Henry: It is legitimately almost summer. My friend ordered an iced coffee the other day; I have considered wearing shorts. That can only mean one thing: We write a lot about the summer. A brief history – of last year alone! – for the forgetful:
- Michael and I ran down ’25 Songs That Will Get You Pumped For Summer’ (still applicable, I would re-think The 1975 though).
- We did that again: Michael called how big avicii’s pseudo-Mumford club track would be, and also The Royal Concept’s ‘On Our Way’ (we also interviewed them here) and there was a Rihanna remix.
- We did a final list together (they were popular, okay? It’s kind of your fault more than anyone else’s) and this time song-writer to the stars, Bonnie McKee, followed us on Twitter. We were totally bugging.
- Michael listed the ‘8 Best Indie Summer Songs’ that may have just been an excuse to post a photo of Hunter S. Thompson in short shorts. I’m joking – go read it – Youngblood Hawke retweeted us. It was a big deal.
Michael: That’s right, summer is here. I can do you one better, my friend genuinely makes ice coffees every morning now and I’ve been rocking the short shorts for the past week. Get pumped for some more summer-related output!
H: Yeah, this will complete most of your summer playlists. I’m now spending the entire summer waiting for someone to ask me to go see Godzilla with them. Pretty romantic.
1) Problem – Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea
H: Can we get the pop out of the way first? My choice for this year’s ‘Royals’ is Ariana Grande’s ‘Problem’ which I enjoyed on first listen and has since rocketed to number three on the Hot 100. That saxophone is to ‘Problem’, what finger-clicking was to ‘Royals’ and cherry chapstick was to ‘I Kissed a Girl.’ It’s sweet, addictive and you’re going to get sick of it come late July. But then you’ll roll down the window in your car, sip a cold Coke and blast it as loud as it can go. Full disclaimer, of those three, ‘I Kissed a Girl’ is my favourite for … various reasons. What’s your choice, Michael? Please say it’s Pitbull.
M: I hate the saxophone. I’m more of a tuba man myself.
2) Beating Heart – Ellie Goulding
M: ‘I Kissed a Girl’ also easily tops that list of three for similarly various reasons. My pop song for the year is going to be Ellie Goulding’s ‘Beating Heart’. I am fully aware of how controversial this. Barely charting and paling in comparison to the success of ‘How Long Will I Love You’ & ‘Burn’ but I genuinely believe that this is the best song she has put out since ‘Anything Could Happen’. I know that I’m biased due to my undeniable affection for Divergent but this is a great pop song and my favourite for this summer. Second place is the Netherlands’ song from Eurovision but it’s a bit of a bummer for the summer. Third is Pitbull and whatever piece of shit record he released this year, really love that guy.
H: Pitbull is my homeboi. That Ellie Goulding song is fine – except that ‘departure lounge of disbelief’ line, because like seriously? – and she’s probably the most consistent pop-star out there right now so I’ll let you have it. I don’t know how similar these various reasons are.
3) We Own the Sky – M83:
H: 2 points to make, here. 1) Do you remember when M83 was known not just for being on the Made In Chelsea credits? and 2) Summer isn’t all about falling in love with a sweaty clubber and dancing to ‘Starships’; it can also be about long, dark nights together where you can get like real. Nights where you borrow a fisherman-knit jumper and sneak out onto a beach, or into a forest (whatever, I don’t know your life). And then you talk about Salinger, and photography, and listen to LCD Soundsystem’s deep cuts on your iPhone speakers. And you think maybe – just maybe – that this is what it’s all about because you’re with someone you like, talking about things you love and listening to music that pinpoints those feelings exactly. And then you realise it’s cold as fuck so you quickly Instagram the night sky (#onlydreamerscanfly) and go back inside. Anyway, M83’s entire Saturday = Youth was an exploration of that teenage longing and self-aware romanticism. Teenagers are self-aware, right? They have to be.
M: ‘Kim & Jessie’ is still one of my favourite song of the last decade so yeah, I do remember when M83 were more than the people that do the Made in Chelsea intro. I’ve got to say, that summer sounds exactly how I imagine my summer is going to be. Unfortunately I’m selling out and working in a business complex. At least I’ll be able to listen to LCD Soundsystem on the commute.
4) Nightdrive With You – Anoraak (Fear of Tigers Remix)
H: Speaking of being deep, then. Michael, do you ever feel that love is like a night-time drive? I’m joking, but I love this. It’s shades of HelloGoodbye (it really was just goodbye wasn’t it?) and it’s Kavinsky-esque in a way that captures his sentimentality while eschewing some of that overdrawn pretension. We get it, you like synths.
M: No, night-time drives are relaxing and gentle, love is mean and confusing. I know you’re pleased with that inversion to insult HelloGoodbye and I know they are like the one-hit-wonder-iest of all bands ever by that one hit was ah-mazing. Back to the music, this is synthy, I don’t think any other adjective is appropriate.
5) Cement – Washington
H: This is a little old (apparently sometimes old music is decent) but I recently re-stumbled upon it and it fills me with a nostalgic haziness of walking around the city streets, iced coffee in hand, and not doing particularly much, which is pretty much the point of summer. Am I reading too much into the ‘cement’ motif, Crewe? Is anything real anymore? Do I even like iced coffee?
M: I feel like liking iced coffee is one of those many things that pop culture has forced upon us. I hate iced coffee yet I will order just so I can feel like my life has a bit more purpose each time I hit the pavement. I like this song by the way.
H: I get you, I find people who order iced coffee the absolute worst type of people. I scowl at them in queues and then order the same.
5b) Rich Kids – Washington
Related: Washingon’s ‘Rich Kids’ is the upbeat version of’ Cement’. It’s twee-joy-pop with a ‘Royals’-lite edge with a pre-chorus that bites ‘Rich kids freak me out.’
6) The Drop – Lethal Bizzle
M: I would probably prefer it if you didn’t comment on this Henry but fuck it, I love this. I’m part of the RariRari gang and I don’t even care. The man is a social media god and he ought to be rewarded for that with a successful music career. This played at half time in the FA Cup final if that helps convince you, Hen?
H: Well I love football, so that pretty much convinces me.
7) Get Out of My Head – Redlight
M: This is an undeniable throwback but it’s exactly the type of song that gets me pumped for an amazing summer (p.s. question: why do we think summer can be the only season that’s amazing? Why do we not write playlists for November?). Redlight chucks out all manner of music but this hip-hop inspired party anthem is a genuine delight.
H: Love this. Well, Autumn is my favourite time of the year but people get weirdly nostalgic and goopy about summer. Anything for those click-hits, you know?
8) Jealous – Chromeo
H: Chromeo kind of went a similar way to Diplo: Uncool. But ‘Bonafied Lovin’ and ‘Fancy Footwork’ have proved reliable summer playlist players in the past and buy him some credibility. ‘Jealous’ tries a little too hard to find a ‘Teenage Dream’ hook, and ends up sounding like a sticky version of literally anything Calvin Harris has produced in the last two years. Okay, ‘Jealous’ isn’t that terrible, it’s just a slightly bad version of Cee Lo’s ‘Fuck You’ which is itself kind of a bad version of Rihanna’s ‘Take a Bow’ which is the poor man’s ‘Irreplaceable.’ If you’re going to do a bad-break-up song, go all out. Make ’em pack all their stuff in a box to the left, don’t just call them out for wearing a jacket you bought them, dude.
M: What kind of girl wears the jacket you bought her after you broke up?! Disgusting. Yeah, this isn’t the smartest break-up song. I miss RiRi.
9) Patterns – Tourist
M: Tourist is like the one who doesn’t do drugs in the group of edgy hipsters. He’s super accessible and just kind of gentle. This is the radio-friendliest of all his music and is a perfect song for some vibing this summer (don’t hate me for saying vibing, it’s a thing people say in my current geographical context).
H: Isn’t that kid the wet blanket?
10) The Only Place – Best Coast
H: Best Coast are the dream. For my road-trip around Texas last summer, I made a whole bunch of CDs (like, 30) and I can’t believe I didn’t put more of these guys on. On a related note: Someone take me on a road-trip around sunny America in a convertible, soon. Please.
M: I am also looking for someone to take me on a road-trip around sunny America. Only with Henry, if I get to control the iPod.
11) Streamers – Wave Racer
M: Can you tell me what genre this is Henry? It’s just like a crazy mix of different flowery flourishes. I sort of like it, sort of find it really annoying. It definitely has the potential to make it onto your summer playlists though, even if you have to skip past it from time to time.
H: I think it is truly terrible. What’s the context going to be to listen to this? ‘God, I’m sweltering. Let’s listen to that song that gives us migraines.’
12) West Coast – Lana Del Rey
H: This is the best single LDR’s released. In part, because it actually resembles a song. For that, you have Dan Auerbach (!) to thank. It’s a pairing that actually makes a lot of sense; and it brings out a rockier, less tragipop version of Lana. It’s clipped, and edited in a way that her first album wasn’t, and it makes me tentatively excited for Ultraviolence.
M: Potentially the first LDR (is that an acronym that people use?) that I have ever liked. Cheer up love, you’re rich, talented and successful – life’s good!
H: You know what sad people don’t like? Being told to cheer up.
13) It Gets Cold – Eliza and the Bear
M: Elliot has always loved Eliza and the Bear so I’ve always decided not to listen to them (I can’t be seen to be validating his choices). But damn, when this came on at the end of Masterchef (I will not accept any abuse for watching this show Henry), I was moved. It’s a big old pop song with a cracking hook. I expect you to like this Henry, even if it means justifying Elliot’s music taste.
H: Okay, it’s fine. But I really can’t deal with accents that are that pronounced in songs. It’s not me being snobby or regionalist or anything, it just sounds so put-on. Remember Lily Allen’s ‘Smile’? No-one actually talks like that.
14) Spark – Amber Run
M: Amber Run are pretty good. They’ve put out some good singles over the last twelve months which all have a similar uplifting style. I would compare their music to British rom-coms; they follow the same story beats and conform to the exact same structure and style, but you’re still going to enjoy that crazily predictable ending. I don’t know if the world has a space for guitar bands any more. I always will but I think pretty much every one else is sick of this music that has yet to kick on. I blame Scouting for Girls, just because I can.
H: Scouting for Girls make me want to strangle penguins.
15) Campus – Vampire Weekend
H: A favourite, and not as annoying as ‘Oxford Comma’. This is perfectly summery and preppy. Let’s set the scene: You’re wearing a stripey top, Chambray shorts and sunglasses and walking around campus (obviously). The sun’s shining, your hair looks great, and then you see someone who used to mean something to you but is now all ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’. You’re thrown headlong into a spiral of romantic depression, and avoid eye-contact at all costs (yeah, you stare at your coffee. Stare hard). But don’t worry, kid: It happens to all of us. Keep your head up (after they’ve walked on by) and go fall in love somewhere else. Probably in a library. Probably over long bouts of eye-contact. Probably unrequited. Ha, life.
M: If you’ve missed the point that Henry is making behind this beautifully painted picture, it’s not that his inner ramblings are incredibly bizarre, but that he likes ‘Campus’. I echo this sentiment. I also enjoy that Gotye still influences us all, even after our discussion of his name never made it on to YouTube (hardcore fans will understand).
H: My inner ramblings may be bizarre but they are on point; the grass looks really pretty in the Oxford sun.
16) Better off Without You – Summer Camp
M: We’re writing quite a lot about break-ups Henry? I can assure you that this was not intentional on my part, are you going through a tough romantic time at the moment? If so, feel free to share it now. Anyway, I know the lyrics are kind of a bummer and this song is also kind of old (thank you Emma Kelly for ‘Shazam’-ing it last week and reminding me) but it’s super upbeat and should help those lovesick souls to get out and enjoy their summer (I may or may not be one of said lovesick souls.)
H: I am not going through a tough romantic time, Michael! Summer makes me happy and care-free, and brings out my inner Taylor Swift. Maybe I have a crush! Maybe I am looking for love! Maybe I’m waiting by my telephone waiting for someone to ring it! But this song is definitely making me sad.
17) You’re The One that I Want – Angus & Julia Stone
H: To make up for Michael’s bum-out Summer Camp track, take this Angus & Julia Stone cover. Preferably listen lying down in your room, with a window slightly open and a chill breeze coming in, thinking about your crush. Like an American Apparel ad that’s been Deschanelled (sexy but not porny, if you get me).
M: It was meant to be a bum-out. But you know, you have to be sad to be happy and all that (#pastispast). For the record I really do enjoy this. Perfect for innocent day dreaming of a world where Carey Mulligan is your girl (and you get to be Ryan Gosling when you look in the mirror).
H: #pastispast is a powerful mantra of ours.
18) Dance ‘n Chant – Sam Jam
M: Love this. It’s not even on iTunes and it’s forty years old. Am I the most nostalgic disco listener of all time? Potentially. Anyway, it’s super fun.
19) I Will Never Let You Down – Rita Ora
H: I just think this is really well-produced (you have Calvin Harris to thank for that).
M: Henry is obviously feeling writers’ fatigue as we come up to the 2/3 mark. I am also feeling like that.
20) Marathon – Tennis
M: This folksy, super cute, little love song is just delightful. It’s got Lorde’s finger snaps but because it’s old, you get to feel a lot cooler listening to this than ‘Royals’.
H: I love Tennis. Cape Dory is perfect.
21) Last Mile Home – Kings of Leon
H: I remain an uncompromising KoL fan. Well, I’ll make a few compromises: Mechanical Bull is a little rote, but manages to avoid the indie-landfill because … well, does it? Even its track-listing is a little side-eye emoji: ‘Wait For Me’, ‘Tonight’ and ‘Beautiful War’ sound like they could have been on a One Night Only album. But then ‘Last Mile Home’ stirs up some of that residual Southern comfort with a sweaty grit that’s been buried a few albums deep at this point. Elsewhere, ‘Supersoaker’ is Killers-lite, ‘Temple’ promises religion but delivers whininess and actually ‘Tonight’ is fairly decent.
M: I kind of liked One Night Only even if the lead singer is a Burberry model. I don’t understand how you’re still here backing Kings of Leon but I do applaud your loyalty. I wish they still meant something to me but it’s too late. The only Nashville folk-rock I listen to is the Netherlands in Eurovision.
22) Busy Earnin’ – Jungle
M: Since we’ve not really talked about Jungle, I can only really assume that you hate them Henry? I think I’m one of the few that doesn’t understand the hype but still kinda likes them. This is a fun song. Not much more, not much less.
H: Nope, I seriously can’t deal with any of this.
23) Dancing’s Done – Thumpers
M: Consider me in the top five biggest Thumpers fans on this planet. Seeing my boys (formerly of Pull Tiger Tail) play songs from their incredible debut album Galore in Exeter has been on of the highlights of my year. There’s a lovely picture of me circulating the Instagram sphere that shows just how much I loved ‘Dancing’s Done.’ It is ludicrously infectious, and Henry, surely this one of the best songs out there for this summer?
H: Are there more than Thumpers fans on this planet though? I like this quite a bit; it’ll sit nicely next to Delta Spirit’s ‘California’ on my iPod. I like to bring that song up every summer because it remains my favourite summer track ever.
24) Forest Fires – Fred V & Grafix
M: This may be a bit of an avicii-esque genre change for the sake of mainstream success but Fred V & Grafix’s rock/drum&bass hybrid is actually quite good. I doubt it will blow up like that nauseating avicii hit but it deserves your time even if Chris Moyles (he’s the only radio DJ I know now) doesn’t agree.
25) Black Widow – Iggy Azaleia ft. Rita Ora
H: I’m pretty sure this is going to be a sleeper hit on Iggy’s first album (The New Classic, which is entirely decent) by which I mean, it’s going to be released in the Autumn because a) it’s clearly not a summer song and b) people will need time to forget how similar it sounds to Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse.’ There’s a reason for that; Perry helped write it. So this is for you kids who like to like songs before they blow up. You kids are the worst.
M: We are those kids; I am going to start telling people about this song now.
26) One Week of Danger – The Virgins
H: I had this massive rush of emotion thinking about Gossip Girl lately. It summed up a point in my life so acutely – which is ridiculous because I am not American, tall or beautiful – that I Netflixed like seven episodes in a row. It felt good. And my main takeaway was that Leighton Meester needs to find some work soon man, and that most of my feelings are tied up in the show’s soundtrack. The Virgins were my favourite band for a solid two years at one point when I was a teenager which makes perfect sense; they’re snarky, self-involved but also create great pop songs. Favourite lyrics: ‘Well is there something that you like about her? Yes, I like the way her body bends in half.’ Do you get it? Do you get it?
M: Is that ‘Do You Get It?’ bit in the song? If so, I love how meta The Virgins are. I had no time for Gossip Girl but have a lot of time for this. All hail pop songs with lyrics that actually are worth a damn!
H: No, that was my mad-libbing.
27) Forgive Me (EMBRZ Remix) – Joel Compass
M: EMBRZ is a young Irish producer who unfortunately wasted his talent trying to polish the horrible ‘Settle Down’ by The 1975 (I swear I’m not bitter about them abandoning their style, their original fans and the disrespect their label showed us at all guys!) but the boy has talent. All of his songs have a very calming yet bouncy style that suits your barbecue perfectly. Just don’t bounce too much, don’t want to knock the meat.
H: Is ‘don’t want to knock the meat’ a euphemism? What happens at barbecues you go to? I am Whatsapping about you about this privately.
28) Stuck in my Teeth – Circa Waves
M: You’ve probably heard this by now in at least one high street store. I think I heard this in three different ones over the space of an hour last week. And you know what they say, if it’s good enough for TopShop, it’s good enough for me and you!
H: I … do not enjoy this much. It feels very recycled Mystery Jets to me.
29) Lovers in the Parking Lot – Solange
H: There’s never been a better time to get into Beyonce’s little sister’s music. I hate to be that guy but I’ve listened to Losing You for the longest time, and I love it. I don’t know what went down in that elevator, but I hope it drives her album sales. Yay(?).
M: Potentially my favourite story of all time? As a non-believer in the whole Beyoncé & Jay-Z shtick that is shoved down all of our throats daily, I found it absolutely amazing. No one is perfect y’all, though this Solange song is pretty close. Henry has been on her hype for years in his defence, now is the time for him to get gloating.
30) American Boy – Estelle ft. Kanye West
H: Because I can never tire of this song. Because it’s perfect to listen to with the windows rolled on. Because we’re at the end of the list. But mainly because it’s the only song that I can legit do the full rap to. Just let me have this one.
M: I will not comment. You now owe me forever :).
H: You just ended this list with an emoticon. The absolute worst.