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Fifteen Songs for Summer Grinches

Prefer ‘Ice Ice Baby’? We’ve got your playlist. Tell us yours.

Steve Burgess 25 Jun 2021 | TheTyee.ca

Steve Burgess writes about politics and culture for The Tyee. Find his previous articles here.

Hot weather arrives and crime rates soar. Patience dwindles. You are guilted into overpaying for tepid lemonade peddled by entrepreneurial sidewalk urchins. Sleep is fitful. And that goddamn, mother-loving landscaping equipment at 8 a.m. Summer is not everyone’s glass of iced tea.

A quick survey of social media suggests there may be as many summertime Grinches as Christmas ones. “Hot Fun in the Summertime” simply does not speak to such people. Here then is a playlist for the Summer Grinch — 15 summer songs to remind you that you’re not alone in your bored/disappointed/sweltering/lovelorn/alienated/cranky summer mood. Add your own in the comment section.

“Flies (Big as Your Fist)” by Pukka Orchestra

A personal favourite by an underappreciated Canadian band of the ’80s. It’s like the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Summer in the City” but without the cool evening stuff.

“British People in Hot Weather” by the Fall

Mark E. Smith’s update on Noel Coward’s “Mad Dogs and Englishmen.” You may not be able to decipher all of Smith’s seasonal griping (Club 18-30 was a holiday agency catering to young single revellers, famed for its rather crude advertising), but the message comes through — the Brits are not a fair-weather people.

“Summer Wine” by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood

Summer hookups and refreshing beverages: Nancy and Lee warn you of the downside.

“Cruel Summer” by Bananarama

Possibly the closest thing to a summer haters’ international anthem.

“Summer Wind” by Frank Sinatra

This song makes summer sound romantic — at first. Then the bubble bursts, the soaring kite plummets to Earth, and at last the erstwhile joys of summer serve only to mock you and your fading recollection of happiness. Serves you right, starry-eyed fool.

“Star Witness” by Neko Case

Not a general lament for the season, but Neko Case’s classic ballad of highway carnage plays out in summer twilight, suggestive of all the ways warm weather urges can go horribly wrong.

“Too Darn Hot” by Ella Fitzgerald

Cole Porter gets right to the heart of the problem — as the thermometer rises, romance becomes a sticky situation — and Fitzgerald brings his eloquent complaint to life.

“Sausalito Summer Nights” by Diesel

Road trip! It’ll be fun. Unless of course you blow a gasket on the grapevine while driving a Rambler with a whirlpool in the tank. The classic holiday excursion as a series of disasters and mounting expense, immortalized in one of the great one-hit wonders of the late ‘70s. Love that guitar riff.

“Bummer Summer” by Charmer

A reminder that warm weather is no magical cure for ongoing psychological issues. Take your medication.

“September” by Earth, Wind & Fire

A jam for all who prefer fall.

“Smooth” by Santana featuring Rob Thomas

Makes the list for its opening lines which come readily to mind on relentlessly hot days: “Man, it’s a hot one/Like seven inches from the midday sun...”

“I Hate Summer” by Swanes

Overhyped, says this Toronto duo.

“Summertime Sadness” by Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey reminds us that you can be sizzling, and still suffer summer melancholy.

“Summertime Blues” by Blue Cheer

The all-time classic summer lament, first released by Eddie Cochran in 1958 and covered countless times. The Who’s live rendition is a standard, but is there any version to match the loony summertime garage vibe of Blue Cheer?

“See You in September” by the Happenings

The musical slogan of the true Summer Grinch. “See you when the summer’s through...”  [Tyee]

Read more: Music

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