Henry: Like Grouplove’s second album, summer promised so much: Late nights, fisherman knits and tan. But I’m pretty sure I’m dying right now. I had two late, late (but awesome, awesome) nights on Thursday and Friday and I think I’m being punished by the universe or something because all I’ve eaten since Saturday is fruit and juice and it’s not working. I literally just fell asleep for four hours in the middle of the day. How’s your current state, Mikey?
Michael: I’ve had a truly wild summer. Made it out of the house once in the last week to pick up my brother’s dry cleaning. That’s it. That’s literally what how the sunniest week of this summer so far went for me. Tonsillitis is a bummer. I made it to my summer ball though, alcohol was not the best medicine.
H: Point being: We’re both pretty wild. And sometimes you just have to down a beetroot smoothie (#rebooturself), blast a good song (#tune) and get a grip (#GAG). These are the songs that’ll get that done. They’re like Starbucks but come without the crippling self-loathing of buying cardboard-coffee just because some kid from L.A bought it in a film.
Other stuff: Lots of songs from our ‘30 Songs of the Summer‘ may be applicable here but they were also quite a lot about love and that confuses me so let’s try and not think about it as much this post. Also see Allie X’s ‘Prime’ from our ‘Summer Party Songs‘ which literally kickstarts my every day. It’s so good and gets cleverer every time I listen to it.
M: I’m so proud that I can take responsibility for discovering the next big pop star/next pop star that Henry loves. Allie X will dominate airwaves for years to come, trust us on this.
1) BST FRNDS – Spirit Animal
H: This could have been so annoying. I went through a period where I used the words ‘spirit animal’ every other sentence and BG WRDS with no VWLS is a little MCH. But it’s great, and I think my sleeper song of the summer. It stands on its own of course, but it feels like a worthy successor to any Charli XCX song (that ‘Boom Clap’ for sure) or the Black Kids’ ‘I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With Me‘. All songs that could be very very annoying, but turns out very very right. What makes ‘BST FRNDS’ a doozy is its unapologetically jerky lyrics (‘We’re going to a party and you’re not invited / But we’re gonna tell your best friends’) and its final, chanty ‘B-S-T-F-R-N-D-S’. Not since ‘Hollaback Girl’ has a song (almost) taught you how to spell as catchily. Those claps don’t fucking hurt either.
M: I got a Whatsapp from Henry when he first heard this song to tell me I “needed” to listen to it. At the time, and knowing Henry, I naturally assumed it was going to be something that we would mock relentlessly for the days to come. That’s why when I heard how good it was, I felt brave enough to stand up and tell Henry I liked it. He loved it already and wondered why I was being such a freak but it’s because we’re BST FRNDS Henry!
H: ‘Brave enough to stand up and tell Henry’ are words I never thought would be written. You’re my BST FRND too, MCHL. *purple heart emoji*
2) Revival – Broken Records
M: This is an exceptional record. It’s unapologetically simple in style, with hints of The National and Augustines, but it’s damn good. With its driving beat and a really infectious set of harmonies, it’s one of my favourite songs of the summer. And it’s called ‘Revival’ for goodness sake, this is just perfect for this playlist. It features claps also.
H: Clap along if you know happiness is to you (emojis, Diet Coke and Netflix). I remember yonks ago you told me about your ‘inspiration’ playlist (is this public knowledge?) and it was a lot of Imagine Dragons and Nickelback (one of those is a joke) and this would fit right along (one of) those bands. I like the ‘this won’t mean a thing’ refrain because my life is fairly meaningless too. I’m joking: I live for emojis, Diet Coke and my BST FRNDS.
3) Wheel of Fortune – The Virgins
H: I’ve talked about my love of The Virgins a lot. They make for great angst-karaoke. Their second album, Strike Gently lives up to its name. It’s weirdly nice about people, things, ex-girlfriends. Which is a shame if you miss the acerbic bitchiness that defined their first album. But this is fun, skulky and kinda sulky too. You need to put this on and slouch around your room in boots and light a cigarette. Except, don’t smoke (indoors).
4) Panic – ON AN ON
M: The recording sounds strangely amateurish (particularly the percussion) but I really do have a soft spot for this song this summer. The angst and moaning at the start of the song dissolve away into resolution by its conclusion and it’s kind of a nice message for a rock song to try to get across; things get better y’all!
H: Is that fuzzy production on purpose or because they ran out of money? Whatever: I like this quite a bit. I feel it’s going to be played on morning after drives on our much-talked-about, still-unorganised American road-trip.
5) West Coast – Lana Del Rey (MK Remix)
H: MK’s an internet favourite. LDR’s a Tumblr favourite. This remix forces you to get up, move, do something.
M: I really like this a lot Hen.
6) My Head is a Jungle – Wankelmut & Emma Louise (MK Remix)
M: And clearly CYHT loves MK too (I do not like LDR). I first heard this when I was in South Africa last year. As a result I ignored for a full 11 months before picking it up again. It’s nine minutes long but it’s perfectly timed for your shower: get in, you’re feeling shit, get out, you’re feeling joyous.
H: I’ve literally never related to a sentence more. Shower music is important. My sister’s mastered ‘Wrecking Ball’ and ‘Roar’ but I normally go for something more dance-based or ’90s so I can pretend to be in a Leo D-Cap movie. This is freakin’ killer; MK is much better when he’s not relying on his standard piano remixes.
7) Frontin’ – Pharrell ft. Jay Z (Disclosure remix)
H: Ouch, this kills. I reckon this is what the cool kids will be playing poolside this summer. It has retro-soul appeal, fresh British DJ appeal and it’s Pharrell without being ‘Happy’. It just works, and I think it’ll get me through a few heady mornings.
M: This is so F-U-N. It’s certainly what my pals and I will be playing poolside this summer.
H: ‘Pals’. Do we feel awkward about the ‘tear your ass up’ line?
M: Yes, it makes me über uncomfortable.
8) Silence – Holy Esque
M: I don’t know if you like this music anymore Henry? I still really like guitar bands even in 2014 and kind of love the interesting vocals this guy puts over the top of the pretty cool musical layer. It’s my number 1 shower song right now.
H: Ooooooooh, those vocals are affected. It’s a good thing we don’t shower together because we would not agree on a soundtrack. It’s also just a good thing we don’t shower together.
9) Digital Love – Daft Punk
H: Can we go back in time? I’m allowed to do that, right? This is our website. I have this weird connection with ‘Digital Love’ that I think is maybe spiritual, definitely unhealthy. I have literally formed a spiritual connection with every single lyric in this song. ‘Digital Love’ exists in such a late 90s/early 00s cynical pop-landscape that it makes my heart squeal (or say something like, ‘rad, can you turn up MTV?’) and jump for joy (or the nearest line of coke). I don’t think there’s a song with better opening lines (‘Last night I had a dream about you / In this dream I’m dancing right beside you’) but I know there’s not a song that will get me on my feet more quickly. Also, literally 60% of bridges in pop songs from the last decade take their cue from this song.
M: I find Daft Punk really hard to enjoy generally but it’s kind of awesome to hear just how clearly influential this song has been on modern pop songs. I enjoy it when you’re insightful Henry. I can pretend that your insight is mine to my friends who will never know otherwise; it’s the least exciting form of theft.
H: What’s the most exciting kind of theft? The Bling Ring, right? Or the Tumblr crime ring? All I know is that I live for the day when people call me Klepto Princess. This is a subject on which I have a lot of thoughts.
M: I really want to hear those thoughts unless they amount to a defence of The Bling Ring since that is not something I have any interest in hearing.
H: I literally cannot believe you just said that. BSTFRND for NVR.
10: Beware of the Dog – The Griswolds
M: I know that it’s really hard not to hate these guys on that band photo alone but they’re Australian so you shouldn’t be surprised that they dress and act like such douches. But this song is pretty fun and pretty perfect for getting you up, bundling your mates into your third-hand hatchback and driving down to the beach. It’s a good song boys but for God’s sake get a haircut (and in the future try to avoid lyrics like “now we’re fucking crazy”, it’s a little bit awkward).
H: They look like River Island and Reading Festival 2011 fucked and spawned a hideous, chunky-jewellery-wearing demon-child. Where the fuck are these third-hand hatchbacks coming from? Where are these beaches coming from? Where are these mates coming from? I’m only angry because I just want that life, too. But yeah: This feels very The Royal Concept meets a friendlier version of first album The Vaccines in a way that I’ll enjoy over the summer. Ugh, to be fucking crazy eh Michael?
11: To Be Young – I Heart Sharks
M: The second coming of Look See Proof has arrived. For the boys from Hitchin it took three years not three days but Berlin’s I Heart Sharks may as well be the same four guys I idolized in my teen years. I mean this music is so long out of fashion that you might as well be wearing bagging denims and an over-sized leather jacket while you’re listening but man do I enjoy it. To their credit, I think some of the lyrics for guys whose first language isn’t even English are actually quite good (‘Got a feeling of animosity for the things I haven’t done’ is quite insightful if a little superficial). I also think the song pretty perfectly expresses young adulthood and its complications (fittingly this was on Made in Chelsea last week). It may be a little bit too wannabe anthemic but its intentions are noble and the results adequate to earn quite a lot of adoration from my heart. I will be surprised if you agree with me Henry…?
H: Ugh, being a young adult is so hard. I have such a complicated love-life (it doesn’t exist). Anyway, I like this except the production is beyond dated – at times I thought I was listening to an X Factor live show cover – and their singing is very enunciated. Like, they sound super aware they are singing in English which is fair enough, I’m sure if I sang in German I would sound weird. But I’m not trying to be a recording artist. So actually yeah no, I do not like this. Close but no Marlborough Light.
12: SuperLove – Charli XCX
H: We’ve talked about Allie X a lot and this is a variation on a theme. Charli XCX is probably my favourite pop-star and she kills on throwaway, observational lyrics that literally make me weak at the knees: ‘I think your hair looks much better pushed over to one side’. Don’t you just want someone to say that to you, (apart from your hairdresser)? I know it’ s old, and I know it was supposed to be huge a couple of summers ago but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy this. You can sing and dance to this post-shower; that’s how Charli XCX is supposed to be enjoyed. Aren’t we all just searching for a SuperLove, Mikey?
M: Oh god do I love Charli XCX. You know how everyone has that one woman who they would drop everything for in their hypothetical life? Well this would be mine. She’s so amazing – funny, cool, sexy – just imagine how rad your life would be if you got to be Super(in)Love with her. This song, like everything she ever has or ever will release, is killer. K I L L E R. Get up and do something because if you do nothing you won’t ever find SuperLove (with or without Charli XCX).