It’s time again for the annual tone-setter for my summer: the official summer playlist of 2016.
This year, I’m predicting that this summer going to be hot. Like, really hot. And before you give me a gold star for predicting the most obvious thing in the world, please remember that when I see 73°F, I consider it to be summer weather.
The Pacific Northwest wasn’t built for hot – at least, not for a few millennia. For the last few years, though, we’ve been getting baked and broiled. In fact, by 2020 I’m predicting that what is now autumnal apple country will become steamy lemon groves, and I will be making limoncello on a constant basis. Until then, I can survive on cider throughout the summer. We have a rule in Washington State where we have to make booze out of whatever the biggest crop is, and right now that’s apples. How hot does it have to be before we can plant the whiskey trees? After that, all we need is a cherry tree and we can basically grow Manhattans.
So maybe there’s a chance I associate summer with alcohol consumption. But who can blame me? In scorching 79°F weather, there’s only so much iced coffee you can drink before you have to start thinking about sleeping – switch to heavy drinking and boom, problem solved! Cold libations have a way of cutting through the humid stickiness of summer nights.
The combination of summer nights and hazy, cool cocktails inspired this year’s Sticky Summer Playlist. These 10 songs are perfect for any night that has the heat turned up. My goal was to put together a playlist that could be proudly blasted from any speaker – from windows down in the car to amps set up on the beach to your bluetooth speaker at the best summer house party.
You can find this playlist available for free here (& embedded at the end of this post):
Gold · Chet Faker
The first time I heard this song was during my momentary 2015 VH1 binge where I woke up every morning at 7:30 so I could catch as much VH1 as possible. The “why” of this whole experiment was never specifically determined, but I did learn that the same 15 videos play pretty much every single day on repeat which is why this Chet Faker song stood out like a sore thumb.
Not to mention the music video is one continuous shot including some seriously babely chicks on roller skates and we all know I’m powerless against that kind of imagery. This song is so saucy, I had to kick off the playlist with it.
Haiti · Arcade Fire
There have to be at least 11 different instruments involved in playing this song, which is pretty typical of Arcade Fire, given their at-least-six-people cast. This song sounds like a cute French Canadian song being played through summertime speakers. Everything’s a little slower and, you guessed it, a little slurred. Anything that makes me envision doing nothing in a big open field goes straight onto the summer playlist, and that’s the story of how this song got here.
Ragga · Martina Topley Bird
She’s the queen of downtempo and definitely has one of the coolest voices I’ve ever heard. Martina Topley Bird used to be the main lady voice in songs by Tricky (props to you 90s ravers who remember him!), but broke off in the early 2000s to create a solo career. Her first album, Quixotic, is still one of my favorites and Ragga is an awesome getting-ready song before you go out, or background music for low-key house parties. I think her style is extremely yummy and I love how simultaneously chill and energetic this song is.
Dark Lines · Gossip
No summer playlist is complete without this minimalist Gossip track featuring Beth Ditto giving you smoldering vocals with only a bass guitar and a faint, steady bass drum. I’m not sure how she manages to whisper-sing in a way that sounds like it could fill a stadium, but that’s Beth Ditto for you, I guess.
100% transparency: this song also mentions coffee and eyeliner which gave it a major bias, as those are two of my 11 favorite things.
S.O.B. · Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
This playlist has been in the works since the middle of last November when I decided that I was so over winter and ready for the next season to come along and fix my life. That being said, this song didn’t earn its place until about three weeks ago after I heard it on the radio and couldn’t control myself. I mentioned on Twitter that songs with clapping and stomping have an incredibly high chance of becoming favorites of mine, but you add in an old blues vibe coming out Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, fronted by a bald, short, redhead guy with tattoos and all of a sudden I have a new type.The blues can make anyone sexy, even hipster George Costanza. If this song doesn’t get you moving involuntarily, with or without alcohol, then I owe you a shot.
Psychotic Girl · The Black Keys
Speaking of men who become sexier due to their musical preferences, I had to follow S.O.B. with a TBK song because – I mean, c’mon. Who embodies “It’s 90 degrees at 9pm and we’re out of bourbon” better than The Black Keys? If anyone can, they’re probably on this playlist. The sauce of this song comes directly from that delicious walking bass line and the high register, single finger piano part. Also, I wish I could change my GPS direction voice to Dan Auerbach’s because yum.
Son of a Gun · The Vaselines
Enough of the sloppy sexy stuff, a really good summer has just as much cute adventure as it does debauchery, and The Vaselines have it covered. This is a super cute garage rock duet that is so perfect for sunny day driving, it’s incredible. Single finger high register piano is also employed here, and I’m starting to think that I might need a playlist full of songs with baby piano solos…
Teenage Girl · Cherry Glazerr
Everyone remembers Cherry Glazerr right? Nope, I haven’t stopped listening to this song, nor this album, nor their other albums because this is my favorite band of teenagers ever, and I think everything they do is adorable. Eventually, they won’t be 19 year olds anymore and it will be less cute (so step it up, Cherry Glazerr) but for now, this song (along with pretty much every song they’ve recorded) is so cute and bouncy and lazy and sweet that it couldn’t be more perfect for a summer playlist.
Prayer in C (Robin Schulz Remix) · Lilly Wood & The Prick
If you’ve already heard this song, I totally encourage you to listen to the original Prayer in C by Lilly Wood & The Prick – the song that Robin Schulz remixed. It’s so incredibly beautiful, but also 150% different than this upbeat, sassy remix. I discovered this song in my VH1 binge, too, and have been listening to it since the middle of last year without tiring of it. Something about how killer her voice is with that house beat… and I can’t lie, the video makes me want to give into my nihilist side and live in a permanent & transient summertime.
Passin’ Me By · The Pharcyde
Okay, this song is like 1000 years old (it is 23 years old) but it belongs on every summer playlist ever made – remember The Pharcyde? No? Well, I assure you that you remember this song. A true love story told over incredibly catchy and classically 1993 hip hop beats. Bless.
2Wicky · Hooverphonic
The last song on the list is also a blast from the past – or at least my past. Hooverphonic is the quintessential saucy music, befitting of pretty much any season, any liquor, any location. 2Wicky is a space fantasy, kind of like something you’d see in a movie depicting a romantic sex scene in an airlock chamber of an escape pod, but it uses classic disco and rock’n’roll tricks like super-reverby guitar and vocals similar to the ones Beth Ditto bowled you over with earlier in this post. Except futuristic. Anyway, if you have a hyper-sexy romance scene in your future, please queue this up.
I think mood music is awesome, and I 100% support its serious use in everyday life. If you can’t soundtrack your life, what’s the point, right? …Okay, obviously there are thousands of points/reasons to live but it’ll be less cinematic without a killer backing track that helps you strut down the sidewalk. I’m of the belief that, without a soundtrack, my strut would more frequently be a stumble, so that’s why you see so many playlists on B&B – they literally keep me up!
Here are the listenable, streamable, sauce-able playlists so you listen from right here in this post – don’t forget to bookmark this page slash share it with everyone you know! And leave your favorite summer song in the comments!