…Mix of the Summer 2014…

Midnight Radio

July 01, 2014 By: Andrew Category: Mixings

The time has come, my friends! You all have so patiently waited for this year’s Mix of the Summer and I have miraculously found a few spare moments to post my annual blog entry in honor of said mix.

It was a really fun collection to put together this year. I felt like there weren’t nearly as many obvious choices this time around which made the research process all the more engrossing and all of the suggestions I received along the way all the more helpful.

If last year was the dawn of the all-digital model, this year is the dawn of the Spotify era. In addition to Dropbox access like last year, I’ve uploaded this year’s Mix of the Summer to my Spotify account, so be sure to follow me there.

As an added bonus, I’ve imported all of my previous summer mixes as separate playlists, dating back to 2006! So if you’re in the mood for a trip down memory lane, get ready for some sugar-coated, pop perfection goodness. On to the latest batch…

  1. “Problem” by Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea | Ariana’s debut effort last year quickly became my go-to anytime album thanks to its effervescent sonic delights. This lead track from her forthcoming sophomore release promises similar good times, with a bit more welcome grit. I know I said there weren’t many shoo-ins this year … this was basically the only one.
  2. “Classic” by MKTO | I always hesitate to duplicate tracks from the only other essential Mix of the Summer (Dawn Kusinski’s … duh), but there was no world in which this gem of a ditty from the LA-based pop duo MKTO would not be on my mix. It’s riffy guitars are just as throwback-y as the subject material. And it always sounds like they’re name checking Marin Mazzie at 2:12 even though I know they’re not. Talk about classic!
  3. “Birthday” by Katy Perry | I knew from the second I listened to Prism last year that this track was a necessity for this year’s summer set. When the reigning queen of bubble gum music puts out a song that is ultra catchy even by her standards, all bets are off. Also, the structure of this song makes me want to line dance. Who’s with me?
  4. “Sing” by Ed Sheeran | This song came on the radio a few weeks ago and the chorus was immediately stuck in my head. But it took repeated listens for me to process that it was Ed Sheeran a.k.a. Ron Weasley meets Jason Mraz. I’m really into how hypnotic this song can be with no more than an acoustic guitar and a few well-placed beats.
  5. “You Don’t Know What to Do” by Mariah Carey feat. Wale | As a true MC devotee, I’m a little bummed (but not entirely surprised) that more folks aren’t picking up her latest release. But you’ve got to hand it to the girl, she still knows her way around a light-as-a-feather summer jam with an obligatory rapper assist. And this one has disco vibes. Neat!
  6. “Calling All Hearts” by DJ Cassidy feat. Robin Thicke and Jessie J | Speaking of disco, I don’t know where in the world this throwback tune came from but I’m glad its unabashed cheesiness found its way onto my playlist. In the absence of a new Jessie J album (when is that going to happen, please?) and a Robin Thicke track that’s not about his estranged wife, this selection fills a very important hole on this year’s mix.
  7. “She Looks So Perfect” by 5 Seconds of Summer | Forget One Direction, these boys are from Down Under … and that’s, like, so much cooler. They’re serving us Aussie teenybopper realness and (ironically) giving American Apparel the best advertising campaign they never asked for.
  8. “#GETITRIGHT” by Miley Cyrus | I gave Bangerz a few listens when it came out last year and, oddly, this was the earworm that stuck in my head and never left. I’m not going to make excuses for what Miley’s espousing here. This song is tacky with a capital T. But just listen to that addictive hook courtesy of Pharrell. I mean…
  9. “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors | I’m pretty sure this song was written solely to be the background music for car commercials and TV reality show “journey” montages. But I really don’t care. Every time I listen to it, my spirits are lifted and I would swear to you that today will indeed be the best day of my life.
  10. “Lightning in a Bottle” by The Summer Set | Put these guys down in the category of me only knowing them by their inclusion on summer mixes. The same pluck and charm that made their “Someone Like You” such a good fit for the 2011 mix is back here and amped up to perfect summery effect.
  11. “One Night Town” by Ingrid Michaelson feat. Mat Kearney | Ingrid’s musical stylings are sometimes a little too quirky for my liking. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised when I found this song from her new album Lights Out. I came for the Mat Kearney feature but I stayed for the driving chorus and sweet collaboration.
  12. “Don’t Kill the Magic” by Magic! | These crazy Canucks have, by my count, only one album (which literally just came out) and only one single (this one is soon to be the second). But they seem to be blowing up in all the right ways. There’s something about this song that sounds really fresh but still familiar. Me likey.
  13. “The Wire” by Haim | If I had to pick one album to be a Mix of the Summer in and of itself, it would be Days Are Gone from the sisters Haim and their drummer friend Dash. But that would be lazy of me. So I’ll just pick this standout single from their debut collection and threaten you if you don’t go buy the whole thing. Go do it now. I’m watching you…
  14. “Not a Bad Thing” by Justin Timberlake | There’s not a whole lot of mid-tempo fare that gets past my spam filter when crafting the Mix of the Summer. But JT can get out of much stickier situations based on his smooth voice and suave production value. To be honest, I wasn’t aware that anyone ever thought it was a bad thing to fall in love with him, but I’m glad he makes the case here.
  15. “Latch” by Disclosure feat. Sam Smith | My homeboy Sam Smith’s debut album is real good but it’s also a real downer, y’all. This Disclosure track was the one that first brought him into the public eye and I still can’t get past its trancy fabulousness. It’s undeniably effective in the stripped down version featured on his solo effort. But my heart belongs to this one.
  16. “Undressed” by Kim Cesarion | If you’re wondering why this song is still in your head several days after hearing it, it’s because this dude is from Sweden. They have this stuff in spades over there. Thankfully, this tune is a little more progressive than, say, Ace of Base or ABBA. Not that there’s anything wrong with those two groups. They just aren’t this sexy.
  17. “Boom Clap” by Charlie XCX | I’m not gonna lie, I don’t know a lot about this song. I know it’s on The Fault in Our Stars soundtrack. I know it’s by the chickadee that featured on Icona Pop’s “I Love It” from last year’s summer mix. And I know you’re gonna love it. #boom
  18. “Back Home” by Andy Grammer | I didn’t peg Mr. Grammer to be very soulful based on his last summer mix inclusion, 2012’s “Fine By Me.” That selection was nothing but fun, bouncy pop rock. But it turns out he has been flirting with country vibes and call-and-response Mumford-y imitations all along. Fine by me!
  19. “Borrow My Heart” by Taylor Henderson | This little dude was one of the finalists on Australia’s Got Talent. And I almost didn’t include this track because it’s such a blatant rip-off of Phillip Phillip’s “Home” which is, itself, such a blatant rip-off of so many before it. But in the end, that’s of course the best reason to include it. That and the fact that the very tail end of the chorus sounds like BSB’s “Quit Playing Games With My Heart.” Swoon.
  20. “Leave the Night On” by Sam Hunt | Now what would a Mix of the Summer be without a paint-by-numbers, feel-good country ditty to send you off into the sunset? Mr. Hunt has been a Nashville songwriter for a while now, but now he’s making a go at the artist thang. And this song is just plain brilliant. You see, he says “leave the night on” instead of “leave the light on.” See what he did there?!

And you’re also getting five almost-made-the-cut (but-really-they-did-make-the-cut-because-it’s-digital) bonus tracks:

  1. “Hello World” by Aloe Blacc | Because that Avicci remix finally shot him into the stratosphere and honey child is not gonna sit by and accept that his fame is limited to 15 minutes.
  2. “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea feat. Charlie XCX | Because the opening beat is textbook lady gangsta and the Miranda Sings cover video never fails to make my boyfriend giggle.
  3. “Rollercoaster” by Bleachers | Because there’s more to Fun. than Nate Ruess and more to Jack Antonoff than being Lena Dunham’s squeeze.
  4. “All the Way” by Timeflies | Because it’s two guys in one group singing electronica-influenced dance pop and I’m perpetually in search of the next Savage Garden.
  5. “On Top of the World” by Imagine Dragons | Because there’s clapping and hey’s and a catchy, carefree chorus and that’s pretty much all you need in life.

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