While I'm over here half pretending the Fall Semester isn't just around the corner and half trying to get as much work done as possible, you're probably doing something similar, soaking in the last of Summer before things get hectic again. I did a ton of work this Summer (taught an online course, completed an article and started on another one, worked on writing procedures and training for online tutoring which we're in the process of implementing, served on a search committee whose work is ongoing, presented at two conferences, represented our Chapter at Phi Kappa Phi Convention) and inside of all that I tried to take some time to enjoy my "time off". It's a really tough balancing act. And if anyone has tips on how to create boundaries for your time, I'd love to know what you do. I do get concerned over the amount of things I take on and how I manage my mental/emotional health. Music has been a mainstay of self-care, though I wasn't always conscious of it as such.
Music has always been a huge part of my life, of my downtime (if that exists). My father has wide-ranging music tastes and I learned early in life the power of music, particularly for personalities like my own. There was frequently music in my house, much moreso than television. I used to carry my record player everywhere I was allowed. I've recounted the story of receiving my first "boom box" which my father found at a yard sale and the summers spent making mix tapes that my brother and I would skate to on our back patio.
I think of periods of my life in place and music: where did I live? what was my soundtrack?
I've been making playlists on Spotify since 2011. I've been making Summer playlists since 2014. I've tried to articulate what a Summer playlist involves and it isn't always just "what I'm listening to now" instead I've cultivated this music to evoke Summer both now and in the future when I'm longing for less structure and more time. If you're interested, you can follow me on Spotify and see past playlists. This summer I've traveled, worked, written, tried new recipes, and spent time at the pool. I think this playlist (in some ways) reflects all of those activities, though admittedly it's more mellow than past lists.
If you haven't heard the King Princess song "1950" you should listen now! Mikaela Strauss, is a 20-year-old singer/songwriter whose album Make My Bed is out now. "1950" probably has the most radio play on XM but "Talia" is incredibly good, as well.
Denis Lloyd's "Nevermind" has been on rotation since June and I each time I hear it, I find something new to like. He's an Israeli singer who remixes many of his own songs. I think "Nevermind" has been around a while, but the most recent vision hit airwaves this Summer and was named by Time as a "song of the summer".
Khalid (not to be confused with DJ Khaled) makes this year's playlist twice! I talked up his album American Teen last year and continue to be impressed with his sound. His song with DJ Martin Garrix, "Ocean" is beautiful and romantic, and a little cliche but it's forgivable because Khalid's voice is so good. Besides, in my Summer music you're going to stumble onto some cliches; that's just how it goes. The other Khalid collaboration here is with Normani. "Love Lies" is all over the radio right now. It's the counter to the romantic ballad of "Ocean".
The most intriguing song on this playlist is probably "Holding On" by Nashville-based band Nightly. It kept coming up on random Spotify playlists and each time I would stop and see what song it was. I hope they have a new album soon; I'd like to hear more of their sound.
Donna Missel's "Thrills" is incredible. Her voice is so powerful and the song itself is empowering, sexy, and once you hear it, you want to hear it again.
There's definitely a smoother, slower pace to some of this year's tunes but if you're wanting a roll your windows down song look no further than "Burn the House Down" by AJR, which if it isn't getting radio play yet, it will soon. There's also The Knocks' "Ride or DIe" which features vocals from Foster the People's Mark Foster. It also has one of my favorite lines of all summer songs, "Who needs a license when you got no drive?" Clever.