Things slow down in the summer. I don’t know if it’s the humidity, the high temps, or just everything being so lush and green, but it’s hard to focus on anything other than enjoying ourselves and being in the company of family and good friends. The nonessential activities fade away. The lawn needs mowing? Unless the family dog has actually disappeared in the tall grass, it can wait. You should go for a run? Not with this heat index. It suddenly becomes critically important to find a big, blue(ish) body of water and to plant yourself before it.
I’ve started using Songza, a free app much like Pandora, except it has the added benefit of browsing new music based on activities and moods as well as artists, genres, and decades. What’s more appropriate for a laid-back beach (or pool) day than just switching on a playlist that’s already perfectly tailored to what you’re doing?
FOR CHILLING BY THE POOL: Feelin’ Good in the '90s
In the summer, I get big time nostalgic. These songs remind me of when my best friend and I would bike to the municipal pool, and upbeat and sunny Top 40 hits were blasting from the speakers all summerlong.
FOR THE FESTIVALGOERS:2014 Festival Headliners
So you’re totally bummed you’re not able to make the trek to Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, or any of the other whimsically titled music festivals out there. Take them to the beach with you instead! There are always a few songs that define any given summer, and this playlist serves them up as the perfect soundtrack for your 2014 memories.
FOR ROAD-TRIPPING TO THE BEACH:The Perfect Drive
Synth-pop is having a moment, and its shimmery, glowing sounds perfectly complement the long summer drive to the beach—whether you’re meandering down an empty two-lane road, speeding 70 miles per hour toward the coastline, or sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
FOR AN AFTERNOON ON THE BEACH:Classic Hawaiian Steel Guitar
Beautiful Hawaiian steel guitar classics from the 1920s through the early 1940s create a cool, relaxed vibe. Feel the breeze in your hair, tuck that hibiscus flower behind your ear, and take a lazy sip of your ice-cold piña colada from a novelty coconut shell.
FOR LONG NIGHTS WITH FRIENDS:Bonfire Nights
Blending indie folk and Americana, these songs are perfect for a beachside bonfire once the sun goes down.
Photo by Miles Bower