Here’s a summer soundtrack I made and distributed to my family last weekend in Michigan:
1. Delirious | Vistoso Bosses (with Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em) 4:03
Classic summer hit recipe. I predict that at least once this summer, you will walk by someone playing this on a boombox, and then the kids working in the ice cream stand will be playing it, and then a car will drive by you playing it and you’ll be convinced that the song is just emanating from teenagers.
2. Campus | Vampire Weekend 2:56
Maybe it’s because these guys went to my college just a couple of years after me, but I feel like they capture a particular angst of my youth.
3. Lights Out | Santigold 3:12
This 2008 album is great, but she must also be really fun, because everyone wants to collaborate with her now.
4. Sleepyhead | Passion Pit 2:57
Normally, I hate falsetto male singers and oonce-oonce techno beats, but this group is unbelievably good. After listening to this song about three times, I found myself unexpectedly dancing along.
5. People Got a Lotta Nerve | Neko Case 2:31
She doesn’t hold back on these awesome vocals.
6. Money | N.A.S.A. (w/ David Byrne, Chuck D, Ras Congo, Seu Jorge & Z-Trip) 4:16
This whole album is packed with huge beats, but I really adore the David Byrne intro here.
7. Priority | Mos Def 1:23
At 83 seconds, this is more of an interlude than a song, but it’s a shame to waste Mos Def’s huge rapping and arrangement on something so short.
8. Golden Phone | Micachu 2:44
Mica Levi, only 22 years old, was classically trained and has been commissioned by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. She also invents and constructs her own instruments to create this weird, layered, noisy music with abstract lyrics. I guess she knows the rules well enough to break them.
9. Sick Muse | Metric 4:17
Great glam rock.
10. I’m Good, I’m Gone | Lykke Li 3:09
Although she’s Swedish, Lykke Li is the farthest thing ever from ABBA. This song rocks; the video is also amazing.
11. Quicksand | La Roux 3:06
La Roux reminds me of early Annie Lennox, before she got all schmaltzy.
12. Sex On Fire | Kings of Leon 3:23
These guys are three brothers and a cousin, raised by an itinerant evangelist minister father, and a mother who home-schooled them. They now epitomize the hard-drinking and –living ways of the rock industry, but their music has the chops to hang there. This song is about sex that is, well, on fire.
13. Miracles | Jeremy Messersmith 3:43
Very pretty arrangement. Would be good for a Sunday afternoon drive.
14. All My Life In the Ghetto| Jay Rock (w/Lil Wayne and Will.i.am) 3:44
Awesome lyrics. I’m starting to think that Lil Wayne might edge out Jay-Z as the best rapper alive.
15. High Cost Of Living | Jamey Johnson 5:46
Powerful storytelling and a classic country music lyric-pun.
16. I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked | Ida Maria 3:12
Fun, flirtatious, Norwegian!
17. Take Off Your Sunglasses | Ezra Furman & The Harpoons 3:36
Funny situationist lyrics and good guitars.
18. Star (Crystal Light Mix) | Estelle 2:36
You needed a summer dance song? Here you go.
19. Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked | Cage the Elephant 2:55
20. Golden | Beth Jeans Houghton 3:22
She is from Newcastle, England. I’m not sure of “Something-Upon-Tyne” gives you as much street cred in the folk music scene as coming from the Appalachians, but the music speaks for itself.
21. Fitz and the Dizzyspells | Andrew Bird 3:37
Lovely arrangements, he has.
22. Make It Take It | Amanda Blank 2:26
Chick rap, and very, very good.
23. Djama | Amadou & Mariam 3:15
This blind couple from Mali found global acclaim when world music ingénue Manu Chao produced their 2004 album; it was great, but sounded like a Chao album with African singers. They seem to have re-found their sound.