I caught up with an old friend recently, and after the usual small talk about how the 100+ degree Austin summer days are killing us both, we transitioned to what we were watching on Netflix (The Sinner), our favorite movie of the summer (Ant-Man and The Wasp), and favorite recent podcast discovery (The Adventures of Memento Mori).
I know, riveting stuff, I’m an incredible conversationalist.
The conversation got me thinking though; we didn’t talk about music. Why is that, and what are my favorite songs this summer? Unfortunately, nothing really stands out—probably because I’m old, but maybe, just maybe, it’s because the industrial music machine doesn’t crank out hits like they used to. Not to say the music is any worse than it ever was, but it just doesn’t have the same push.
Case in point—the World Cup. Robbie Williams led the opening ceremony with his hit “Let Me Entertain You.” I mean, cool, I like Robbie Williams, but that song was released in 1997.
Not to worry, the song of the World Cup was really “Seven Nation Army,” a legit, badass thumper that was released … in 2003.
Verdict: I’m definitely old, but apparently the arbiters of taste like the same type of music as I do, so look for a variety of Wilco songs to permeate this fall’s English Premier League broadcasts, I guess. Or whatever the kids are watching these days—get off my lawn.
With all that in mind, here are my top ten songs for the summer of 2018:
10) “Lucky Star” — Madonna. Released in 1983, I was seven years old and loved going to the pool. This song was always on at the pool, so it makes the list.
9) “Slam” — Onyx. Released in 1993, I was in high school, and it was fun to play basketball at the pool where I grew up in College Station. No, I didn’t live in a pool in high school. That wouldn’t happen until much later, and yes they set up a basketball goal alongside the pool so we could almost drown each other every day playing something between water polo, basketball, and mixed martial arts.
8) “Dreams” — Beck. I could have sworn I listened to it last summer, but the internet says October 2017, so check-mate brain! Anyway, I like this song, and I like Beck. Listed.
7) “Revival” — Me Phi Me. Released on the Reality Bites soundtrack in 1994, I listened to it non-stop as an angsty high schooler going into his senior year. The movie had it all—slacker vibe, filmed in Houston, TX (just down the road from where I lived, y’all), and Winona Ryder. Some of these things I liked more than others, but what I loved most was cruising around the neighborhoods of Central Texas with the windows down, blasting the song through my Discman, and letting everyone know I was listening to the latest in hip-hop.
6) “Cantaloupe” — Us3. Everything from the post above, but in addition, the track has trumpets. Do you like trumpets? Of course you do. Now enjoy these funky beats.
5) “Tempted” — The Squeeze. JFC, I guess just put the whole soundtrack of Reality Bites on here, with the exception of a couple of tracks (you know the ones).
4) “Axel F” — Harold Faltermeyer. You probably thought it was written and performed by Herbie Hancock … well, it wasn’t. I thought so too until I looked it up for this dumb list.
Released as part of the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack in 1984, it was everywhere that summer along with “The Heat is On.” This is the first song I remember hearing on the radio that didn’t have any lyrics. That was the summer of friends asking friends, do you know the name of that song? Which one? The one that goes doo-doo-doo (you get where I’m going with this). Every time it came on at the pool, the elementary school kids went nuts. Myself included.
3) “Ghostbusters” — Ray Parker Jr. Released in the summer of 1985, I almost didn’t include it on the list because it was really more of a skating rink joint, and I’m in more of a pool vibe here, but its summer greatness is undeniable.
Fight me if you disagree.
Just like Huey Lewis fought Ray Parker Jr. in court for stealing the bass line for “Wanna a New Drug” (and won). I guess I’d prefer to be Huey Lewis in that analogy, and since this is my blog, I am. Deal with it.
2) “The Humpty Dance” — Digital Underground. Released in 1990, “The Humpty Dance” belongs on any best-of list, and that includes this one. Science.
1) “The Way” — Fastball. Released in 1998, this song made me want to move to Austin. Granted I lived in Abilene, TX, a town known mainly for its wind, dirt, and church/human ratio, but I loved the video and really wanted to be able to play the guitar solo (I couldn’t).
So that’s it, folks. The sweet tunes of the summer of 2018, brought to you by a similar mind trust as the programmers of the World Cup. Hope you enjoyed it (both the blog and the sporting event), and feel free stop back by for more pointless articles like this.