Nearly two weeks ago on our drive up to the airport, my top 40 music lovin' little sister (who's at the top of her forties, I might add) proclaimed the five-month-old worldwide reggaeton hit "Despacito" both her favorite song AND The Song of the Summer. That conversation was immediately followed by inquiries from a couple of friends asking me what my Song Of Summer 2017 might be. I replied that I honestly had none. Then, as if on cue, Spotify weighed in with Your Summer Rewind, a personalized playlist of 30 tracks from the last few years. The playlist is an amazingly accurate sonic snapshot (the data don't lie) as I remember it - regular viewers know that the past two Summers have been hard - and has also proven to be a surprisingly uplifting listen over the past few days, whether it be in the rolling thunder of The Blueberry, standing here at my desk in front of the Klipsch PC speakers or out by the pool, softly blaring from the vintage-styled, modern-sounding Marshall Acton. Here's a breakdown of the playlist's first ten songs that have distracted and delighted me over the last few summers, according to Spotify's data mining:
What, you ain't heard it? This bouncy 2003 track from Killer Mike's Monster album never fails to uplift my mood and why shouldn't it? Big Boi, Sleepy Brown and Killer Mike fill in the blanks in case you are confused and bewildered by the title's acronym or the prophylactic on the cover. Though listed as the "Clean Album Version" on Spotify, there is a hard to listen to radio friendly version available on YouTube. (KoЯn fans, please stand down.)
Van McCoy follows with the radio-dominating 1975 super smash dance hit "The Hustle" and keeps the I guess we'll call it the theme going from the previous song with exhortations to "do it". Another upbeat and positive song with an unforgettable melody courtesy of flutist Mike Rod that just makes you want to move. Or at least prance.
Things mellow out a bit with INXS's "This Time" from 1985. I continue to find comfort and solace in the song's lyrics, just as I have for more than 30 years since buying Listen Like Thieves, INXS's most criminally underrated and overlooked album.
The bassline and the scratchy, Nile Rodgers-like guitar riff of 2001's "Hella Good" are perfectly described by the song's title. To me, it sounds like Prince and Chic jamming in the studio while Gwen Stefani reads her Instagram captions aloud, which could have been one of the greatest things in the world if it had ever happened. I particularly enjoy this good time song about having a good time while having a good time in the pool.
We covered "Faded" as part of the Summer In Stereo series of 100 posts in 100 days back in the Summer of 2014. It's always a fun track to play and watch people just get into it though more often than not it is mistaken for a George Michael track (which I get) by my peers or Justin Timberlake track (which I don't get) by younger listeners.
99.9% of listeners would find the jarring segue from the turnt-up production values of "Faded" to the positively primitive garage sound of 1964 and The Shangri-Las track "Remember (Walkin' In The Sand)" a train wreck. Though, upon closer inspection, it's just a segue from a boy band to a girl band. It's just another day here at The Hideaway where anything always goes.
Look no further for proof of that then the next track, AC/DC's throat-shredding "Shoot To Thrill" (1980), the 150th most popular classic rock song as voted on by listeners of local classic rock radio KLPX this past Memorial Day. Without a doubt, one of my all-time favorite driving songs, one of my most listened to songs and a primary reason I remain relatively road rage free after all these years driving in the ridiculous road race known as local traffic.
Just looked it up and according to the accounting firm of last.fm, the only song I've scrobbled more often than "Shoot To Thrill" is Brothers Osborne's "Stay A Little Longer" which I first unashamedly obsessed over HERE. It still lights me up from the opening riff and the three-minute guitar solo that closes out the song leaves me burning white hot. I woke up to this song this morning and everyone I will come in contact with today (or whenever you're viewing this) will benefit from it. You're welcome.
Somewhere here in the Hideaway Archives, there is a decades-old mixtape called Hot Rod or something equally ripe for ridicule sitting in a box. It contains all my favorite Rod Stewart voiced driving songs, including "Stay With Me". Recorded while the tapes from his sessions for Every Picture Tells A Story were likely still warm, Rod was in top voice in this group effort which finds the band cooking on the front burner. I like to focus on different instruments each time I listen to this well-recorded rollicking classic and hearing it in glorious hi-rez for the first time back in 2015 instantly brought this one back into regular rotation where it has remained ever since.
When I bought "Isn't It Time" on 45 one Saturday in the Fall of 1977, I spent the better part of my free time after supper clean-up that night listening to it over and over on my Soundesign all-in-one stereo. At one point, maybe after a dozen or so repeat listenings, my Dad came barging into my room which sent me scrambling for the volume knob, thinking maybe I had violated the clearly established and mutually agreed upon sound level. "There is more than enough music in this world so you don't have to listen to the same songs over and over again," he said (more or less) and then he turned and left my room as quickly as he had come in, shutting the door behind him. You know I still binge on songs or albums on occasion but from that moment on, I set out to listen to as much music as I possibly could which is the sole reason we are gathered here today.
Tune in next time for another ten songs!