…Mix of the Summer 2014…

Archive for July, 2015

I Whistle a Happy Tune

July 11, 2015 By: Andrew Category: Mixings

Summer is here! And I am so tardy to the party with this year’s summer mix that it’s almost autumn. #atcfail

To be honest, it’s been a challenging year to single out the bonafide summer pop anthems. The Top 40 scene is a little less sugary and a little more moody lately… which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just required me to look for some less obvious choices.

The first half of this mix will sound a lot like the mixes of years past, and somewhere after the halfway point it gets a little more mellow before finishing with the requisite cheesiness that is my trademark.

I’ve opted to include only 20 tracks for this initial release. I will later crown five victory lap winners on or around Labor Day. Intriguing! After all, it’s always a challenge to predict the biggest jams when some of them haven’t even hit yet.

Hop on over to this mix on Spotify or hit me up directly for the Dropbox link if you’re not on that platform. (I’m looking at you, Taylor Swift.)

For an added good time, I’ve also uploaded to Spotify my famous 90s mixes from high school that unofficially started my obsession with the post-mixtape-era mixtape. Consider it my thank you gift for this one being so late!

  1. “Want to Want Me” by Jason Derulo | If you would have told me one year ago that a Derulo ditty would find its way onto one of my summer mixes (as the lead track no less!), I would have told you to stop sniffing Sharpies. But there’s simply no denying the summery groove of this song, propelled in all the right places by homeboy’s oddly satisfying, melismatic falsetto.
  2. “Emotion” by Carly Rae Jepsen | This track makes me happy because (a.) I grow more in love with Carly’s smoky, unfussy vocals with each listen, (b.) it name-checks Mariah song titles all over the place and (c.) it further supports the theory that this gal has a great career ahead of her and need not be overshadowed by “Call Me Maybe” for the rest of time. Well played, Jepsen.
  3. “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon | The first time I heard this song, it was performed live as the centerpiece of a surprise marriage proposal (heart you, E Stace). The formula was so familiar I assumed it was a classic 80s song I had somehow missed in my musical education. Come to find out, Walk the Moon released this driving dance floor anthem last year and it’s just now finding its footing on pop radio and at wedding receptions across the nation. Color me educated.
  4. “Black Magic” by Little Mix | Does anybody else remember B*Witched? Let’s all consider ourselves blessed that they said no to this song 15 years ago and left it on the shelf to be dusted off by tween pop’s premiere girl group. (I’m not entirely sure that this happened, but it seems very likely.)
  5. “This Summer…” by Maroon 5 | You know when you love a song and decide to really invest in it by taking a deeper listen to learn all the lyrics? Please don’t do that with this song. They are really predictable. And unimaginative. And profane to a fault. But, hey, it fits the summer mix profile – clearly an obvious and desperate attempt by the M5 boys to make it onto my mix. They win! (And so do you, Anna Pandorf.)
  6. “Lick My Lips” by Katharine McPhee | You guys, I’m having a vision. It’s of us all throwing on our favorite pair of daisy dukes, meeting at Coney Island and roller skating as a group down the boardwalk while applying our favorite respective flavors of Lip Smackers and listening to this song on repeat. Can we please make this happen? (Hats off to my favorite hunty Brent McCreary for this recommendation.)
  7. “I Don’t Like It, I Love It” by Flo Rida feat. Robin Thicke & Verdine White | There are a couple of tracks on this year’s mix that I’ve included solely for the irresistible chorus. You can put this one in that category. Flo Rida doesn’t do a ton for me, but you could put pretty much anything with a bouncy, whistle-y Robin Thicke moment and I’m all set. (The all-knowing Krissi Diers gets brownie points for putting this one on my radar.)
  8. “Beat of My Drum” by Powers | I get so many applications from budding indie pop acts to snag a spot on my summer playlist every year and I have to turn most of them down because they’re always way more indie (read: boring) than pop (read: winning). But LA-based duo Powers had me with those finger snaps and thundering drum beats at the very top of this offering. I expect great things in the future from them!
  9. “Hold My Hand” by Jess Glynne | This British singer/songwriter is on the eve of releasing her debut studio album and I’d say she’s setting the bar pretty high with her singles output so far, the centerpiece of which is this dancey, saxy (that’s an “a” not an “e”), sun-soaked concoction. Has there ever been a more effervescent ode to love? Probably! But this one’s pretty great too.
  10. “SummerThing!” by Afrojack feat. Mike Taylor | Here’s another one of those sneaky tracks that barges its way into the rotation with an oh-so-appropriate title. I really dig what Afrojack has whipped up here – it’s a buoyant summery jam at first blush and then it deconstructs itself into some more house-like territory … in a non-douchey way. Neat!
  11. “Talking Body” by Tove Lo | So I originally thought this chick was saying “we fought for life” in the chorus. But I was confused because it didn’t make sense why someone would put their body on hers if they were having relationship issues. Then I read the lyrics and realized they were doing the opposite of fighting for life. And it all made sense. #truestory
  12. “Can’t Feel My Face” by The Weeknd | Abel Tesfaye is the name of the guy behind The Weeknd. He ups the sultry vibe he introduced with “Earned It” and puts a bass-heavy pop spin on it with this new jam. I’m really in love with it and I think it will make him a lot of money. He’s saving up to buy that final “e” from Vanna White. At least I hope he is.
  13. “Love Me Like You Do” by Ellie Goulding | What’s more thrilling than being whisked away in a private leer jet by Christian Grey? This pulsing anthem of desire and ecstasy, GURL. I love the way this track builds on itself, piling on more layers of sound until it reaches that brilliant climax (tehehe) at the two-minute mark, washing us away with its full power. Ahhhh….
  14. “Good Thing” by Sage the Gemini feat. Nick Jonas | Same thing as with the Flo Rida song – I wouldn’t exactly call my self a Sage fan, but if he’s gonna bring everyone’s favorite good-boy-gone-bad Nick Jonas along for the ride to provide a chorus as hypnotic as this, I’m all in. Real talk, though, when did Jonas become such a formidable player in the pop pantheon?
  15. “Pray to God” by Calvin Harris feat. HAIM | While we’re all beside ourselves waiting for a new full-length album from the Haim harem, this regal dance cut spearheaded by surprise-I’m-distractingly-jacked Calvin Harris will fill the void in the meantime.
  16. “Where Are Ü Now” by Skrillex & Diplo feat. Justin Bieber | So many thoughts. A very well-executed step in the Bieber Comeback Playbook. Sounds like a trippy tribal safari somewhere around the middle. Best use of the umlaut since I don’t know when. And a shoe-in for the end credits in a hipster film version of “Where’s Waldo.”
  17. “Restart” by Sam Smith | I bought the deluxe version of Mr. Smith’s album last year and was surprised to find that this particular gem isn’t on the standard issue release. It won’t be blowing up radio any time in the near future, but it’s cool, smooth and refreshing. And in the grand scheme of Sam Smith’s musical oeuvre, it’s practically bubblegum pop.
  18. “Crave” by Parachute | This pop/rock outfit has been on my radar for a few years but I haven’t really been obsessed with any of their stuff until now. There’s something very Rob Thomas-y about the lead vocals on this one (a check plus in my book) and the sassy female BGVs are icing on the cake.
  19. “Honey, I’m Good” by Andy Grammer | 5 points for knowing your alcohol limits, Andy. 10 more points for monogamy. And bonus points if you can record a song within a clap along, honky tonk sensibility as shameless as this and still sell it as a mainstream pop. This marks his third appearance on one of my mixes. I promise this guy doesn’t have an unfair advantage… that I know of.
  20. “Marvin Gaye” by Charlie Puth feat. Meghan Trainor | I love a good tribute to an R&B legend sung by adorable Caucasian children who can riff. What a concept! While they could never hope to match the unrelenting sexiness of any of Mr. Gaye’s original records, Charlie and Meghan make up for it with their similarly unrelenting preciousness.

Meet me back here in a little less than two months to figure out what the lucky back five songs will be!