Summer Tracks 2018


I was really into indie music in college. Still am, but not to the same extent. One of my favorite albums was from ex-boy band member, Charlie Simpson, from the British trio known as "Busted." The album is called, "Young Pilgrim."

It was the summer. I want to say the year was 2010 but I could be wrong. All I can remember is that I was in college, and since it was summer I was taking classes at the local community college. My friend and I had gone to the movies. I can't remember what movie we saw. Looking at the films released during the Summer of 2010, I can't remember seeing any in he theater. It seems my memory only makes room for movie quotes and obscure details about Harry Potter. But I do have a distinct memory from that night when I left the movie theater.

Before driving out of the parking lot, I plugged my iPod into my cassette tape adapter and rolled down the windows. The night was alive with the sounds of crickets, the passing traffic on the main road ahead, and movie goers chatting on the sidewalk. The small of car exhaust, freshly mown grass from earlier in the day, and popcorn lingered in the night air. I decided to listen to Charlie Simpson. His low voice began to sing over the low strums of his guitar and I drove out of the movie theater parking lot, my friend a few cars ahead of me.

The car I drove once belonged to my grandmother. It was a 1995 Ford Contour that had no CD player and an engine light that glowed orange all hours of its waking life. I pulled up at a red light and rested my arm out the open car window. The light turned green and I turned right onto the long stretch of road that would take me home, my friend driving straight ahead and soon out of sight. There was a cool breeze that added nice flavor to the evening. As my car glided along the road, I felt a rush of independence and serenity. This night felt oddly nostalgic and new at the same time, and it was perfect.

One of Charlie's songs, "Dead Man Walking," began to play. The song is extremely slow, a combination of ethereal guitar riffs and layers of Charlie's voice harmonizing together. Perhaps it is strange to say, but that song took me to another place. As I drove through the night listening to the song, I was overtaken with this surreal feeling that this moment was way more important than it actually was. The combination of the night air and the sounds and the smells felt perfect. The cool breeze whispered in the heat. I didn't want the song to end. I could have driven forever listening to it.

Music has always had the power to move me in this way. Truth be told, I've had several moments similar to this. "Dead Man Walking" tends to stand out above the others, I guess. But it is moments like these that have inspired the music playlists I create.

As silly as this may sound, creating playlists like Summer Tracks 2018 usually takes 3-4 months. It begins with me dragging and dropping a few tracks into playlists. These tracks are chosen in a number of ways, but the usual reason is that I recently listened to a track and it reminded me of a particular season. Should the playlist exceed the time limit able to be burned to CD, I make a second playlist, or a third, or even a fourth. Then I may even create a fifth playlist to hold tracks for next year. Following this, I choose a song order. I figure out what songs go on what CD, changing song order and adding and subtracting songs. My goal is to create an experience with these CD's, and for that reason, play order is extremely important. All of this goes on for months until I finally settle on a final playlist. Sometimes I hold off finalizing a playlist due to wanting to add a song that hasn't even released yet. This paragraph may make it sound like this is hard work (and to a certain extent that is correct), but I promise that it does not feel like work at all. I love creating playlists with music that I love, to share with my friends.

Summer Tracks 2018 is a set of playlists that I am extremely pleased with. It is a selection of songs that I have been toggling with since late Winter / early Spring. As is want to do, I believe that these songs capture the essence of Summer. They are the songs you dance along to with your friends, and blast at high volume with the windows down in the car. They are songs to listen to on a calm morning on the beach, or sitting around a campfire in the evening, or an accompaniment to a storm. And they are most certainly great to listen to on an evening drive home from seeing a great movie.

A few notes before I finish this letter:

  • Yes, '80s remixes of modern songs rock and if you say otherwise then I'm not sure we can be friends.

  • Also, '80s songs in general are pretty darn fantastic.

  • Yes, I did include an early 2000's pop song from the Princess Diaries film soundtrack on this playlist and I see no shame in that.

  • Score from the Kingdom Hearts video games will always find a way onto these playlists. It is basically a tradition at this point. #saveaqua.

  • I never expected to include an Aly & AJ song on a playlist yet here we are.

  • Honestly, summer is supposed to be fun. I like songs that have great meaning, but there are tons of tracks on here that are just so devoid of meaning that it is ridiculous. But they are just so darn fun to listen to!

  • Slow songs can also feel like Summer! Stop being a noob.

  • And finally, I waited to finalize this playlist just to include a song by Hikaru Utada, only to find that the song I wanted won't be released in English anytime soon. So….I guess that'll have to wait for next year.

If I could, I would write up an explanation for why I chose each track...but I have already attempted something of the sort and had to quit. Let's be honest, it is way too time consuming and makes my productivity super low on the things I should actually be working on. And if I'm being honest, then you better be honest too. You wouldn't read my explanations anyway, would you? That's what I thought! :)

Enjoy the Summer Tracks 2018 playlist. Know that the playlist was carefully crafted with love and I hope you get as much out of the music as I did creating the playlist.


Look forward to Autumn Tracks 2018, coming your way (most likely) in October!