Even though summer comes in at number four when I rank my favorite seasons, it’s hard to deny that some music simply sounds better with the sun shining and days scheduled to a slower pace. From sugary pop to country-twinged tracks to any brand of pop-punk, the pairing of certain songs and summertime makes for a perfect combination that makes both halves more enjoyable. All of this week’s bands have spent time on Warped Tour, which, for me, is an event that’s almost synonymous with summer. With spring officially coming to a close in just a few days, it’s only appropriate to look back on some songs released earlier this year and then look forward to how great they’re going to sound with windows down and volume up.
1. “Fuck U Over” – The Summer Set
The band name says everything. While The Summer Set’s last two records came out a little too late to get the full seasonal treatment, Legendary‘s April release gave a solid two months of preparation for these songs to get into your head in time for the heat to set in. “Fuck U Over” is maybe the record’s best offering in terms of saccharine melodies and carefree lyricism. The rhythmic verses are the perfect counterpoint for the string of “la”s that define the song, and it’s hard not to move when you hear this track. While there’s nothing particularly exciting about the instrumental elements here, Brian Dales continues to develop as a great, unique pop vocalist, and the band as a whole builds on past material instead of remaining stagnant. The album’s title track is my favorite, but this one lives up to the group’s name and is an anthem for worry-free nights. Summer.
2. “If I’m Gonna Fall In Love” – A Rocket To The Moon
Taking a step back from the bright, straightforward pop of my first pick, “If I’m Gonna Fall In Love” takes a more deliberate pace and adds hints of twang and earnest lyricism to make a fantastic soundtrack for summer evenings. The song builds organically, with electric guitar finding its way in post-chorus and swooping in and out periodically in the second verse to allow for a dynamic climb. The variation on the chorus near the two-thirds mark is wonderfully constructed, as Nick Santino’s voice carries just the right level of nostalgia and foresight, and the way the music cuts briefly before kicking back in leaves plenty of space for that voice to shine. While A Rocket To The Moon didn’t quite make it the whole way out of spring, Wild & Free helps soften the blow of that loss just a bit, with this song’s acoustic strumming and singalong chorus proving to be the sort of thing that’ll carry the band’s music forward even if they’re not together to play it anymore.
3. “Nothing Lasts Forever” – Transit
It took a year or so for Transit to make sense to me as a band, and exactly two listens for this song to get stuck in my head for weeks. In all honesty, “Nothing Lasts Forever” might not be necessarily better in the summer than at any time of year, but I know that it’s going to be so satisfying to listen to it while driving through assaulting heat. The lyrical concept is a reminder to enjoy things while they’re there and let go of whatever’s in the past, and I’m not sure if there’s a better set of ideas for summertime than that. With plenty of great guitar parts, that flawless one-liner in the first verse, and an extremely catchy chorus, this is hands-down the best track from the band’s latest release, and it’s the sort of song that’s ready-made for repeated listens and singalongs. Summer’s as good a time as any to do that.