The best playlists (in my opinion) are ones that are eclectic but somehow loosely tied together either by sound, mood, theme, occasion, or something else, entirely. I could cop out here and say, "well, this is the stuff I'm listening to right now" and that would be true. But a Summer Playlist requires a little more care. I want my Summer playlist to serve as the backdrop, the soundtrack to the things I do. Lately, "what I do" has been traveling, driving, walking, sometimes working, sometimes relaxing. Summer tends to call up a sense of freedom, of days with very little planned, of hanging out with friends. Not all songs on this playlist were released in 2016 or 2017. Many of them were but I culled much of my monthly playlists for sounds, lyrics, songs that stayed with me. Playlists serve all sorts of purposes and making them is one of my favorite activities. If you're interested you can check out past playlists here and follow me on Spotify. I realize that I have a very specific aesthetic for what I like to listen to, but then again these playlists are for me. I share them because it's fun and because I discover music from many sources, so maybe you'll like something, too. Summer Playlist 2017's songs reflect the mood of Summer or at least give you a chance to imagine what this particular "playlist kind of Summer" would be like.
Maggie Rogers "On + Off" sets the tone for the playlist. This may be my favorite song on the whole playlist though SOHN's "Artiface" is a close second. Both songs have strong vocals over repetitive, thrumming that shifts and moves, Rogers over piano and SOHN over drum beats and synthesizers. It creates an electronica blues mix that I can't resist. SOHN's "Conrad" also makes the playlist, which is an even stronger blues song with soulful reminders, "I can feel it coming/we can never go back." And if that doesn't represent a summer moment I'm not sure what does.
Look, if Calvin Harris' collaboration Migos and Frank Ocean isn't the Song of the Summer, I'll be surprised. It certainly has the catchy pop quality of a summer song but there's also something in its synthy rhythm (technical term) that doesn't bug you when you hear it everywhere you go.
If you haven't listened to Khalid's American Teen you've been depriving yourself. Rolling Stone listed it on the 50 Best Albums of 2017 So Far . I particularly like "Location" and "Young Dumb and Broke" and while there are other excellent songs on the album like "Cold Blooded", these two have a specifically Summer vibe that allow lend themselves to more than one listen.
The Tame Impala remix of Miguel's "waves" is pure Summer playlist material. I'm a huge fan of Tame Impala and the lead singer Kevin Parker's producing talents show just how much of a musician he is.
"Wish I Knew You" by The Revivalists is a tough song to describe. It's got mournful lyrics about seeking connection layered with brass and funk guitars with some dub thrown in for a rich, stomp your feet feeling. Just listen to it and thank me later.
"Slip Away" by Perfume Genius is incredible. It has a celebratory vibe that makes you feel like you can take on a Summer night with the perfect amount of vulnerability and kick ass attitude.
If you're looking for a song to sing out of your rolled down window as you drive look no further than HAIM's "Little of Your Love".