Summer 2014 is barely underway yet it has already taken so many unexpected twists and turns. And so my summer playlist is reminiscent of those surprises—pleasant or unpleasant—and of the last few summers. Some songs are for me; others are for the people who have figured significantly in my life in the past couple of years, rain or shine. The playlist is half indie folk, half songs that refuse to grow old, and half songs that you sing to yourself in the dark. (And if you don’t know what’s wrong with that previous statement, then maybe you shouldn’t have passed Math class). So if you’re expecting a hipster list or a top 10 or a trending kind of thing, stop reading now; and go bore yourself with something else like retweeting other people’s garbage. These are MY songs for MY summer. And if you don’t like them, go make up your own. I’m sorry that there are no videos or links. Maybe next time, when I’ve figured out how everything works here or at least when I’m no longer just pretending to know what I’m doing with my blog. And now that we’re done with all the intros and disclaimers, here are the songs in no particular order.
1. I Need Fun in My Life (The Drums) The song is an antidote to itself. If you need to inject some fun in your life, just listen to this one. And remember, “The less you own, the more freedom you have.”
2. Breezeblocks (Alt-J) Not for the breeze. Not for the blocks. Not for the breezeblock that you sometimes feel like dumping on someone’s head. Not for any or all of those things. But for the cool vocals and the breezy vibe. You have to admire the restraint in this song, despite it being about someone pleading desperately for a loved one to stay.
3. No Rain (Blind Melon) “And I don’t understand why I sleep all day / And I start to complain that there’s no rain / And all I can do is read a book to stay awake / And it rips my life away, but it’s a great escape, escaaaa-ape, escaaaaa-ape, escaaaa-aaaa-aaaaa-ape”
4. Walrus (She’s Only Sixteen) (Once-a-little-grade-schooler) Roberto Seña sings “Takin’ in another sip of vodka / Everything’s so Frank Sinatra” and suddenly it’s sunny. Besides, what could be more summery than a mental image of a cinnamon brown, moustached, long-tusked walrus lying on the ice?
5. Home (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) Just to remind myself that wherever I may go this summer and in my life, home is wherever I am with the people I love.
6. 5 Years Time (Noah and the Whale) (Sun + Sun + Sun) + (Fun + Fun + Fun) + (Love + Love + Love) = 5 Years Time and possibly forever.
7. Shiver (Lucy Rose) A daily dose of Lucy Rose is good for the soul because some summers can actually make you feel cold inside. Sometimes. But sometimes they can make you shiver in a different way.
8. Bloom (Paper Kites) Some loves spring forth in the summer. But the best ones stay in bloom long after the summer has gone, no matter how many summers had passed. Senti lang.
9. Banana Pancakes (Jack Johnson) Technically, the song’s about a rainy day. But why not? The thing that really bothers me about this song though is that it’s totally unnecessary. I mean, why would anyone want to go outside in the rain when Jack Johnson wants you to stay in bed while he makes you banana pancakes? I’d be like, “Whatever you say, Jack. And just keep singing.”
10. Wouldn’t It Be Nice (The Beach Boys) Most old folks would go for Kokomo as a classic Beach Boys summer song for obvious reasons. Well, I’m not most folks. If you’ve seen 50 First Dates, you’ll know why this is here. If you haven’t, go watch it and you wouldn’t have wasted your summer.
11. Only Love (Ben Howard) I’d listen to this again and again if only for Beautiful Ben Howard’s beautiful voice. “Show me love love love / Watch me fall apart.” And because I believe that love can melt even the hardest and iciest of hearts. Come on, we all know what happened to Anna.
12. Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Israel Kamakawiwo’ole cover) This is not a song. It’s a ticket for you to fly Over the Rainbow direct. Fasten your seatbelt.
13. Overdrive (Eraserheads) Para sa mga nag-aaral mag-drive.
14. Greenback Boogie (Ima Robot) Para sa mga nagtatrabaho pa rin.
15. Unwell (Matchbox Twenty) Para sa mga nagsasakit-sakitan, lalo na sa mga estudyante kong nagpapaalam mag-Health Services madalas bago mag-Math.
I’ve yet to hit the beach; and I’ll be spending the next few days here at my hometown where the bodies of water are mostly occupied by freshwater fish. But maybe when I do get to taste some sea and sand, I’ll write about songs for beach-ing or that thing you do when you frolic scantily-clad in the sun. Meanwhile, I believe that the last track on this playlist should be Stevie Wonder’s You Are the Sunshine of My Life. If only to wish that, this summer, we may all get some sunshine and be nourished by it. That we would find our place in the sun and be able to keep it. That we may see love clearly and our hearts may be warmed by it. And if summer teaches us a thing or two, may we learn it and learn it well and live it long after summer has ended.