by: Jonah M. Lefholtz
The downtrodden rarely have air-conditioning. Luckily, like generations before us, we have music to soothe our sweaty, sticky souls when the weather gets so hot and we need a distraction from being physically uncomfortable. I present to you my favorite songs that remind me of summer (and get me through it).
1. Anything by Pavement.
I knew Pavement had to be on this list, but when I sat down to determine which song made me feel the most summery, it became an impossible task. Pavement is the ultimate summer rock band, and reminds me of my teens and early twenties, discovering new music back in the early Aughties. Hot sticky summers spent on porches and in very few clothes, with guitars and 40 ouncers of cheap beer, sweating with my my 8 other roommates plus the 9 roommates that lived on the west wing of the triplex my friends and I inhabited for two summers, blasting seminal indie rock bands late into the night and drinking so much beer that my poor old liver weeps with the memory. For me, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain contains many of my favorite summer songs, though I can easily get caught up in a debate on that one. Slanted and Enchanted takes a close second place. How can you not listen to “Summer Babe” at least five times in a row?
2. “In The Summertime” by Mungo Jerry.
If you don’t know that song, you should look it up. It makes me want to skip. I don’t condone drinking and driving, and would prefer if you don’t follow Mungo’s advice when he tells you to have a drink and a drive, and I know it’s got a straight, cisgendered theme, but just pretend for a minute that he’s using all-encompassing pronouns and when he says “you’ve got women on your mind” he is of course, including female-identified people all over the spectrum.
3. “Cars That Go Boom” by Lil Trimm & Lady Tigra
I don’t know much about them aside from the fact that this song makes me wish I had a car with hydraulics. I want a car with an ass that can drop, when I hear this song, you know? Who doesn’t? Who doesn’t like cars that go boom? I used to put this song on like, every single mix I made to listen to (and drive away customers) for this coffee shop I worked at in my early 20s, way after the song’s time, and way after I stopped riding around in cars that went boom.
4. “Defender” by Simon Joyner
If you grew up in Omaha, where you probably didn’t but should’ve, you know that Simon Joyner is the epitome of cool singer-song writers. “Defender” talks about bottle rockets and bebe guns and everything summer and youth. It’s about running around as an unsupervised kid, Slurpees, being barefoot, and never growing up. Do you have a bit of a Peter Pan complex and are you in your 30s or early 40s? You will like this song. Atari.
5. “Summer” by Modest Mouse
I didn’t want to include this song because I think it’s so obvious, but I couldn’t help it. Modest Mouse: yeah, just the smell of the summer can make me fall in love. Thank G-d I want nothing to do with falling in love with a person right now, so I can fall in love with the summer. Remember pagers? I only owned one once, in 1997, and it was during a really masculine time in my life so my mom wanted me to get a pink one. It was translucent and I only was allowed to have it so my ma could get a hold of me when I went to rock climbing meetups. Damn. Who’s paging me now? Just my mom.
6. “Lake Shore Drive” by Aliotta, Haynes and Jeremiah
I moved to Chicago in August of 2003, and coming into the city from the South via Lake Shore Drive will always be in my memory. The buildings to the left and Lake Michigan to the right are thoughts and sights to behold. I remember feeling okay and excited and safe about a move at the same time for the first time, really. I knew I wanted to be here for a long time, and I have been. I heard the Lake Shore Drive song a few years after I moved here; I’m not sure how I didn’t hear it before and I’m not sure how this song wasn’t a factor in my decision to move to this great city. Enjoy this song: Lake Shore Drive by Aliotta, Haynes and Jeremiah.
This is probably the shortest thing I have written in a long time. I’m still listening to Pavement and now I miss being 21. I love Summertime though, and it makes me feel young, even when writing this makes me examine my musical choices and the observations make me feel old. It’s what I want. (It’s what I want.)
Jonah M. Lefholtz is a student and care-taker in Chicago, IL. He recently came out as a femme male and his life is better for it! He likes spending time with his family and friends, has two cats, and appreciates complexity.