Welcome friends and strangers to the season of weekly sunburns, triple-digit afternoon temperatures, noisy cicada nights, and weekend beach trips. We made it through winter and the thawing of spring (if you’re lucky enough to get all four seasons). Between cold nights and pandemic-induced isolation, this summer promises to be a rambunctious return to in-person activities.
With that in mind, may I present the first in a series of musical recommendations to prepare your summer playlists for the oncoming wave of pool parties, road trips, and movie nights. (And, if you need more to do, come to Montauk.)
This first installation is driven by joyful readiness for a summer in person…for outdoor gatherings and neighborhood pool parties, family barbecues, and like-family friend outings to the coast. Lively and hopeful, there’s plenty of soulful rhythm to confidently parade you into summer.
First up, “On and On” by Curtis Harding.
This musical homage to Motown is a perfect soundtrack for moving out of a rough year into (hopefully) a better season. From the lyrics of “I’m gonna keep rolling on, no matter what the world may do” to an invigorating trombone track to herald you forward, “On and On” is the best way to start a summer weekend.
The only way to follow the aforementioned brass is with the jubilance of “I NEED You” by Jon Batiste.
The hardest moment of your summer will be not dancing to this joyful anthem of community and perseverance.
May I suggest continuing the hip-shaking with “Se Acabó” by Colombian group Bomba Estéreo?
This lively electro-pop fusion of Columbian and African rhythms will have you swaying from pool-side to beachside.
Moving along as you move along, we have British singer and songwriter Celeste with “Stop This Flame.”
This R&B piano-driven song starts soft but quickly steps up the tempo with a hi-hat jazzy percussion. Again, good look not swinging around the deck with this one.
In celebration of returning to the friends we missed and the places we love, up next is “Home” by Caribou.
Don’t let the relaxed intro fool you. This mash-up of tropical haus and R&B is a warm and soothing backdrop to make any calm summer moment perfect.
Our jazz adjacent adventure takes a Cajun-influenced turn with “Déballez” by New Orleans-based Sweet Crude.
“Déballez,” which translates to “unwind,” is a vigorous anthem for connection to loved ones.
“Want Me Back,” by Cody Fry featuring Cory Wong of Vulfpeck, and Dynamo is a little pop, a little funk, and again, will get you moving.
(C’mon, last year all we did was sit at home. Move. Your. Body.)
Lastly, we’re bringing it home with “Sabali” by Amadou & Mariam.
Best enjoyed with new friends, a glass of something cold, and right at twilight as the temperatures drop from outright insane to just a little crazy.
And that’s it for now.
Au revoir my fellow melomaniacs. Should you survive that first-of-summer-super-red-sunburn, I’ll see you at part two.