Print Edition: July 15, 2015
Summer is a magical time of year, when all seems as it should be. Some songs, even in the dark, rainy months, can make us feel sunny on the inside.
Bananarama — “Cruel Summer”
This song (not to be confused with the crappy remake by Ace of Base) became popular because of its use in the classic 1984 film The Karate Kid (not to be confused with the crappy remake starring Jaden Smith). It’s about summer’s underbelly; overheating, separation from someone you love. In the film, it really drove home how Daniel LaRusso felt alienated in his new California school, which provided the impetus for him to learn karate. Wax on!
DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince — “Summertime”
By 1991, Will Smith was 23 years old, star of a television sitcom, and had moved past the novelty songs like “Parents Just Don’t Understand” that had started his career. “Summertime” has an easy groove that lets you know that everything is going to be all right if you just pop open a fire hydrant.
Toro y Moi — “Empty Nesters”
In the doldrums of last winter, this song got released and I thought, “Summer will come again.” And it did.
Hüsker Dü — “Celebrated Summer”
Clocking in at 4:03, this song, off their second full-length, Flip Your Wig, is twice as long as most of what the band had produced up to this point. But their growing maturity, coupled with nostalgia for their unsupervised, unhelicopter-parented summers, brought out some new tones in their 1980s Minnesota garage hardcore. “Getting out of school meant getting out of hand. Was this your celebrated summer?”
The Beach Boys — “Good Vibrations”
Need I say more? Go see that Brian Wilson biopic, by the way. So good.