Don't get me wrong, these songs are excellent any time of the year, but all of them, whether it's because of their lyrics, timing, or musical mood, are particularly excellent during these summer months. You can never have too many, so I've put together an offering of 16 songs through which I encourage you to browse and I hope you recruit some into your own collection. Of course, there are many more songs I could put here, but I'm favoring the most recent songs I have to assist you all in your fight for hipness and such.
This year I'm bringing these songs to you in a different fashion than before. Our first 8 songs are for when the sun is out. Perfect for your listening pleasure during boating trips, poolside romps, and all manners of daytime driving, these tunes accompany the more exciting of memories and bring some excitement to the more boring parts. The second 8 songs are more suitable in the nighttime - watching sunsets, stargazing, and just about anything else that's even a touch romantic or mellow.
I hope you enjoy the songs I've been enjoying most this time of year.
1. It's Time - Imagine Dragons
"I'm never changing who I am."
We'll start things off right with It's Time by Imagine Dragons, a Provo/Las Vegas band I stumbled into at the first of the year. I'm glad to see this band taking off like it recently has because it deserves the hype. This particular song is my most-played of the year so far; I've learned it on the viola, memorized the lyrics, mastered the clap/stomp percussion... join in. Also, make sure you fullscreen these fellas. We've got some great music videos here.
2. Anna Sun - Walk the Moon
"Live my life without coming up for air. Now it's all awash."
Walk The Moon is brand-spanking new. First EP came out this year. First album came out this month. iTunes featured this song as a free single of the week and just like that they're stars. Catchiness, summer-themed lyrics, it's own bit of choreography - all the right ingredients for a summer great.
3. Come Back Down - Greg Laswell ft. Sara Bareilles
"All of your wallowing is unbecoming."
Here's the first of several vocal duets I've included here. Two superb solo artists joined up for this one, Come Back Down. Being a longtime fan of both Greg and Sara, I was thrilled to see their voices come together in such an unexpected, yet memorable composition. They should join forces more often.
4. Amanaemonesia - Chairlift
"Spacing out in a nook and cranny. It's officially uncanny."
Chairlift is a strange bunch, that's for sure, but they know good music. Another vocal duo piece, Amanaemonesia has a tongue twister of a chorus/title and a dance choreographed by its own frontwoman that kinda makes me embarassed for her, but also makes me think she is in a separate league of awesome altogether. Stick to the audio if you can't keep yourself from laughing.
5. Good Time - Owl City ft. Carly Rae Jepsen
"Hands up if you're down to get down tonight."
Owl City is the president of Summer Songs Inc., or so it seems, but Adam Young's bringing something new to the table this year: a collaboration. Now my close friends know well that I'm generally opposed to mega popstars, but I admittedly love Carly Rae Jepsen and have ever since she sang with my top Canadian band The Midway State a couple years back. This song's release this week tickled my fancy, to say the least. Preteens across the globe will embrace this as their summer anthem of 2012. For the first time, I'll be singing along with them.
6. Comeback Kid - Sleigh Bells
"I know it's hard, but you've gotta deal with it."
It may surprise you to hear about this type song from me. It may surprise you even more to know that this is currently reigning as my #1 song of 2012. This is a headbang song if I've ever known one. We'll see if anything can top it in the coming months. In the meantime, lose control.
7. Carry On - fun.
"If you're lost and alone or sinking like a stone, carry on."
I've had a love/hate relationship with Fun this year. First, they release a single (We Are Young) that I disliked from the first listen. Then they throw about 5 f-words at me in their latest album. Meanwhile, the songs from the CD that are clean and excellent have seemed to go unnoticed. Like this one. Because of it and others, I'm inclined to forgive them.
8. Animal Life - Shearwater
"Chasing down an anodyne and half-reflected radiance."
We're going to start our shift to the nighttime with Animal Life, a perfect sunset song. Shearwater is a band I treasure more than most because of its unique vocals and fascinating lyrics. I've had more success sharing this group than any other here because they're just so dang amazing.
1. Jump Music - The Big Pink
"We'll stick together and we'll make it."
We kick off the vespertine tracks with some party music, or jump music, to be more specific. I consider songs this infectious as musical gems. This song, for lack of a better explanation, makes you feel like you're awesome, whether or not you actually are. I'll stick it on the soundtrack of my life for those less-than-cool times.
2. Endless Summer - The Jezabels
"In my mind, you're the ephemeral night."
The Jezabels, an Australian crew, just established themselves as one of my favorite bands thanks to their latest masterpiece of an album. And here is the most fitting song and most stellar music video of the post: Endless Summer. This is one of those songs I actively restrain myself from listening to too often. I'd hate ever being desensitized to this brilliance.
3. Nightfall - Amethystium
New era is a genre of music that I'd wager most people have never heard of. Believe it or not, it is my favorite genre of music and not even my closest friends know that. I'm usually hesitant to share it because, well, it's strange, but it's incredibly beautiful. So here I am, taking a chance with Amethystium, which will likely sound totally new to you, but might just enchant you.
4. Boundaries - Kyte
"Listen to the world."
Kyte's another of my favorite bands, and not just because their name is one line away from my own. This song here is fairly old, but I picked it up recently and found it's suitability here too significant to discount. The atmosphere Kyte creates is my style of music. If I were to start a band on my own, I couldn't help but take a bit from these guys.
5. I Am Yours - Churchill
"I am yours if you want me."
Churchill is one of the youngest bands here. They released an EP in March and they put it up for free on NoiseTrade three months later. They are my heroes because I'd have paid a ton of money for those songs had I known how amazing and diverse they were. In reality, I stumbled into them with no prior knowledge and abruptly fell in love. Head to noisetrade.com to get all five songs for free. That set is my best find of the year, no doubt.
6. Don't Worry - SOJA
"Why do we learn the right way by doing the wrong?"
We're switching gears here to some reggae, which always seems to have thoughtful, feel-good lyrics. SOJA, a new band for me, is a certainly a frontrunner in the inspiration department with this song on its top notch. SOJA has a way of making your little problems disappear by reminding you of the stuff that matters most. Their music also gets you thinking, which I'm a fan of.
7. Kinds of Light - Memoryhouse
"The more I look, the more you fade."
As things stand now, Memoryhouse's new CD is set up to be my #1 album of the year. This song will give you a good idea why. Aside from having a slight crush on the singer, I'm addicted to the group's perspective on music. I'm saving songs like this for those late-night drives with the sweetheart...you know, when she shows up. Until then, I'll sink into these sultry notes solo.
8. Connected - I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody's Business
"On a bright summer day, a big blue sky was calling out my name. What a beautiful surprise."
...And of course we have to bring back some old favorites. Winner of my 2010 album of the year, I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody's Business (code name for Ace Enders) never disappoints. I found this song to be the perfect end to this list. A little bit of summer (the sixth on the list to call it out by name, I believe), a little bit of love (the best part of summer, right?), and a whole bunch of musical passion. I'll leave you with this.