Sunday, September 15, 2013

Steve's Songs of the Summer: 2013 Edition

Summer is winding down, and before we know it, another year will soon be in the books.  It's sad, but it's true.

In terms of pop culture, Summer is the defining era of each year.  Whether it's the Summer blockbuster, or the Summer beach read, Summer--for whatever reason--is the season that each year's cultural worth is judged by.  The kids are out of school.  And the business types who go on vacation are a little more relaxed.  When one thinks back to the good times in their life, summers undoubtedly rush to the front of the line.

The one mandatory pop culture discussion point is the Song of the Summer (hereinafter referred to as "The Song").  The Song is indelibly associated with carefree feelings, and it provides the soundtrack to the warm weather atmospheres of the year.    For example, the Summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college was defined by Eminem's The Eminem Show.  Indeed, I still remember 'Without Me' blaring in the background in the sticky evenings as all of us cooked steaks on the grill.

In honor of The Song, I'm proud to present my favorite Songs of the Summer 2013:

Daft Punk - 'Get Lucky'

This tune hit the beginning of Summer 2013 like a gauntlet.  Taking no prisoners with its discotheque sounds, 'Get Lucky' was Daft Punk's first non-soundtrack album since 2007.  With throwback bass beats and the smoldering smoothness of Pharell Williams, 'Get Lucky' saved even the very worst of dance parties in Summer 2013.

Vampire Weekend - 'Diane Young'

When Vampire Weekend first hit it big a few years ago, I was never much of a fan.  Their associations with J-Crew and the Ivy League never really inspired me.  But when the band released 'Diane Young' this summer, I found myself hooked.  The foursome had finally found the sound us Midwest kids could relate to.  With the Peter Frampton flavored modulated-chorus of "Bay-bee, bay-bee, bay-bee, ..." the band struck a special chord with me. And the undersigned was a huge fan of the band's performance of the single on SNL, which you can watch below.  (FYI - 'Ya Hey' is another excellent song from Modern Vampires of the City):

Phoenix - 'Trying to Be Cool'

'Tell me that you want me, tell me that you want me."  The seminal lyric from 'Trying to Be Cool' serves as one of the most memorable hooks from Summer 2013.  Combine that hook with the all-too-tasty keyboard distortions that buttress the song, and you have yourself a bonafide French Invasion  (not to be confused with the British Invasion).  'Trying to Be Cool' was also performed on SNL in 2013, which is the version featured below.

San Fermin - 'Sonsick'

'Sonsick' busts the mold of the traditional Summer song in many respects.  It's not breezy.  It's not the happiest.  But it has an infectious chorus that affects you vicerally.  It also features a nice array of horns.  During the Summer of 2013 I tended to hear this song on satellite radio at times I least expected to, and it hit the spot EVERY time.  

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