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Exclusive: Sexy Seven: Summer Songs
4th August, 2011
Summer. It’s a time of year for lots of different things. Drinking Pimms and Cider with your friends in the garden. Going to the beach and eating doughnuts and having a nice paddle (if the weather allows for it that is). Music festivals, most of which will see you get soaked to the skin and come home covered in mud, most likely with a rather bad cold. British summers are world famous; no-one can make a summer with such terrible weather as fun as us Brits do it. One of the highlights of the summer these days is of course the summer soundtrack you make; the songs you pick as the backing track to the memories you are making. Here at Unseen , seven of our writers have come together to bring you Unseen’s Sexy Seven; a list of the seven tracks we have included in our summer playlist that you should definitely consider adding to yours. We hope you enjoy them with the same summery attitude we do; even if that means we’re sat in the park with a picnic blanket under an umbrella.
Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon - Queen
Clocking in at slightly less than one minute and ten seconds, Queen accomplishes more with this little song than most bands manage in a lifetime. Freddie Mercury does what he does best and crafts a wonderful, uplifting song that makes you fall in love with the world every time you hear it. It’s a beautiful piece of music, reminding you of what you can be doing to wile away your free time and also that one of the most important things you can do is simply laze on a Sunday afternoon and watch the world go by. It starts as a jaunty piano romp, reminiscent of seaside shanties before descending into a decadent solo in which Brian May is able to reiterate his rock credentials. Lazing On a Sunday Afternoon is a lovely song to slip into a summer playlist and enjoy when it crops up as you sip cocktails/beer/wine in the garden. Chin chin!
A Summer Wasting - Belle & Sebastian
Summer is about simplicity. It’s about walks along the side of a canal while the breeze catches lightly in the tree branches and the light spins off the surface of the water. It’s about lazing on a picnic blanket at the top of a hill with nothing but time on your hands and a place to spend it. Belle & Sebastian’s A Summer Wasting speaks this in volumes, although it was a close call between this and Coldplay’s Strawberry Swing. The delicate piano chords weave with the upbeat guitar to create a musical buoyancy, carrying the song to provide the perfect soundtrack to the sunshine. The gentle vocal line floats along with the lyrics ‘I spent the summer wasting /Under a canopy of /Seven weeks of river walkways /Seven weeks of reading papers’. This song proposes that time you enjoy wasting is not in fact wasted and when it comes to summer, I could not agree more. Belle & Sebastian will undoubtedly be the soundtrack to my rain and shine for many more years to come.
Monument – A Day To Remember
I know what you’re thinking, how can a band such as A Day To Remember write a summer song?! That is exactly why this track is at the top of my summer playlist; it’s a little bit unexpected but still gives me that great summer feeling when I listen to it. ‘Miles away / and I wish this didn’t mean so much to me / to be a monument for the rest of them’ are the kind of lyrics I want in my summer love song. The verses and chorus to this track aren’t as heavy as a lot of ADTR tracks and there is a fantastic vocal harmony in the chorus that I can’t get enough of. If you like your summer playlist with something a bit heavier than the usual upbeat summer songs, definitely give this a listen.
Tighten Up – The Black Keys
This is my pick of a summer song because it reminds me of winding down a long country road into the sunset on a hot days travelling. The song is a great blend of blues and soundscaping thanks to the genius that is dangermouse with just enough bluesy joy to satisfy anyone’s sun induced music cravings. It can be found on the album Brothers by The Black Keys which on a side note is also a fantastic album which is worth listening to anyway... even when it’s not summer.
Girl From Mars - Ash
Nostalgia is often a key player in summery songs – it’s a time of year to look back on what you’ve achieved and as you get older, a time to look back on the fun you had as a kid. It’s no surprise then that Irish garage-rock legends Ash, with their single Girl From Mars are a perfect choice for summer playlists. The song is all about reminiscing, as shown somewhat obviously by the chorus: 'Do you remember the time I knew a girl from Mars? / I don’t know if you knew that.' It’s a song about sharing memories and remembering things you yourself had forgotten: 'Something that in my memory had been misplaced / Suddenly all comes back.' It fits right in as background music to the conversations you can have with your old friends, swapping in-jokes and catching up; whether it’s in a park with a fruity cider (or your summer drink of choice) or round someone’s house (thanks to the temperamental British Summer). Not to mention the fact that it directly name drops our favourite season: “Sitting in our dreaming days by the water’s edge / On a cool summer night.” You can’t expect much more than that from a summer song.
Tears Dry On Their Own - Amy Winehouse
When a musician finds themselves going off the rails (or practically hanging to them by a well-polished fingernail in this case), it’s an unfortunate fact of life that the music loses a little in translation; the artist is remembered more for their exploits rather than their undeniable talent. Amy Winehouse is by no means an exception to this rule, however when blasting Back To Black all of last summer, I found it a crying shame that her music has become less famous than her drug dalliances. Tears Dry On Their Own is a bluesy, upbeat and undeniably catchy song, with surprisingly sombre lyrics for a summer anthem. This song and consequently the album it comes from are the perfect companion to wine and a picnic in the sun with friends. The pure unadulterated soul in Winehouse’s voice punctuated by a hefty brass section almost act as a paradox to the heartbreak dealt in her lyrics, which makes Amy Winehouse a musical force to be reckoned with. Remember her blues, not her beehive.
Disconnected – Shy Child
Shy Child are an electro/indie pop band who make amazing upbeat and positive tracks. They first appeared with the amazing electro track Drop The Phone on their first album Noise Won’t Stop. They then later returned with a second album called Liquid Love. The track Disconnected is taken from this album and never fails to brighten my mood whatever the weather. The cheerful melodies and incredibly catchy chorus in this track are reminiscent of the likes of MGMT and are perfect for relaxing on summer days. This song is a great get up and dance track which gets into your head and brings a great deal of happiness to the listener, making it an amazing summer track great for any summer party.