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Songs of the summer

The soundtrack for your time off

Whether at home, school or traveling, summer is typically time to unwind away from the grind of schoolwork and a full class load.

What better way to sum up summer than a playlist of songs that represent the season itself? The Spectrum has put together a list of jams that can be the soundtrack to your summer.

Supergrass – “Alright”

Summer is a time for hanging out with your friends and riding around town. Supergrass sings about being young and free; the laidback rhythm of the guitar mimics the message. Mixed in with the guitar are claps and piano to keep the song moving forward. The chorus is simple as the other two members join the lead singer in serenading about how lovely it is to be free and feel alright.

MKTO – “Classic”

This upbeat track is new and a radio favorite. Its comparison to older artists such as Michael Jackson and Prince explains the song’s title, which compares romancing with songs in the past to today’s music. Both singers add their own style to the song, with Tony Oller singing the majority of the song and Malcom Kelly adding rap in the middle to switch things up. Although they sing separately, their harmony is what makes their sound so unique.

Santigold – “Creator”

One of her more popular songs, “Creator” came out in 2008 but is still full of girl-power and great background sound effects. When she raps, there’s only a basic beat in the background, highlighting not her voice, but her words and the pace at which she speaks. The chorus utilizes more effects in the background including a different beat, old computer sounds and more obscure percussion. The record scratches and auto-tuned voice toward the end are similar to that of T-Pain and other rappers of the late 2000s.

Timomatic – “Parachute”

This is the perfect song of the summer. The upbeat tempo with simple lyrics creates excitement that matches the thrill of summer. The beat drops right after the artist explains he “doesn’t need a parachute,” a clever and appropriate place to end the chorus. The buildup to the drop is like many other summer anthems, repeating the keywords of the chorus until the bass starts. Timomatic is new to the music scene and his breakthrough song has gained popularity over the past few months.

Julian Casablancas – “11th Dimension”

Reminiscent of ’80s pop music, Casablancas’ song is a mixture of electric keyboard, bass guitar and his calm, smooth voice. The music is catchy, and the message is one of determination. The break between the chorus and the bridge is a well-put mix of techno beats and bass guitar riffs. Casablancas creates the perfect combination of ’80s style keyboard, today’s music, and his slow-spoken lyrics. The song ends suddenly, leaving the listener wanting to hear more about the adventure the artist is describing.

MGMT – “Electric Feel”

The offbeat tempo may sound odd at first, but once the first words are sung, it all comes together in sync. The heavy drum beat in the background during the verses dictates the tempo of the lyrics, which are short and choppy. Once the chorus sets in, the lyrics and drums blend together and create a groove that is as enjoyable as it is catchy. Though the chorus uses few words, its simple rhymes are what make the chorus smooth. This song is perfect for sitting around a bonfire or at the beach at night. It’s quiet enough to be background music, but enjoyable enough to listen to.

Kanye West – “Bound 2”

This song gained popularity when its music video was parodied by a multitude of late night show hosts and comedians. The song itself is similar to much of Kanye’s older music, in which he raps slower and has intricate music underneath his voice. The chorus is different from the rest of the song; it’s more lyrical and featuring a woman’s voice that fades in and out. A good song to jam out to any time of the year, this track has remained popular since its release and will still be heard frequently over the summer.

Portugal. The Man – “Head is a Flame [Cool With It]”

Unlike the majority of the music on this list, this song is more indie-rock. The gentle beginning is reflective of the rest of the song, as the artist croons over the band in every verse. Once the chorus hits, the music changes and swells, the lead singer growing louder himself and singing slower. The mix of various percussion noises in which there is no singing ensures the song remains exciting. The guitar solo near the end of the track is as calm as the song in its entirety. It quietly fades out and is the perfect addition to balance out your summer playlist.

Lana Del Rey – “West Coast”

Lana Del Ray is back with another song of the summer to follow “Summertime Sadness.” Her style of quiet singing with gentle musical crescendos is found again in this song. The way her voice gently drags itself over the beat in the background, almost whispering, is calm. She doesn’t increase her volume much as she nears the chorus but instead speaks faster with more purpose. Once the chorus arrives, she returns to her slow, melodic voice that’s easy to get lost in.

The Black Keys – “Fever”

Fresh off their new album, Turn Blue, “Fever” is one of the more upbeat songs and the only one currently available on Spotify. It utilizes the electric keyboard and an intricate drum set to create the background for lead singer Dan Auerbach’s voice to cruise over. The guitar solo differs from the rest of the song. It is faster paced and heavier than the calm verses and easygoing chorus. The album itself has a psychedelic vibe and “Fever” brings excitement in comparison to other more melodic tracks on the album.

Sean Kingston – “Got No Shorty”

The summer song that will be stuck in your head long through the winter, Kingston’s track is incredibly catchy. The song comes off the same album as “Beautiful Girls,” but the music is still as enjoyable as it was in 2007. The clapping of the rhythm throughout the song gives it an upbeat vibe, and Kingston’s vocals are put on display. The young artist has a range beyond his years, and as he sings about lookin’ for love at the club, you’ll find yourself hoping he does find a shorty.

Blink-182 – “What’s my Age Again?”

This ’90s anthem describes the carefree living of summer through different situations lead singer, Tom Delonge, encounters. His signature manner of speak-singing narrates the song, and the guitar riffs in between the verses tie each one together. Blink-182’s music represents summer in general, but this song in particular is one of their more popular tracks and perfect for singing along to in the car on the way to the beach.

Kiesza – “Hideaway”

“Hideaway” is one of the lesser-known songs of the summer. Kiesza’s voice rings over piano chords to introduce the song. A dance anthem, “Hideaway” is similar to a lot of the music from the last decade, particularly as dubstep gained popularity. With few words after the initial introduction, the beat is kept steady through computer noises and bits of percussion. The song is perfect for going out over the summer and is often used by a DJ in mixes.

Iggy Azalea – “Fancy”

Is it any surprise that this song is on the list? The newcomer gives new meaning to female rappers, and her most famous song explains why. Iggy starts off her song spitting about her ability, creating clever rhymes and leading into a slower chorus. The chorus highlights Iggy’s singing voice, which is different from when she raps. Similar to Nicki Minaj, Iggy’s self-confidence beams through her song about being famous and partying.


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