With the monstrous New Years hangover in the rear-view mirror, and the mercury dangerously close to 40°C, we turn our attention to summer jams: the songs that soundtrack sand in our toes, cocktails in our hands, and late nights dreams of saving Sandy Olssen.
Dissecting the summer hit has been a holiday pastime since Bobby Darin’s Splish Splash rattled from the wireless in 1958, with academics, mathematicians and even Sweden having all tried to unravel the mystery of late. However, rather than conjure a formula to express the inexpressible, we’ve decided to bring you a few tips on building the perfect playlist to remind us forever of the summer that is.
Choosing the Right Summer Soundtrack
1. Keep ‘em moving
Whether it’s Wham’s Club Tropicana or last season’s ubiquitous Uptown Funk from Bruno Mars, the summer single is about being outdoors and having fun, and that means dancing. Save the tales of woe from your introspective indie darlings for when the sun disappears, and your customers will thank you.
2. Keep it current…
For those fortunate to reside in the southern hemisphere, summer heralds a new year, new beginnings and new music. If your customers resonate with chart music ensure you’re on top of the latest releases; for a youth audience, make sure your soundtrack represents the headliners on the summer festival circuit.
3. … but take a moment to reflect.
December heralds the traditional bombardment of “best of…” lists across social media and magazine columns; while friends discuss their favorites of the year, take a moment to revisit the year’s hottest releases.
4. Never play anything from the United Kingdom.
What do gray skies have to do with summer? Nothing. Summer music is calypso solos, not bagpipes, so as with many things, local produce is your best bet. Never leave your summer jams to people have never seen the sun.
Our summer favourites
1. The Avalanches – Subway
One of the biggest surprises of 2016 was the Avalanches return, and after waiting a painful sixteen years for the follow-up to the incredible Since I Left You, we’re certain to dwell in Wildflower for long while yet.
2. PNAU – Chameleon
The Avalanches weren’t the only Australian legends to return in 2016, with Nick Littlemore once again firing up the PNAU engine for the ultimate summer jam- upbeat, radio-friendly dance pop, precision engineered for festival stages.
3. Childish Gambino – Redbone
Funktified, speaker shaking bass lines perfectly suited to poolside afternoons, boozy barbeques and open roads… or all of the above.
4. The XX – On Hold
While the summer single has evolved from a literal description of a day by the shore (which is no great loss, given the Beach Boys left a lifetime of sunny pleasures to devour), the universal theme has always been unrequited love. Here, the XX lay pop’s greatest muse on a warm indie dance backdrop (with a curious Hall & Oats sample, no less)
5. Drake – One Dance
Given all the seasonal ingredients are contained and correct- romance, dancing, Caribbean rhythms and cognac- it’s no wonder our upside-down friends at Billboard labeled Drake’s dancehall smash the “official” song of the summer; it also helps that it’s the biggest song of the year, becoming the first song in history to hit a billion streams on Spotify and the longest US & UK number 1 of the year.
The perfect summer soundtrack
More than anything, summer is about being with your loved ones and having a good time- the two things music supports more than anything else. By anchoring the right music to your in-store experience, the good times and memories attached will resonate long after the summer nights have drifted away.