I have only to break into the tightness of a strawberry, and I see summer – its dust and lowering skies.
(Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye)
No season feels more real than summer, partly because it is the most relentless, with the heat and its unabashed whimsicality: one day it might be all sticky and sweaty, and another day it’s spoon-feeding you the laziest and happiest moments of your life.
But here’s a way I curate my own moments instead of letting summer control my mood: songs. In summer, I am especially desperate for music, thirsty for it- as if my failure to find the right song is my inability to harness my own free time.
So, a list- for when you find yourself feeling uninspired or simply wanting more.
Songs to beat the heat
Ko Ko Bop (EXO)
The wildly popular k-pop group EXO made a comeback on July 18 with the album The War. It’s full of summery songs and though I haven’t really listened to EXO songs before, this album has saved me on so many sweltering mornings.
“Ko Ko Bop” is really refreshing. In musical terms, it is more of a tropical house beat, and it’s quite nice to watch the video with its indulgent colour palette and to jam to the chorus, which is so catchy it shouldn’t even be legal :D.
Love Song (Sarah Bareilles)
Sarah has one of my favourite voices, and all of her songs are so thoughtful. This one is cheerful, with lovely piano chords in the background that is gradually joined by electric guitar strums. Of course, being the witty songwriter that she is, Sarah doesn’t talk about romantic love in her Love Song. It’s a song about writing and defying expectations- probably just what you need when everything seems stagnant in the heat.
前前前世 (Zen Zen Zense) by RADWIMPS
(theme song of the movie Kimi No Nawa)
Trust me, Japanese alternative rock might just be the summer remedy you didn’t know you needed. This song is from the anime movie Kimi No Nawa, and personally, I find both the vocals and the backdrop amazing, especially when summer’s got you feeling restless and wanting to aggressively head-bob to something.
Songs to listen to in an air-conditioned room
The Ocean (Mike Perry, Shy Martin)
If you like dreamy electropop, or if you are craving for a happy beat, this song will make you feel like you have the whole summer at your feet.
To You (Sung Si Kyung)
I have been in love of this song, because it’s the OST of the kdrama that I’m currently watching: Reply 1994. The original version is by Seo Taiji and the Boys, made in 1993. Reply 1994 is one of those stories that make you so full of hope and feel like you are so young and loved (no matter how young and loved you already are).
The song is just the same as the story- it is full of retro sounds from the 90’s, and Sung Ki Sung has such a heart-warming voice. My favourite part is the dreamy murmuring rap starting from 1:25.
There for You (Martin Garrix & Troye Sivan)
Just look at how our Troye is all grown up now! (*aggressively blows nose into a napkin*). While this single isn’t my favourite Troye Sivan song, it feels like a summer night when anything could happen. I’ve been playing it on repeat because of the beat.
Despacito- Remix (Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, Justin Bieber)
Okay, no one is really immune to this song. Even though Justin Bieber totally didn’t know the lyrics when performing this song live, his voice is pretty nice and summery in the album version. What I love about this song are the Spanish stanzas. And let’s face it- yes, it is mainstream, it might be overused, but you just can’t help lip syncing to “Favorito favorito baby” and bobbing your head to the beat drop.
Happy the last seven days of July!