Did you spend your summer reevaluating one of the closest and most formative relationships you’ve ever had in your life? No? Don’t fret! My August playlist is here to tell you all about it.
Consider the song “Pretty Pictures” by Indigo De Souza, a song that will stab you with reminders of the hardest decision you’ve ever had to make: “Breakin’ up with someone you love / ‘Cause you know it’s gonna be for the better / But it’s so hard to give it up.”
Or pop on some headphones, close your eyes and lay back as you listen to “I Wish I Never Met You” by Babygirl. Prepare to descend into sensory deprivation induced, “Eternal Sunshine” inspired daymares, corrupted fantasies combining past memories of that special person with every single question you have about their life now that communication is no longer an option.
Once you’ve run out of regret, feel free to turn to bittersweet pettiness while you listen to Similar Kind’s “Nobody Loves You.” Don’t succumb to jealousy; instead, revel in the knowledge that you will forever own a piece of their heart.
But the stand-out song for a summer that’s less fun-in-the-sun and more sobbing-in-the-dark: “The Past and the Pending” by The Shins. This song is the sound of curtains closing, of a final end. After all, “in matters of love lost, we’ve no recourse at all.”
Maybe after a summer of reevaluation, this can be an autumn of rebirth. Allow yourself closure. And use your playlists to get you there.
I —like seemingly everyone else on this planet— wanted OneRepublic’s “I Ain’t Worried” or Will Cramer’s “i kiss a lot of girls” to be the soundtrack of my summer. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
You see, while you were listening to those bangers, I was working as a camp counselor, living in a bunk with five little 10 year-olds.
Each time I tried to play my music, I was met with rowdy disapproval. My campers wanted to hear their “old school” tunes, that stuff from before they were born, the songs that were topping the charts way back in the early 2010s.
One day, after agreeing to a compromise of some Ed Sheeran, one of the kids requested something with more energy: “Can you play ‘Waka Waka?’ That’s classic hype music,” he said. “‘Bad Habits’ might be a perfect song, but I want to go crazy.”
I caved, and we did, in fact, give “Waka Waka” a quick listen. That moment was indicative of how nearly all of our song-choice battles went over the course of the summer, with me caving to the mob’s vote. They never settled on a preferred song of the summer, though, so much as a vibe of the summer: 2010s nostalgia.
If I’m being perfectly honest, I didn’t hate it. “Party in the USA,” “California Gurls,” and “Dynamite” are quality songs that made me feel like I was ten again, back when these songs were the hottest new bops on the radio. While part of me found it beautiful that the songs of my past were still the ten year-old summer staples, they might not have been my first choices anymore. So don’t take your songs of the summer for granted, my beloved readers. You never know when the ten year-olds might hijack the aux again.
I have mixed feelings about summer songs. I think popular songs are all like summer flings. The song is light and breezy — catchy at first — and I fall in love. But, when I’ve heard them about 100 times on the radio, they end up being a fleeting nuisance. I outgrow summer songs each fall. But, this year’s summer song “I Ain’t Worried” by OneRepublic may actually be the one.
Did I expect to get obsessed with a song from 1985 this summer? Not particularly, but hey, who am I to resist the Stranger Things soundtrack?
Running Up That Hill quickly became one of my favorite songs after I encountered it in Season 4 Episode 4, ‘Dear Billy.’ It was incredibly powerful to see a scene that explored music as a means to illustrate internal struggles, grief and strength – the strength that can be found in reaching out to others to help fight our demons. It continues to underscore my belief that music is one of the most powerful mediums for human experience.
Running Up That Hill has resonated with many people over the years for different reasons, something made clear by the many incarnations since its original release in 1985. You can find soft covers played alongside piano, guitar-shredding covers shouted at the top of a singer’s lungs, and everything in between. It’s beautiful to hear songs with that kind of longevity and history, and I, for one, am curious to see what life it takes on next.