Music News

The Sounds of Summer

Summer's right around the corner, which got us to thinking: If there was an undeniable, universal soundtrack for summer, one that appealed to everyone regardless of their individual inclinations, what would the final track list look like? Probably a lot like this.

"School's Out," Alice Cooper: We never get over high school. Every time Cooper's 1972 classic blasts from a radio around June, we think of those last days of school before summer vacation, and suddenly tomorrow seems a lot more worth looking forward to.

"Margaritaville," Jimmy Buffet: "Margaritaville" was the 1976 equivalent to sitting through Tom Cruise in Cocktail twelve years later: mindless entertainment that somehow left you with a smirk on your face and a desperate need to laze about half-drunk on a beach someplace where nobody will ever find you.

"Island in the Sun," Weezer: If you really listen to Rivers Cuomo's lyrics about an "island in the sun" where he and his special someone will "be playing and having fun," you'll come to one conclusion: This 2001 song is all about the contagious, head-bob-inducing guitars and the soothing tropical melody — but little else.

"Summertime," DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince: In 1991, Will Smith apparently was sick of "all that hardcore dance that has gotten...out of control." His solution? Sample Kool & the Gang's laid-back "Summer Madness" grooves and record the hands-down best rap song about summer laziness.

"Vacation," the Go-Go's: This 1982 ditty might be absent from your musical memories 364 days a year, but on that one day it plays on the radio, you'll find it damn near impossible to get its infectious pleas for a summer break out of your head.

"California Girls," the Beach Boys or David Lee Roth: There might be Taliban hunkered down in caves in Afghanistan who can sing along with the Beach Boys' 1965 ode to the wondrous beauty of California girls, but David Lee Roth's 1985 cover, with his nonsensical scat improv, is just as fun in its own idiotic way.

"Brown Eyed Girl," Van Morrison: Not much summer in these 1967 lyrics, and yet it's hard to imagine making it through a summer where you don't end up half-sloshed at a bar, spilling beer in hand, singing along with this cheery lament of passed youth.

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Cole Haddon