Call me crazy, but I truly believe you can put a season label on most albums. I mean, think about it – certain songs are best for snuggling under lots of blankets during a snowstorm. And some songs are just perfect for sitting in the sun or cruising with the top down (if you happen to be so lucky to own a car in which the top can come down).
Since Memorial Day has passed and we can officially wear white, it’s time we really start listening to summer music. Here are my top choices for music that is especially summery. Which means these albums put me in a fabulous mood… even when I’m lying in my bed rubbing aloe on my ailing limbs.
Drive-By Truckers- Brighter Than Creation’s Dark
Other than the Dave Matthews Band, what genre of music just screams summer (yes I’m considering Dave Matthews its own genre)? Well, country, of course. It’s pretty cliche, actually. People hanging out, tailgating in parking lots, wearing cowboy hats and singing Kenny Chesney. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a lover of Kenny, but like I said, it’s all kind of cliche. So, I choose Drive-By Truckers for my summer music.
They’re country in a totally alternative, Southern rock kind of way. Meaning they’re awesome. And not the tailgating type of country you generally think of as summer music. This is more summer music in terms of hanging out on the back porch and drinking some beer with your buddies. One of my favorite summer tunes from Brighter Than Creation’s Dark is “Righteous Path,” which is just the song many of us need to to aid us in making the right choices come summer: “I got the need to blow it out on Saturday night/I got a grill in the backyard and a case of beers/I got a boat that ain’t seen the water in years/More bills than money, I can do the math/I’m trying to keep focused on the righteous path.” But I’m also a fan of “Ghost to Most” and, of course, “Daddy Needs a Drink.” Because, yup, Daddy knows it’s summer.
Jason Mraz- We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things
Jason Mraz is the boy of summer. Again, he’s kind of like the non-country version of Kenny Chesney. Please excuse all my Kenny Chesney references, but Kenny basically is summer to me. But Jason Mraz is summer too. I mean, come on, the guy is barefoot 95% of the time, can be found on the beach, and wears beachy-type hats quite often. We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things is summery, but actually, all of Jason Mraz’s albums scream summer. Listen to “I’m Yours” and I have absolutely no doubt Jason will make you feel like you’re sitting on an island. You’re alone with him and he’s playing his banjo and singing to you about how much he loves you. That’s just how Jason Mraz is.
And if you had to name a female singer who reminds you of summer, Colbie Caillat would totally come to mind first. Jason obviously agreed as she joins him for “Lucky,” the most lay-in-a-hammock-sipping-lemonade-on-a-summer-night song ever. Jason and Colbie sing, “And so I’m sailing through the sea/To an island where we’ll meet/You’ll hear the music, fell the air/I’ll put a flower in your hair.” Jason Mraz makes me want to be on the beach. Preferably a private island. Right now.
The Hold Steady- Stay Positive
Again the boys of summer. Like Kenny Chesney… I’m kidding. They’re really not. They’re just summery, fun music. Another, drink-beer-with-the-boys-on-the-porch type album. I swear I’ve always thought this way about them, but when I heard Stay Positive has a song called “Constructive Summer” on it, I knew they were a summer band. “We’re gonna build something this summer/Summer grant us all the power/To drink on top of the water towers/With love and trust and shows all summer/Let this be my annual reminder/That we can all be something bigger.” How perfect are those lyrics? But the rest of the songs on the album are equally as fabulous; I especially love the title track because it’s all about staying positive, which is most easy to do in the summer months. The Hold Steady also has crazy fun fans, making the summer all the better. Of course, most of them are drunk, but isn’t that what the summer is for? The Hold Steady will help you loosen up a bit, which is something we can all use.