The Sunday Magazine: The Early Summer 2015 Playlist


I’m not sure what it is about the summer but I want both my books and my music to be less challenging. I want books which are plot-driven page turners not necessarily full of intricate prose. Although those two aims are not mutually exclusive. For music I want things I can sing along to, pump my fist, play air guitar, and tickle the pretend keyboard. These are usually trifles but they find themselves on repeat on my playlist because they are full of infectious hooks and lyrics which are repetitive. There is also one thing I’ve noticed about my summer playlists is that there is an older song, or two, which re-surfaces in my consciousness and I want to hear it as much as I used to.

Top of the Colognoisseur pops is Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance”. It has been out for over a year but like the best summer songs it has caught fire just at the right time. Lead singer Nicholas Petricca was inspired by the 80’s acts The Cars and Pat Benatar. There is a very tangible first wave vibe to it that obviously appeals to one like me who lived through it. I suspect this is going to be the dance floor anthem this summer.

Another lyrical hook that I’ve been mumbling under my breath for the last month is from “Hold Back the River” by James Bay.

I am a sucker for a spectacular video which accompanies a great pop song. The new “Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift is all of that in spades. The video is a cross between Kill Bill and Fifth Element featuring an array of some of the most recognizable women in entertainment playing badass assassins. This has only been out for a couple of weeks and I’m all over this.

The two older songs on my current summer playlist are “Sometime Around Midnight” by The Airborne Toxic Event and “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind. Sometime Around Midnight is one of the rawest break-up songs ever performed but despite the unhappy material I am compulsively playing the guitar riff on my fake Fender. I don’t think Semi-Charmed Life is ever far from being included on any summer playlist I’ve ever compiled because it might be my single favorite chorus to sing in the car at the top of my lungs.

The new single by Pitbull, “Time of Our Lives” is another one that gets me moving my feet to the beat.

“Hold My Hand” by Jess Glynne is exactly what I want from Pop-inclined R&B. With a killer keyboard riff perfect for playing on the steering wheel of the car.

Giorgio Moroder has been behind so much of my favorite music and his recent renaissance shows he hasn’t stopped being relevant. His new album Déjà Vu sees him working with a roster of today’s stars. The title single featuring Sia was just released. It is full of synthesizers which dig into my head matched with Sia’s distinctive voice.

Shawn Mendes is the latest You Tube music star. He has crafted a four part story of a break-up. The third part is called “Stitches” and it is the one which has found the repeat button on my playlist.

Imagine Dragons have been a playlist fixture from their inception and the newest release “Shots” is more of the same fantastic style of music they have been producing.

Mark Behnke