Despite summer break not being commonplace after high school, I find myself looking forward to summer. Blame my excess consumption of coming-of-age media, but something about the season makes me nostalgic for my childhood, gives me a desire to live in the moment but also makes optimistic about what’s to come ahead.
All that to say, summer can be more than just a temperature change. That’s why we’ve asked KXT DJs to select one song that feels like summer to them.
We initially shared this list on our Instagram (follow us, we share cool things there, too!) but we wanted give our DJs the space to expand on what inspired their picks.
Amy Miller – Program Director & Host
MGMT – “Electric Feel”
This song is partly about the vibe and partly about the nostalgia for me. The vibe is so cool and laid back, yet energizing and uplifting at the same time. MGMT’s album Oracular Spectacular accompanied me on many summer road trips, and this song in particular is a great one to drive to with the windows rolled down on a sunny day.
Brad Dolbeer – Assistant Program Director & Host
Sheryl Crow – “All I Wanna Do”
This one always reminds me of the summer of 1994. After the grunge hangover of the previous three years, this piece of pop satisfied an itch that I didn’t even realize I had, the first of many nicely crafted songs from this former school teacher.
Eric Bright – Director of Radio Operations & Host
Tom Petty – “Free Fallin'”
Not technically a summer song, but I connect it with a great summer memory and can’t hear the song without remembering that time. Tom Petty’s first solo record, Full Moon Fever, came out in April 1989. At the time, I was living in Jacksonville, Florida, and rented a Chrysler convertible in June of that year to take a long road trip down the coast. My buddies and I took the slow route all the way down A1A to Key West. When we were leaving Atlantic Beach, where I lived, I put the Full Moon Fever cassette in the tape deck, and that great first song was “Free Fallin’.” We listened to it repeatedly that whole trip. I’ll always associate “Free Fallin’” with that early-summer-Florida-beach-road trip vibe, and I remember that feeling every time I hear this song!
Gini Mascorro – Music Director & Host
The 101’ers – “Keys To Your Heart”
Back in his pre-Clash years, the late, great Joe Strummer’s second musical venture was with the pub rock outfit The 101’ers, named after the London squat they called home. And back in my own formative years as a music lover, my Clash-crazed pen pal Ramona sent me a mix tape – yes, I’m aging myself here – of her favorite Clash tracks, along with tunes from bands occupying the same orbit. Sadly, due to the repeated rewinds and re-plays of this track, the cassette and my Walkman didn’t last the summer, but my affection for the smell of Coppertone, the Texas Gulf Coast and the surf’s-up vibe of this track showcasing the genius of Mr. Strummer have stayed with me ever since.
Jackson Wisdorf – Operations Coordinator & Host
Jonathan Richman – “That Summer Feeling”
When it comes to “summer songs” I have a hard time going with anything besides my favorite track off Jonathan Richman’s 1991 record I Jonathan, the song being “That Summer Feeling.” In the song, Richman’s textbook honesty and sincerity goes a long way to remind the listener of an important lesson: never dwell on the past, but rather look back and enjoy that it happened. The simple instrumentation of the track goes hand-in-hand the type of summer vibes I enjoy most, relaxing and uncomplicated, and definitely sounds different from tracks of the former Modern Lovers frontman’s past. But hey, isn’t that the point?
Jeff Penfield -Manager of Radio Operations & Host
Led Zeppelin – Dancing Days
When I was growing up, I was one of those kids who were really into classic rock instead of new music. Summer feels like one of those seasons that you think back to your youth, so of course I go to my favorite band growing up – Led Zeppelin. “Dancing Days” has everything a summer song should have: nostalgia, young love, and the actual mention of summer.
Nilufer Arsala – Technical Director & Host
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince- “Summertime”
“Summertime” became an instant classic when it was released back in 1991. The sound of a turntable dropping the first notes of the beat signal that it is most certainly “time to sit back and unwind.” The lighthearted song comes complete with a slight party vibe mixed with a hint of nostalgia that perfectly captures the easy going feeling of kicking back with friends and having a good time during the summer. When I was growing up, it was like summer had officially started when this song came on the radio. Fun fact: DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince picked up a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for “Summertime” at the 34th Annual Grammy Awards, which were held in February of 1992.
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