our minds, and enjoy the tranquil sounds of Summer on the water. If there was ever a song that embodies the spirit of “Time you enjoy wasting is never wasted,” ‘(Sittin’ On The) Dock of the Bay’ would be it.
2) Cruel Summer – Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift is on fire lately. One of the things that make her great is her innate ability to connect with her fans, and ‘Cruel Summer’ is no exception. The song details the narrator’s highly painful experience while falling for a Summer crush. Ah yes, the Summer romance. Many of us have been there as kids. School is out. You have what feels like a lifetime ahead of you. The world is suddenly bright, sunny, and full of flowers, and you’ve found yourself “in love” for the first time. Suddenly, as quickly as it began, the Summer ends, and your supposed love life comes crashing down along with it. It’s a classic tale of teenage woe. So, with this song, Taylor Swift elicits those memories of “love” lost, while coupling them with smooth, synth vibes cascading to a beautiful crescendo as the song comes to a close. If you’re the poetic type you might even liken Swift’s tale of love lost to Summer giving way to the brisk, cold air of Fall.
1) The Boys of Summer by Don Henley
Sometimes I like to try and dig deep, and surprise the reader with my picks. Other times it’s all too obvious. Why try and reinvent the wheel, right? In 1984, Don Henley wrote the quintessential Summer song, and in my opinion, no one has bettered him since. Really, what’s not to love? It’s chill. It’s anthemic. It’s seemingly upbeat, with a deep, dark melancholic underbelly. If Summer could be described in terms of old school, black and white noir, ‘The Boys of Summer’ would be the plot. Recently, Taylor Swift brought us back to a time when young love slipped through our adolescent fingers, but here Don Henley has taken things to the next level. The song is steeped in nostalgia and yearning for seemingly better times and lost ideals of previous generations. A quote by writer Tim Lowery basically sums it up best: “Anyone who claims not to feel chill when Henley recounts seeing a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac probably needs a pulse check. This is beachside existentialism 101.”
That wraps up my Top-5 Songs that Make Us Think of Summer. I hope you’re allowing the chill vibes to wash over you like cool ocean water. While Summer may be over, there’s still time to soak up the sun and hit the beach…in your mind at least. Now all that’s left for you to do is go hunting for all of these records, but don’t stop there! There are dozens upon dozens of fun and interesting Summer themed records waiting to be discovered. Until next time, keep on spinning.
A different version of this article (written by myself) originally appeared here: https://enjoytheriderecords.com/blogs/collector-contributions/songs-for-the-end-of-summer
Dig this article? Check out the full archives of Stories from the Stacks, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/stories-from-the-stacks-archives/