Admit it. You’re going to fall in love, this summer. Maybe not deeply and maybe not for long, but you will. Don’t bother feigning indignation — I can see that wistful look on your face. The cherry blossoms have begun to fall, and your guard is dropping with them. Before long, you too will find yourself going gently into that good night, your head cloudy and your heart aflutter with the first twinges of Vitamin D-induced infatuation.
While I may not be able to dissuade you from your inevitable summer romance (or the heartache that will just as surely follow), I can at least provide you with a soundtrack to put you in the proper frame of mind for your fling. So before Mister or Miss 2014 comes along and steals your heart, have a seat, cue up this playlist, and listen as we take you on a sonic tour of what you can expect this summer.
1. Jessica Lea Mayfield – “Nervous Lonely Night”
A few years back, I sat down with a bottle of scotch and listened to this song on repeat for a couple of hours while trying to write the toast for my friend’s wedding, which was the next day. (I work best under pressure. DON’T JUDGE.) I’d like to think that I churned out something suitably moving, and I suppose this song had something to do with it. While you might not be toasting any happy couples, this summer, I think most of us can understand what Miss Mayfield’s talking about when she talks about being “drunk on thoughts of you… red wine and tequila, too.”
2. The Weeknd – “Drunk In Love”
OF COURSE this song made the list. You might have been blasting “Bound 2” last summer, but 2014 has been all about Queen Bey, and I have no doubt that The Weeknd’s ridiculously dirty remix of “Drunk In Love” is going to make cameos at many a house party and late-night dance party this year. This is the kind of song that you make bad decisions to, and since a summer fling is the quintessential bad decision, I have no problem preemptively jumping on the bandwagon and including it here. (As a bonus, the most-viewed version of this track on Youtube is a lyric video, so you can see all of The Weeknd’s jams in their blush-inducing glory.)
3. San Fermin – “Sonsick”
Wanna prove to that cute hipster that you met at the bar that you’re not just your run-of-the-mill Basic B? Whip out this track from up-and-coming indie darlings San Fermin. Just hope they don’t read too much into the line, “I’ll fall for you soon enough.”
Interestingly, earlier this month, the girl who’s singing in the video left the band to pursue a solo career. Which I guess serves to illustrate my point that a lot of great collaborations (romantic or artistic) come with an expiration date.
4. Shadows on Stars – “Little Bit” (Lykke Li cover)
This Lykke Li song was popular for a hot minute a few years ago (if you haven’t heard the original, fire up the ol’ Google and have yourself a listen), but a little band from Portland managed to breathe some new life into the song with their slightly more ethereal take on the Swedish chanteuse’s signature track. Regardless of which version you prefer, this song is a good reminder that falling in love is a little bit (ha) like playing chicken in your dad’s sports car: the first one to flinch may be the weaker party… but if neither of you make a move, then you’re both screwed.
5. Justin Timberlake – “Summer Love”
Are you going to see JT, this summer? Yes? Take me with you. If not, you should. Regardless, it doesn’t matter if you’re gonna see everyone’s favorite *N Sync alum in the flesh or not — no summer romance playlist would be complete without this song. I mean, just look at the name.
6. The Lumineers – “Falling”
Admittedly, if I wanted to make a playlist of wistful love songs, I probably could’ve just told you to cue up a Lumineers album and call it a day. But because my commitment to journalistic integrity is just a little stronger than my laziness, I’m only going to include one of their songs on here. Unfortunately, The Lumineers have yet to actually release this song as an official single or album track, but as you can see, it’s a long-time crowd favorite at their shows.
7. Foster The People – “I Would Do Anything For You”
The problem with summer flings (and all date-stamped romances) is that eventually one or both parties start developing some of those pesky, ya know, Feelings. And as Mr. Foster aptly points out, when you’re in the first flush, you start to convince yourself that “it’s better this time than ever before.” That could very well be true… but it could also be that you’ve gotten a little too much sun. Be careful.
8. Wild Cub – “Thunder Clatter”
Shoot. Now you’ve done it — you went and fell in love, didn’t you? HAVE I TAUGHT YOU NOTHING?
Oh well. It happens. But while the guys in Wild Cub are happy to say “You’re the love of my life,” you might want to hold off on saying that to your summer fling, lest you freak him or her out. I won’t judge you for thinking it, though.
9. Broods – “Bridges”
What? Does this song sound like a little bit of a downer to you? That’s kinda the point. You might find love this summer, but summer’s gonna end. While I’d like to be optimistic here, you have to be prepared for the possibility that your summer relationship will eventually find itself going up in flames — and then you’ll be the one saying, “Can we forget about it?”
10. Bleachers – “I Wanna Get Better”
Pretty much every line in this song is about the rueful feelings that come at the end of a relationship — and the fact that change is possible. So when you’re bummed out that your Inevitable Summer Romance has reached its unavoidable conclusion, just listen to this track and remind yourself that you can always do better. There’s always next summer.