It’s unbearably hot outside, you get sweaty just from standing, and everything is on fire. It’s summer, and it won’t be for much longer. I can guarantee, though, that we’ll crave the summer again in the winter. There are some positive aspects to the summer, like vacations, cold treats, and sunshine, and today on Athina’s album/song reviews, I want to take a moment to appreciate some songs that just ooze good summer vibes before autumn rolls around. Maybe by the end of this review, you’ll be able to focus on some of the better aspects of summer, too.
We’ll start with the winner:
I just know this song will take up the majority of my Spotify Wrapped come December. I’ve played it so many times, and I never get tired of it. It’s poppy, upbeat, fun, and silly, something you can dance around to like nobody’s watching. The proof of Kim’s prowess is in the fact that she released this in the winter of 2021, and still, I could vividly picture myself on a beach strutting in the sand. Kim’s not only a fabulous icon, but she’s also someone the transgender community can look up to, and I want to shout about her and this song forever, hence why this is the top pick. As Kim herself says, Cocolicious.
Another LGBTQ+ icon on this list takes second place. Hayley Kiyoko’s most well-known for her song “Girls like Girls”, but it’s her early work that has a summery feeling for me. “Rich Youth”, from her album A Belle to Remember, is from almost ten years ago. I first heard it the summer I was 17, and that year, 2018, was one of the hardest of my life, but I remember this song, and it still feels to me like spring cleaning and being a teenager and smiling to the sun with the breeze flowing past. Now when I listen to it, I feel nostalgic for the nice times in between the hard times. It’s not even particularly focused on the summer, but any song can be a summer song if you want it to be.
I always appreciate songs that are relevant to what I’m currently experiencing. This song is one of them. It’s futuristic and spacy, but it’s also a scream into the empty world from someone who’s slowly adjusting to it being much less full in the silence of quarantine. It’s sort of melancholy in a way; the summer it came out was the first summer in this new normal. Kyan does a great job at exposing the avoidance that many of us still use against this virus, including “[muting] the TV” and “[not letting] it sink in” as a method of self-protection. I still avoid the news and would rather not have to face all the sadness and death that this virus has wrought. Now, when everything is a bit more manageable, it’s less relevant; it’s a reminder of the start of this whole thing. I like how Kyan emphasizes the importance of togetherness and encourages social connection (socially distanced, of course), which reminds us not to take for granted that we’ll always have our loved ones nearby. Human connection is one thing we’ve had to face losing, and this song helps me, at least, appreciate it that much more. Maybe aliens will discover it one day and display it in museums as a remnant of humanity’s fight for togetherness and against COVID-19.
There are a couple of songs that I associate my high school years with, and this one is among them. Warm cokes, first of all, are a product of hot weather, and although they sound disgusting, Valiant Vermin outlines the positive side of having a warm coke–the fun of companionship in sharing something, even if it’s a warm coke. I remember listening to this song as I sped home from high school on my bike, feeling so alive; it was just ten minutes a day, but those ten minutes were blissful. There was no traffic because I went home early (my last period of the day was a spare). It was just me and my music.
This one, like “Quarantini”, helped me get through the pandemic. Since March 2020, I’ve listened to a lot of music, and I still do. Although I’ve calmed down a little in the two years since, I used to be consistently anxious, and music always helps take the edge off. I’ve always had a rampant imagination, and music like this song, which is about someone’s reverent love for their “splash of sun”, made it easy to escape into a fantasy where my OTPs (one true pairings) were together and happy. That has always been really comforting to me, so it helped me maintain my sanity.
No matter what your experience of summer is, whether it’s miserable and you just want it to be over, or you love it and wish it could last forever, there are songs for you. They can increase happy summer feelings, or they can act as an escape, where the lyrics and melody transport you into the perfect summer world. For me, it’s more of the latter. I’ve never been more grateful that I’m not a caveman sweating buckets in a cave somewhere and wishing this weird hot period would be over so I could go out and hunt again. In the twenty-first century, yeah, it’s still unbearable, but now we have things to help us get through it.
*Note: there is no References page since no external references were used.*
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