Tart & Soul

A Search for Meaning and Connection

Tart & Soul

Tart & Soul
December 31
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JUNE 14, 2011 8:57AM

What Will You Listen to This Summer?

Rate: 5 Flag


crystal headphones


I can’t wait for summer!  Dazzling beams of sunlight will shine across the land as the scent of barbecues, sun block and chlorinated pools waft through the air.  My pasty, winterized complexion will glow like polished copper as I revel in the freedom of halter-tops and linen skirts rather than being confined by bulky sweaters.

Summer is perfect.  Except for one thing: the radio.

Radio stations seem to condense their playlists to a handful of records come summertime.  Once you’ve heard Buster Poindexter’s Hot, Hot, Hot for the fifteenth time in a week, you may start longing for the season of snowballs being hurled at your head.

Thus, I’m offering a partial list of summer’s most grating tunes.  With any luck, the great DJ in the sky will command his minions to spare us these don’ts.

Don’t: Hot in the City, Billy Idol

To a pubescent Midwestern gal, Billy Idol was like the wrong-side-of-the-tracks hunk all the girls avoided in class but secretly liked.  His badass snarl was almost enough to lure me away from the sleeker, more pristine desires stirred by Duran Duran.  White Wedding was creepily sexy while Rebel Yell had me crying, “more, more, more” even though I was too young to have any idea what I wanted more of.  But this Hot in the City baloney?  Sounds like the banal workings of Neil Diamond being played by a Springsteen cover band.  Barf.

Don’t: Kokomo, Beach Boys

I’m no Beach Boys fan.  However, I do find myself wanting to strap on a bikini and sip Sunkist whenever I hear their faux tropical sounds.  But Kokomo blows.  With its slothy, cheesily flirtatious chorus, it’s the musical incarnation of a creepy, pina colada sipping grandpa sliming around a cruise ship hitting on barely legals.  I bet the Beach Boys don’t even like this tune.

Don’t: Summertime, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

After the phenomenally goofy yet funky Parents Just Don’t Understand, Will Smith and his buddy had a tough act to follow.  To this day, whenever someone starts a sentence with, “okay, here’s the situation,” I always reply, “your parents went away on a week’s vacation?”  Summertime definitely has a lazy day vibe and didn’t bother me the first sixteen thousand times I heard it.  But the song lacks pizzazz.  When I hear it, I don’t want to sit back and unwind.  I want to hear Parents Just Don’t Understand.  Plus, the song just reminds us of how much it must suck to be DJ Jazzy Jeff watching the Fresh Prince become the megastar that is Will Smith.   

Don’t: Cruel Summer, Bananarama

I must admit to having had Bananarama records in my youth and can tell you Cruel Summer was one of their least interesting hits, especially when you consider they had a tune called Robert DeNiro’s Waiting.  But that song was about a victim of abuse escaping her fate by watching the actor’s films.  Meanwhile, Cruel Summer is about a gal being abandoned for the summer by her best pals and boyfriend.  For cripe’s sake, the word “cruel” is in the title.  Not exactly what I call summertime fun.      

Looking for some truly sunny tunes to beat the heat?

Do: (Love Is Like a) Heat Wave, Martha and the Vandellas

I dare you to listen to this song any time of year and not start waving your hands in the air like the lost member of the Supremes.  Besides, I’d rather suffer a heat wave than cruelty during summer.

Do: Hot Fun in the Summertime – Sly and the Family Stone

Hot Fun in the Summertime is balmy and mellow the way a good summertime song should be.  All you wanna do is drink iced tea, party with pals on the beach then slide out of your flip flops and fall asleep in a hammock.  Man, is there better fun than “hot fun?”

Do: Boys of Summer, Don Henley

This tune gets more airplay than Hot, Hot, Hot during the warm months, but to me it screams summer.  Maybe it’s because of images like, “your brown skin shining in the sun.”  Plenty sluggish summer nights back in Ohio were spent eating hot dogs between slices of Wonder Bread and wading through creeks with friends.  Seems Henley’s rustic tunes always made up the soundtrack.  I doubt those wieners would’ve tasted so good if Kokomo was playing.

What summer tunes are your do’s and don’ts?

Reprinted from Laura K. Warrell's blog Tart & Soul at www.TartandSoul.com.

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Your reviews of summer time music was right on, I am also weary of songs that are trying to sound like something, but just don't sound like much. I am not a Springstien fan, but hey he's from my homestate of New Jersey ( I do like one or two of his songs). I am a huge Beach Boys fan, I saw them in concert when thier time had come and gone, they were still fantastic. I can still hear waves when I listen to thier music. I love "Cruel Summer", I know the word cruel is in there, but think when it's 100 degrees and it's hot and your worried about power outages, I think back in 04 or something we did have a major power outage here in N.Y. People lost everything from meat in the refrigator, to no a.c. to all the other things that people use electricity for. Yes to "Summer Time" it's swarthy sound poses some unusual topics that might just make themselves apparent with a nice summer time drink, and quiet.
You also make me think of "Strawberry Alarm Clock" "Beach Baby", I used to love this song, it's so sweet and melodic. Another great summer time beat is "Davey Jones and The Monkeys" "Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter". That is just such a pretty tune, it's like a cacophony of innocent sweet impressions of first love. I love "Sly and The Family Stone" "Summer Time". I am also thinking "Cold Stone Salad" the singing is absoulutely incredible I could eat the whole song right up. I also love the infectious sound of "Friends and Lovers", who makes music to sound like it should sound? The people that work in studios and the muscians that make it happen are incredible people they have a superb gift to translate words into sound. I have incredible respect for people in the music industry that pump out sounds what about "Chaka Kahn" it's still as hot today as it was back in the day. Another great song that comes to mind which is of recent fame is Alisha Keyes "I Just Want You Close To Me", it is soulful, enchanting and rhythamic. If I think of any more great summer tunes, I will post back. Thanks I really enjoyed your style "Soul and Tart".
Thanks for reminding me of Sly & the Family Stones perfect lay out song. I'll probably put it together with Jr. Walker & The All Stars "What Does it Take" and Otis Redding's "Dock of the Bay." Lazy girls turn over after 3 songs for even browning.

No, no more Kokomo, ever!
Hey MOMSACOMIC, You gave me lots of new tunes to discover. Thanks!

And L'Heure Bleue, Yes!!! "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" is perfect summer music!! Should've added it to my list. Though I'll do one better and listen to it now!
Sly & The Family Stone are of of my favorite groups of all time. LOVE Sly Stone!
Boys of Summer kills me every time I hear it. The summer it came out I was fourteen and in love with a stupid but very handsome boy who would NEVER like me back. Every time I hear the song I feel that sweet tragic longing that felt so important and amazing. I will never ever ever get tired of that song.
XTC: Summer's Cauldron

Joni Mitchell: Night Ride Home

Leon Redbone: Lazy Bones

Miles Davis: Summertime

And I've got a soft spot for Seals and Croft's Summer Breeze.
Dead on. I love "Here's Where the Story Ends" by the Sundays. "It is a little souvenir of a terrible year." I am going to spend two months in London and first off will be "London Calling" by The Clash. Summer tunes are designated by the part of the world I am summering in.