By Daniel Ford (From Blown Speakers)
It’s summertime in the Natural State, which according to the thermometer means I should actually have titled this post “Songs To Sit Inside and Cherish the Modern Miracle of Air Conditioning To.” Fayettechill’s clothing, while obviously well-suited for all the outdoor activities your heart could possibly desire, also holds up remarkably well during such strenuous activities as couch-sitting or-- my own personal favorite--standing in front of the refrigerator with the freezer door open.
But, to those of you more intrepid readers who are willing to brave the sun’s harsh rays in search of summertime adventure, I’ve compiled a list of songs that I think pair nicely with just that. (I’ve also included them in a Spotify playlist linked to below). So go forth and swim, run, paddle, sweat, pick blueberries, road trip, climb, hike, and most importantly, listen to this music and tell me that you like it so that I feel validated and important.
SONG TO PLAY ALL THE TIME REALLY LOUD NO MATTER WHAT YOU’RE DOING:
“Sunday Candy” by Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment
I cheated on this one, but only because it is THE certified Song of the Summer™ according to yours truly. Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment, a collective of musicians most notably including Chance the Rapper (who is the star of this particular song), recently released a free album called Surf and it is fantastic. This track is the cream of the very good crop. It’s almost as if a really good marching band mated with a gospel choir and through some freak genetic accident birthed a feel-good hip hop ode to grandmothers. Blast it every occasion you get.
SONGS TO CLIMB MOUNTAINS TO:
“First Breath After Coma” by Explosions in the Sky
“Go Do” by Jonsi
It’s morning and you walk groggily into your living room, which is littered with the snoring bodies of your friends. You stomp around in the kitchen and bang cabinets until they wake up. “Let’s go climb Pinnacle,” they say to you, “it’ll be fun, we’ll sweat out all the toxins.” So you start climbing the hard side of Pinnacle, which is still pretty easy, and slowly all the color drains from your face and your insides begin to churn in revolt. It’s hot and you’re thinking you may not make it.
But wait, just another couple of boulders until you’re at the top.
You’ve made it to the “peak” and now you’re flat on your back praying to anyone that will listen to keep you from dying. You’re an athlete, you’re a champion, you’ve summited the unsummitable. It’s time to let the gorgeous crescendo of Austin, TX post-rock band, Explosions in the Sky, wash over you as you survey the domain you have conquered.
As for Jonsi’s “Go Do”--if Matt Damon bought a damn zoo to this song (in the aptly titled “We Bought a Zoo”), surely it will inspire you enough to get out of your house and hike Devil’s Den.
SONGS TO DRIVE ON BACKROADS WITH YOUR WINDOWS DOWN TO:
“Green Aisles” by Real Estate
“Weekend” by Smith Westerns
“Weight” by Mikal Cronin
Though country music often explicitly proclaims the value of driving on back roads (almost as much as it proclaims the value of jean cutoffs, tailgates, and cold beer), I’ve picked a trio of indie rock songs perfect for cruising along the winding highways of Arkansas. I could have picked any song by Real Estate, a band seemingly cooked up in a lab expressly for the purpose of soundtracking that time of day just before the sun sets when everything is cloaked in the perfect Instagram filter. The other two selections were chosen for how well they sound at high volumes accompanied by only the wind and expert finger-on-the-steering-wheel drumming.
SONGS FOR GETTING WEEPY AND NOSTALGIC AND SLOW DANCING ON DOCKS OR AROUND CAMPFIRES:
“Oh So Protective One” by Girls
“River” by Leon Bridges
Both of these songs have a throwback aesthetic perfect for the end of a summer night spent waxing poetic with old friends and then your friends slink away and you’re left alone with a particularly attractive potential mate and you awkwardly move closer and charm them with your debonair dance moves. That happens to everyone all the time, so it’s best you be prepared with the appropriate soundtrack. Leon Bridges is going to be a star (if he’s not already) so jump on that train early and your dance partner will always remember you as a real trendsetter. Everybody likes a trendsetter.