Published on June 3rd, 2014 | by Randall Castillo0
SOUND Summer Playlist 2014
Oh boy — here we are: the time of year we’ve all been eagerly anticipating since the last of the leaves fell off the trees and we were forced to take those heavy winter coats out of storage. Summer, graciously, is finally once again upon us.
As is summertime tradition, SOUND rolls out its annual list of warm weather tracks, tailor-made to accompany your life of freedom and sun. Let’s get to it.
“My Own Worst Enemy” – Lit
Forget #fbf’s and #tbt’s — this, ladies and gentlemen, is truly a throwback. Coming off of their major label debut A Place in the Sun (aptly named for this list), there was simply no better way to kick this summer off than with Lit’s pre-millennium radio hit.
That opening riff is so memorable that it teeters on “new classic”, but be warned: upon listening, you might not be able to resist the urge to read a Buzzfeed article on “20 Things Only Kids Who Grew Up in the 90’s Remember.” Furthermore, “My Own Worst Enemy” is a fantastic friend filter. To wit: if you blast this bad boy in the car and aren’t greeted by a raucous sing-along as the chorus hits, you might need to find yourself a new crew.
“Pull My Heart Away” – Jack Penate
British vocalist Jack Penate’s claims to fame go beyond being close friends with equally-British, also-vocalist Adele. The man boasts some pleasing chops of his own, and they serve him well on “Pull My Heart Away”, a great carefree background track for seasonal backyard hangs and the like.
Not much has come from Penate in the last few years, but according to his Twitter bio he is currently writing an album. It’s safe to say we’re all on board with that.
“Latch” – Disclosure
Brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence dropped their debut album Settle almost a full year ago, and “Latch” made waves overseas way back in 2012, peaking at number 11 on the UK Singles chart at the time. Leave it to us thick-headed Yanks to take so long catch on—the track has been rapidly gaining steam over the past few months here in the U.S. thanks in large part to the quickly emerging relevance of featured (and massively talented vocalist) Sam Smith.
And although less heralded tracks like “White Noise”, “Defeated No More” and “January” are just as deserving of making your Summer Playlist here in ‘14, “Latch” will, with almost complete certainty, become the go-to anthem for the coming months. It’s just that damn good.
“Cool Kids” – Echosmith
Following the trend of both sibling bands (see above), and remarkably young talent like New Zealand’s Lorde , Echosmith’s lead vocalist Sydney Sierota was all of sixteen years old at the time of recording their freshman effort, Talking Dreams. With a fun, poppy vibe that manages to stay grounded, “Cool Kids” covers blissfully youthful subject matter without losing sonic or musical maturity, making it a perfect fit for a summer bound to come and go too soon.
“Aston Martin Music” – Rick Ross (feat. Drake, Chrisette Michele)
A summer devoid of hip-hop is not summer at all, and Rick Ross’s tendencies to serve up easy beats with breezy undertones is just the kind of record to fill that niche. Featuring equally pleasing vocals are both Chrisette Michele and Drake, who—whatever your thoughts are on the artist—does what he does best: relaxed, emotional lyrical accompaniment. You may not have an Aston Martin (and if you do, uh, shoot me a text), but that doesn’t make this any less satisfying of a windows-down-music-up song for highway summer cruising.
“Waiting For You” – Grizfolk
Relative newcomers Grizfolk made the short list of our “New Music Rundown” in November for songs featured on debut EP From the Spark, a great collection of fantastic original work. Coming from this same EP, “Waiting for You” is a grand, travelling adventure with themes of finding yourself in the world around you. Musically, it just sounds like a road trip sunset. Both of these work perfectly for us; a well-earned spot on our playlist and on your speakers all summer long.
“Life of the Party” – The Weeknd
If your house-party soundtrack lacks a little scandal and grit, look no further than The Weeknd’s typically dark and dirty bass bumper. Serving as what has, in music, become an extremely popular practice, the song is more or less an anthem to drugs and sex, and even the music alone gives away the less-than-savory intentions of the lyrics, so keep this one away from the kids. Otherwise, it’s good for a change of pace from the happier and less salacious tracks you’ll find elsewhere on this list. Don’t do anything we wouldn’t do.
“Raised On It” – Sam Hunt
This is the fourth iteration of SOUND’s Summer Playlist, and yet this is the first time in that 4 year run where a country song has been included. 2011 was very close to featuring Joe Nichol’s “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off”, 2012 barely missed out on Jason Aldean’s “Dirt Road Anthem”, and last year had Luke Bryan’s “Someone Else Calling You Baby” before it was axed last minute.
I know: “For shame!” But I’m not sure the world was quite ready until now, and even at this point we’re easing everyone in. Take for example Sam Hunt’s “Raised On It”—a catchy, safe summertime track that covers a lot of the basics for both newcomers and seasoned veterans alike. As the genre gains momentum with the general public, expect to see a closer emergence between it and pop, as the search for new musicians begins to focus on marketable personalities (and faces) with a good story. Hunt, for example, fills this mold exactly: A college football player with NFL ambitions before deciding to take the music route. And especially for those finding themselves attracted to country for the first time, this is a great place to start.
“Do It Again” – Royksopp & Robyn
Royksopp (sorta) made the roster in our inaugural list back in 2011 for their remix of Lady Gaga’s “Judas.” This year, they’ve teamed up with other female super-vocalist Robyn to produce both an EP and a European and North American tour. Finally getting the wide-spread attention they deserve, we also felt their standout single deserved to make the list this year, with a solid (but not too intense) electro-pop feel.
“Breathless” – Bassnectar
This song is hard to put into words, probably because it doesn’t really have any words. It stands on its own, however, as a lively instrumental that moves in ways reminiscent of a living organism; a colorful, spinning display of bass and electronic strings that is, much like “Aston Martin Music” a great track to go along with an equally engaging drive, sans windows.
“III. telegraph ave. (“Oakland”) – Childish Gambino
For those who have been following SOUND for some time—and especially returning audiences from past iterations of this list, specifically—the fact that Donald Glover’s rap alias has once again made the cut will come as no surprise whatsoever. We’ve been fans of the Community alum’s music for several years now, and his most recent LP has been earning the rapper more mainstream attention than ever before. A highly ambitious outing, Because the Internet is a concept album unlike any before it: the release was preceded by a short film, and an online screenplay accompanied the album’s story, all tying together concepts from Glover’s previous work as it attempts to tell a brand new narrative.
The song itself is available in two iterations; there’s the album version, with an intro from HOT 97’s Yesi Ortiz and a first verse being partially sung by Lloyd. But the version we prefer—embedded here—is the ”single version” available on the artist’s Soundcloud. The beat—an extremely cool, 90’s-ish, 808-tribal affair with enticing choral effects—is the track’s backbone, and was first heard at the conclusion of the trailer for the album’s short film, Clapping for the Wrong Reasons. And it’s this version that really puts the beat on display. Not a bad way to end part 1.