With Memorial Day weekend officially coming to a conclusion, it is time to create a new Spotify playlist for my compiled annual list of 2013’s songs of summer. These are the songs that should be on repeat during the next three months of air conditioning, fro yo and watching the last season of Dexter.
As a bonus, check out my Summer Anthems list from last year!
“Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities
“I could show you love | In a tidal wave of mystery | You’ll still be standing next to me”… The Los Angeles duo known as Capital Cities deliver a feel-good optimistic message in this undeniably catchy indie-pop song that has summer anthem stamped all over it. Bonus points to any song that includes an addictive trumpet riff.
“Falling” by Haim
“Into the fire feeling higher than the truth | I’m falling | I can feel the heat but I’m not burning”… Blending sounds of folk, pop and R&B, this Los Angeles group concoct a song that begs to be danced to in the middle of a California desert. Fun Fact: Haim is the last name of the three sisters in this group: Este, Danielle and Alana Haim. This generation’s Wilson Phillips?
“Alive” by Empire of the Sun
“Say hello to the future | Freedom is within you | Giving makes us feel good”… Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore are back!… and no those aren’t the names of the latest Sean Cody sensations, but the Australian duo of Empire of the Sun who brought us one of the all-time summer anthems “Walking on a Dream.” Their latest single boasts anthemic singing and a declaration of feeling alive.
“Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Rey
“Hot summer nights mid July | When you and I were forever wild | The crazy days, the city lights | The way you’d play with me like a child”… the theme song of director Baz Luhrman’s splashy The Great Gatsby reboot is as hauntingly gorgeous as songstress Lana Del Rey’s debut single “Video Games.” Love or hate Gatsby or any other Baz-helmed film, you cannot deny the power of the scenes he crafts of two lovers who lay eyes on one another while the film’s theme song plays in the background. He hit the cinematic jackpot when Leonardo Dicaprio first sees Claire Danes in Romeo + Juliet set to the sounds of Desree’s “Kissing You”, and does it again when Leonardo’s Gatsby and Carey Mulligan’s Daisy reunite to “Young and Beautiful.”
“Waiting All Night” by Rudimental featuring Ella Eyre
“I’ve been waiting all night for you to tell me what you want | tell me, tell me that you need me”… “Waiting All Night” stormed to the top of the UK charts fueled by the perfectly paired drum and bass surge and the rich vocals of Ella Eyre. So whip out the glow sticks, blast this thumper on full-volume and listen to what the UK kids fell in love with.
Miguel featuring Mariah Carey Mariah Carey featuring Miguel
“You’re beautiful, good lord, you’re f-cking beautiful | And I cant pretend that that doesnt mean a thing to me”… okay, so truthfully Miguel owns this song and he overshadows Mimi very effortlessly. And yeah, the hashtag in the song title is a bit irksome and not one live performance of this song has slayed since its release. (Last week’s Good Morning America anyone?) But on the upside, a Mariah Carey single has not sounded this laid-back and groovy since “Always Be My Baby” which was released nearly 17 years ago. So hats off to MC!
“Love Is All I Got” by Feed Me with Crystal Fighters
“Wake your soul with love in the morning | Feed your soul with love in the evening | Expand your soul with love on the weekend | Cause love is all I got”… One wouldn’t think this was a typical Feed Me song until DJ Jon Gooch’s signature dubstep climax unleashes a minute and 15 seconds in. Bonus: Check out the equally catchy but different summer-worthy track “You & I” from Crystal Fighters.
“Imagine It Was Us” by Jessie Ware
“I don’t know if this is wrong, but it’s crept into my mind | I don’t know if this is love, but I think it’s worth a try”… Critics hailed her debut album as one of the best of last year, so when British singer-songwriter finally brought her Devotion album to the States, she thankfully included this 90s dancefloor groove. It’s a throwback to the pre-Y2K era when the dance songs were R&B-flavored and being belted out by Lisa Stansfield, Cathy Dennis and Tara Kemp. Jessie is just as much of a 90s bitch.
“Get Lucky” by Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams
“Like the legend of the phoenix | All ends with beginnings | What keeps the planet spinning | The force from the beginning”… Ever since reports surfaced that the electronic duo was back in the studio collaborating with disco pioneers Nile Rodgers and Giorgio Moroder, anticipation for new Daft Punk material reached fever pitch heights . The French musicians deliver a worthy comeback single featuring the silky smooth vocals of Pharrell Williams, living up to every fanclub member of the Daft Club’s expectations.
“Come and Get It” by Selena Gomez
“You got the kind of love that I want, let me get that | And baby once I get it, I’m yours no take-backs”… Selena Gomez? Selena Gomez?! Really?! Yes, really! Leave it to Taylor Swift’s B.F.F. to release that ineludible pop song that you can’t help but sing along to each and every billionth time that it is played. It’s that annoyingly catchy song that gets stuck inside your head all day. It’s that pop perfection classic you cannot escape. It’s that song you
hate to absolutely love.
Now stock those coolers full of ice and don’t forget to bring your koozie and headphones for it’s going to be one long, hot summer with a one helluva summer season soundtrack.
Forgive me blog, for I have been having a torrid love affair with both my iPad and Kindle Fire since they romanced their ways into my life over a month ago. The lack of an actual keyboard on both devices are my invalid excuse for not posting as frequently as I promised that I would this year. It’s not that a lot hasn’t happened in life either! Instead of posting one summarized account of my best friend’s wedding, losing my virginity to Coachella, visiting Cheri in L.A. and so forth, I will dedicate individualized posts to each Facebook Timeline-worthy event starting with L.A. and Coachella…
My dear friend Neil called me up from
St. Louis Chicago around February of this year to proclaim that he we were going to the Coachella Arts & Music Festival in Indio, California this year. Here’s the thing with Neil: when he wants to do something, he does it… and almost always, he demands company. Not that I would not go anywhere to hang out with him, it’s just the process in how I usually land in those situations that’s amusing. Sample example from last year:
Neil: Okie, where is there great cajun food in Tampa to eat?
Me: Cajun food? Here in Tampa? Um, I cannot think of anything.
Neil: Really? There’s nothing here? Hmmm… What are you doing tomorrow? Any plans?
Me: Tomorrow? No plans except that I have to be at a work meeting at 11am.
(10 minutes later)
Neil: Hey, pack your bags. We leave to New Orleans in a few hours. I just booked our flights and hotel rooms. We’ll land at 9pm tonight, enough time to eat at my favorite cajun restaurant in the French Quarter. You can can go back to the hotel to sleep afterwards. Your flight is at 7am tomorrow morning, enough time to make your 11am meeting. So get ready!
Me: You seriously just booked flights to New Orleans after you flew to Tampa from
St. Louis Chicago just because you were craving cajun food? I’m flying to New Orleans for 10 hours for your craving?
Neil: Pack your bags!
God I love Neil! So my first experience at Coachella was set for Weekend 1 of the music fest. I have been dying to attend for years, but never put actual motion to any plans. I was flying into L.A. on the Thursday night prior to see my friend Cheri and Ryan, going to The Abbey in West Hollywood that evening with them and then driving to Palm Springs early Friday morning to begin Operation: Coachella immersification.
Neil booked lodging at the SLS Beverly Hills which was pure ridiculous in how ornately posh the entire hotel decor was, and dinner at Gyu-Kaku was even more ridiculously amazing. If I did not have plans to go directly out after dinner, you can place all of your money on the truth that I would have devoured that place dry of food. Actually, I would have worn stretch pants and TOMS® to dinner, and then devoured that place dry of food. It was that good! Although my time with Cheri & Mike, Ryan and the city of Los Angeles was very brief, it was still worth every pounding sensation of the Mojito-migraine the very next morning.
I have been to California numerous times, actually lived there for a very brief time when I was in diapers, but I had never been to Palm Springs. Palm Springs is one of those places that I would become a resident when I’m in my 50’s, rolling in money and have nothing better to do in life than delegate jobs to a full-time staff consisting of a maid, personal chef, masseuse, gardener and interior decorator. Being in the California desert and surrounded by mountains every which way you turn was a refreshing change in scenery from that of Florida.
Anyone who knows me knows that music is my religion. For the opportunity to attend the Daddy Mack (or Mack Daddy based on your personal Kris Kross preference) of Music Festivals was heaven sent. I stalked the Coachella website online, downloaded the Coachella phone app, obsessed over the line-up and attempted envisioning how the whole weekend would play out.
Sample pre-Coachella obsessions: “How much of AVICII’s set in the Sahara Tent will I be able to enjoy before having to migrate over to the main stage to see Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg?” … “Will there be a defribillator nearby to revive me when I pass out if Madonna makes a surprise appearance like she did at ULTRA?” Everything that I thought Coachella would be turned out to be completely wrong… Coachella was even more!
Miike Snow and Feed Me weren’t on my original itinerary, and both turned out to be the two surprise sets that were my everything
Seeing Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg performing together was my middle school dream come true. Imagine how loud the place erupted when they performed “California Love”? And YES, I did see the Tupac hologram. One of my friends in the industry gave me a heads up that his friends in the industry had been working on it for quite some time, so it came as no surprise. YES, it looked life-life in person. I only wish that I had not known about it prior to the show so that I could truly be surprised.
Other highlights: Rihanna surprising the crowd during Calvin Harris’s DJ set for “We Found Love,” seeing Mazzy Star perform “Fade Into You,” just arriving at the outdoor stage to catch the last notes of Florence + the Machine’s “Only If For A Night,” the celebrity sightings galore, witnessing Kaskade literally set the Sahara Tent ablaze with his set, the sensory overload of Swedish House Mafia closing out night one, seeing Radiohead perform “Karma Police” and most importantly, spending time with my very dear and close friend Neil.
Everything about that weekend and my time at Coachella was just right. The weather (not scorching hot like I was previously hearing.) The drinks. The food. (A poutine food truck, seriously?) The people. The atmosphere. The location. The music. The world. I cannot think of a better time had than with 150,000 other lovers of music and art in that Californian desert.