By Robert Moran
It’s not the summer we all hoped for, but music can help.Credit:Flavio Brancaleone/The Sydney Morning Herald
This is not how we thought it would go. Omicron, La Nina, Novak Djokovic – 2022 has proven a true summer bummer.
But, of course, music can fix that, like this summer playlist. There is no rhyme or reason to this mix – some new songs from the first week of the year, overlooked faves from the past few months, and other classics that evoke tropical sunshine vibes.
The only goal is to aurally improve our collective summer (and, well, to force you to listen to Paris Hilton’s opus).
1: PM Dawn, Set Adrift on Memory Bliss
I don’t understand why every summer mixtape doesn’t just begin with this 1991 classic. Press play and, well, let’s set adrift.
2: Bad Bunny, Yonaguni
El Conejo Malo’s latest song, released last northern summer, is emo-holiday vibes, about flying to a tropical island off Japan to meet up with the (big-butted) love you’re missing. Surely, we can all relate.
3: The Weeknd, Out of Time
The smoothest song on The Weeknd’s intriguing new album is a breezy evocation of ’80s Japanese city-pop, borrowing a hook from Tomoko Aran’s Midnight Pretenders. Unfortunately, until there’s a single edit, you’ll have to sit through the mood-killer that is Jim Carrey’s narrative outro.
4: Tame Impala, No Choice
A woozy disco joint from Kevin Parker’s upcoming The Slow Rush Remixes/B-Sides release, this one offers some pandemic-era realism to keep us down-to-earth: “It doesn’t matter if I want to go somewhere new, at the end of the day I have no choice.” Well, yep.
Kevin Parker of Tame Impala, patron saint of woozy summer vibes.
5: Illuminati Hotties, Pool Hopping
The LA rock band’s Let Me Do One More was one of 2021’s best albums, led by Sarah Tudzin’s awesome energy. This bouncy track is pure summer escapism, as evoked by its fun title.
6: Young Guv, It’s Only Dancin’
Another appropriate banger released at the dawn of 2022 from the ever-reliable power-pop project of Ben Cook, guitarist for Toronto hardcore faves F—ed Up. “Baby I just gotta move, but I’m forbidden to go outside,” he sings, knowingly.
7: Nick Griffith, Porto Song
A gorgeous jangly number from local stalwart Nick Griffith, best known as a singer/guitarist from Sydney indie-rockers Big White. When he sings “You’re windswept and rosy”, it just makes me imagine I’m waiting for my fish ‘n’ chips order on a pier somewhere on the south coast.
8: The Lucksmiths, South-East Coastal Rendevous
I mean, see the previous description. You might say T-Shirt Weather is the obvious choice here, and you’d be correct.
9: Paris Hilton, Stars Are Blind
An ever-maligned summer masterpiece. Every time I hear this song, I feel like I’m wearing loose white pants and laying on a hammock in a quiet corner of some tourist resort.
10: Let’s Eat Grandma, Happy New Year
A spectacular new single from the delightful British weirdos’ upcoming Two Ribbons album. Unfortunately, it was released a couple days too late to blast as the clock ticked midnight into 2022, but all is forgiven when those massive synths hit.
Paris Hilton sure can write a summer tune.Credit:Getty
11: Fred Again, Billie (Loving Arms)
Another new one from the British super-producer who’s worked with everyone from Brian Eno to Ed Sheeran. Roll the car windows down, turn it up, and feel your Toyota Corolla float into heaven.
12: Harry Nilsson, Coconut
Time for a summer drink break, of course. Just follow Nilsson’s instructions and then we can proceed.
13: Chaka Demus & Pliers, Tease Me
I don’t know about you, but this cassette was playing in the car during every family summer road trip to Movie World (“Hollywood on the Gold Coast”) from when I was 9 till whenever I aged out of family road trips. It’s surely due a TikTok rediscovery?
14: CKay, Emiliana
Rising Nigerian Afropop star CKay has already taken over 2022’s streaming charts with his follow-up to his TikTok viral Love Nwantiti. That slinky beat is made for hot, late-night, outdoor shenanigans.
15: FKA Twigs, Tears in the Club
The evocative first single from the British singer’s new mixtape Caprisongs should already be the song of the summer. Sultry and infectious, just like Omicron?
16: Big Mountain, Baby, I Love Your Way
Some of you may never forgive the segue from FKA Twigs to Big Mountain, but c’mon, it’s not really summer until you hear a hit 1994 reggae song from a white guy with locs, is it?
17: Wet Leg, Too Late Now
The new follow-up to the British duo’s inescapable Chaise Longue is a propulsive Strokes-ian banger. “I just need a bubble bath to set me on a higher path” should be everyone’s mantra this summer.
18: Tkay Maidza, Cashmere
This smooth single from the Adelaide superstar’s 2021 release Last Year Was Weird (Vol. 3) has been waiting for the summer. It feels like warm honey (cashmere, even) in your ears.
19: Youngn Lipz, Say It
An infectious cut featured on the western Sydney star’s Area Baby debut last August, this one gives more beach vibes than Hawaiian shirts.
20: Naughty By Nature, Jamboree
If this 1999 classic isn’t on annual rotation in your house, then what do you do when you throw a summer house party? Do you and your friends just sit in silence?
21: The Beach Boys, This Whole World
You thought you’d get through 20-odd feel-good summer songs without a Brian Wilson cut? This one’s from the Boys’ 1970 album Sunflower, which was re-released in a nerdy multi-disc box-set last year.
22: Wave Racer, Look Up To Yourself
A perfectly positive single from Sydney musician Thomas Purcell off last June’s To Stop From Falling Off The Earth debut with a beautiful message (especially for short people).
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