Published on July 19th, 2013 | by Randall Castillo0
SOUND Summer Playlist ’13 (Pt. 2)
We’ve got a good, full month of summer under our belts, and hopefully the first half of our annual playlist served as an adequate soundtrack for that. But even the best music list is only good for so long, especially beneath the heat of an angry sun that only burns hotter and brighter as the days wear on. With that in mind, we’re quenching your thirst for even more music with a healthy batch of tracks more refreshing than that cold pitcher of lemonade you can’t stop thinking about. The second half of your summer begins right now.
“Royals” – Lorde
Setting off the last half of this year’s playlist is a song that’s been making the rounds and steadily gaining momentum across the social networking sphere. If you haven’t heard “Royals” yet, give it a listen before revisiting this description and soaking in an incredible fact: this chick is 16 years old. That’s right—while the majority of her generation were out YOLO-ing and getting in fights with their parents, the native New Zealander was busy putting out an EP that includes this track. And it just might become your new lazy-day anthem of summer.
“Awakening” – Empire of the Sun
Five years is far too long to go without new music from our favorite Australian synthpop duo. Alas, we’ve waited patiently for a follow-up to 2008’s Walking On A Dream, and — as we’ve been promised since childhood — our patience has paid off and good things have come. Ice On the Dune enters 2013 as (very probably) the best album of the year thus far, powered by the strength of their main single “Alive.”
Summer, however, has different plans for us — if we could only pick one Empire of the Sun song to accompany you over the remaining months, this would be it.
“Let the Groove Get In” – Justin Timberlake
The world recently welcomed Justin Timberlake back to music, following a years-long hiatus so the former Mouseketeer could focus on a budding career in film. And, as the old *NSYNC front-man has proven, when you’ve got it, you’ve got it.
This particular track stands out from the rest of The 20/20 Experience with a healthy dose of Latin influence, channeling the likes of Gloria Estefan in a conga and brass-heavy accompaniment. Images of beachside tropical climates and hot summer nights abound, perfect for the most sweltering portions of July and August.
“Hurting” – Friendly Fires
I should just go ahead and be upfront with this: if I could, I would take the entire album Pala and make it the “Official SOUND Summer Playlist” every year from now until the end of time. In my opinion, no singular LP better encapsulates the mood, look and feel of the season than this, the second effort from English band Friendly Fires. From the artwork, to the actual music, to the emotions it conjures when it spins, Pala is hands-down my favorite summer album of all time. Every track—including this year’s honoree “Hurting” exudes a fresh, bright emotion that immediately elicits the smell of chlorine and sunscreen.
Put another way, somewhere in my mind there exists this ideal, imaginary summer memory of a gigantic pool party with every friend and loved one I know in attendance. The drinks are ice-cold. Food off the grill is fresh and plentiful. Old acquaintances do cannonballs into the water, while new friends shade themselves beneath palm trees. It is pure, unadulterated summertime bliss. And the only song I can hear to go alongside this daydream is this particular song from this particular album.
Maybe it’ll do the same for you.
“Swimming Pools (Drank)” – Kendrick Lamar
Representing one of the most important new names in rap comes this track from Kendrick Lamar’s major label debut, good kid, m.A.A.d. city. Its application to the warm-weather months is clear from the song’s title, but the laid-back mood and syrupy-slow background synth also contribute to this sensation, creating an illusion of slowly drifting over water — the perfect hip-hop tune to stay with you across the next several weeks (and beyond).
“Summer Summer” – The Almost
There was a time in our lives when summers were, more than anything, merely a waiting period between years in school. I’ve long left that part of my life behind, but I still remember the feeling: sudden freedom, an explosion of “must-do” summer activities and an eventual bout of stir-craziness and a certain kind of cabin fever due to a glaring lack of structural rigidity and an impatient mother. For about two weeks, you’re actually itching to get back to school (and your mom can’t wait for you to get back, either). I think this is the emotion that “Summer Summer” taps into. In other words, if and when that time comes and you find yourself knee-deep in the summer doldrums, take solace in a track that knows exactly how you feel.
“Electric Forest (ft. Cassadee Pope)” – I See Stars
I would be remiss if I didn’t allow a song with some elements of metal to sneak onto this list. Yes, there are a few seconds of that dreaded “screamo” your father always warned you about, embedded carefully in the song’s intro and again at the end. But bear with it (and maybe even enjoy it), and let yourself live alongside the sincerity and drama of an awesomely serious and somewhat intense summertime ride.
“Do or Die (ft. Childish Gambino)” – Flux Pavilion
So maybe I cheated, finding a way to get decorated SOUND alum Childish Gambino onto both parts of this year’s playlist. But technically, this spot belongs to English DJ Joshua Steele, better known by his stage name “Flux Pavilion,” a famed dubstep DJ best known for his overused and oversampled single “I Can’t Stop.” That being said, “Do or Die” makes the cut as a collaborative effort, with the confident and well-crafted lyrics courtesy of Donald Glover’s notable gift of gab. Meanwhile, Steele punctuates the flow with bass hits that will challenge even your worthiest speakerbox setup, and together the pair creates magic in the form of music — the perfect companion to your warm weather golden hour adventures.
“Get Up and Go” – Bad Rabbits
Fans of the ESPN2 morning show “First Take” — a two-hour affair that features one loud, dumb white dude and one loud, dumb black dude yelling at each other for 120 minutes — probably know this track all too well. Stephen A. Smith, one of the aforementioned shouting heads, faithfully uses this song as his introductory music from time to time. But please don’t let that fact ruin this song for you. “Get Up and Go” more than holds its own, obnoxious sports personalities aside.
“Big Day” – Tahiti 80
This is a fun one. Hailing from France, Tahiti 80 is a smalltime indie-pop outfit with disco influences aplenty. Although Fosbury (the band’s third studio album) made its debut in 2005, this new-wave disco trend has been coming along strong in 2013, just as we predicted a year ago. As a result, we imagine “Big Day” will be right at home, no matter the place or time you choose to let it spin.
“Lucky Suit/One Midnight With You” – The Hood Internet
And that does it for this year’s summer playlist.
“Wait!” you cry. “There’s still one left!” Well, sort of. The remaining tracks, brought to you by mashup sensations The Hood Internet, are meant as more of an afterthought. Music for the end credits, so to speak.
Blending this year’s behemoth Top 40 singles by Daft Punk and Justin Timberlake comes a perfect match no one else saw coming, followed by a pretty brilliant pairing between last year’s radio darling — M83’s “Midnight” — and the Motown-y 2011 single by Mayor Hawthorne, “No Strings.” All four are worthy contenders on their own, but by bringing them together, the boys over at The Hood Internet have given us new ways to enjoy old favorites, as well as the perfect outro for this list.
And there we are. Now, enough time in front of that damn screen. Go. Get out there. Make the most of your remaining weeks in the sun — by the time winter rolls around, these are the days you’re going to fondly look back on, pining for that wondrous summer of 2013. So make it count. Get into some trouble. Do some good. And, as always, make sure whatever it is you’re into has the appropriate accompanying soundtrack providing the backdrop. Hopefully we helped a little with that.
Until next year. ♦ ♦ ♦