music

Summer 2015 Playlist

Last year, I shared my summer playlist and for months afterward, I listened to those songs. I love how that specific playlist will forever be associated with housesitting, trying new recipes, walking around neighborhoods that were not my own, road trips, making the most of long days, and reconnecting with friends. I shared my affection for Summer, as a season a few weeks ago. In that post, I wrote about recklessness:

I loved Summer as a kid, loved leaving my house after breakfast and returning just before dinner. I loved the freedom of being outside, away from authority, from rules. I loved riding my bike to the ice-cream shop, to the library, stacks and stacks of books, stories waiting for me to discover them. Even as I got older and worked through the Summers, there was a hint of recklessness to our decisions we might have overlooked when class was in session. We stayed awake a bit longer, drank one or two or four more drinks. We smiled more easily, worried only about getting too much sun. I’ve always been a bit too serious, and Summer gave me a chance to let things slide, to say things I might not otherwise say, to share more of myself, to run into the crashing waves, or hold hands a moment too long. Summer has never been about standing still, not for me.

This summer is time to think, to read, to listen to music a bit too loud, to eat plums, fresh seafood and ignore the way your clothes stick to you in the heat. It is for staying up too late, traveling, reading, and rolling down the windows for the almost cool night air. It is for secrets told on back porches, laughter drifting across lawns, for remembering and forgetting, for throwing yourself into projects, into conversations, into something new.

Depending on what Summer represents to you, you may have differing opinions on what makes a good playlist for the season. The songs here are not all current, though many of them are what I'm listening to right now, on road trips, during workouts, while washing dishes, doing laundry. It's the music in the background of my conversations and emails. For me, there's just a feeling, a vibe that accompanies collections of songs for a season, particularly Summer. You'll have to listen for yourself to see if it works for you.

I brought up quite a bit of music in my currently, July post so I won't emphasize those artists here. Some highlights I think you'll love:

Sam Bruno "Search Party," This song is going to be everywhere pretty soon because it's featured on the Paper Towns Soundtrack, and when you listen to it you'll understand why.

Glass Animals "Gooey" I've been obsessed with this song since at least April. There's just something about it that makes me smile. The entire album is good; I particularly like "Black Mambo."

Adam Lambert "Ghost Town" You may have heard this on the radio already. If you want to call it a guilty pleasure then do so. I'm actually enjoying everything I've heard off the album so far. I have "Underground" on my July playlist.

Major Lazer featuring Wild Belle "Be Together" I got the privilege of seeing Major Lazer two years ago at Pygmalion and it was pretty crazy. I did not know much before I went to the show, but this most recent album is excellent. "Lean On" is getting a lot of radio play and "Powerful" is another highlight, but I think this song is my favorite.

#reverb14: summertime blues

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Summer Time Blues  It’s mid-summer and we’ve got the summer time blues. Tell us how you’re feeling at this mid-summer check in point. Do you have the summer time blues? How do you snap out of it? Or if you’re still loving summer, what’s been going great? What I want to know is where did July go? Do you know that feeling when you're on a really excellent vacation, the anticipation of it ending? How you are almost pre-emptively sad, which makes it difficult to enjoy the actual moments you're experiencing? That is how I feel right now about Summer. I see the calendar days tick by; I see the deadlines looming. And yet, I'm still trying desperately to hang on to the time I have left, to enjoy the absence of structured days before classes begin and time is no longer mine to experiment with making smoothies and sandwich spreads.

I have had an incredible few months traveling, trying recipes, attempting to work and write and research. But I'm feeling the pressure to get stuff done, which sometimes prevents me from enjoying the moment I'm in. I'm always thinking about what I need to do next. This is not only a summertime problem, but a lifelong one.

Here's a perfect example: I'm eating breakfast with M,  delicious Cheerios Medley Crunch with blueberries, which seriously you HAVE to try; they're amazing. Instead of enjoying the time with M, or noticing the cardinals outside the window, or even focusing on how fresh the blueberries are, I am thinking about lunch. I'm thinking about it out loud, planning, talking about what's leftover from the night before, what groceries we need, or might need. Sometimes I even go so far as to talk about dinner. I like to plan my meals, make sure I have all the ingredients, prepare myself mentally for the day ahead, and I like having a plan because I'm less apt to crave crappy food if I know what and when I'm eating. The thing is, as much as I can rationalize the behavior, it's also kind of annoying, particularly to other people, to always be thinking about the next thing you're doing. It sucks the joy out of the moment in front of me.

M is a good sport about it and usually teases me or says something like, "can we get through this meal first before we plan dinner?" Usually I can snap back into the moment. I tend to be like this about other things, too, and it's a coping mechanism for feeling some modicum of control in my life. I know that trying to control things is futile, but I'm neurotic and I deal the best way that I can. Listening to music is my saving grace. I listen to music whenever I can. It changes my mood like nothing else. Coffee comes close, but music is the true salve. I spend time making playlists, reading music blogs and magazines, but I also listen to a variety of radio stations, and find music through apps like Pandora, iTunes radio and Spotify.

One of the things I love about mixes and playlists, are hearing songs I love but aren't in my current rotation. This happened last night on my walk when Alabama Shakes came on.  When I first heard the band, on either an NPR story or a Pitchfork feature, I was instantly hooked. Brittany Howard is beyond, like otherwordly good. There's something about her voice that pushes to a place deep inside and fills you up. One of my favorites, and the one that came on last night is "You Ain't Alone". The song is about being afraid to be vulnerable. "Are you scared to wear your heart out on your sleeve?" But the last lines, get me every single time: "you ain't alone just let me be your ticket home."

If you've somehow managed to not hear Alabama Shakes then I highly recommend you give their album a chance. One of the songs, "Hold On," was used on a commercial so you've probably heard it even if you were not aware. And though the music itself is intense and blues-y. It is sure able to cure me of my own.