Summer jams ’08

When the weather heats up, the summer jams come out to play

The Defex

The Defex

A summer jam is a song that can take you back to an exact front porch, road trip or kiss as soon as the first note sounds. Depending on your age, hearing “Summertime Blues,” “Dancing in the Street,” “Summertime” or “Hot in Herre” will immediately transport you.

There are many definitions and styles, but only one rule: A summer jam, like the season itself, brings people together. Even if your summer jam has been cultivated while driving alone and singing at the top of your lungs into your thumb, you do not have the strength to keep that feeling to yourself. A good summer jam will turn even the most private fan into a mix-makin’ fool. So, it’s not simply a matter of marking a point in your private history, it’s a connection to a barbecue, to a group of friends, to a championship season or just to a bunch of dusty mix tapes and CDs in somebody’s closet.

Given the ho-hum popular choices during these times of American Idol and Hannah Montana, the truly proselytizing summer jam is a not-too-common occurrence these days (although, as recently as 2004 young and old were singing “Shake it like a Polaroid picture” in perfect harmony). There isn’t even a Rihanna “Umbrella” or Beyoncé “Crazy in Love” this summer, and there sure as hell won’t be an Eminem “Without Me.” Despite the noise (some good, most bad) being made by the big dogs—Rihanna, Kanye West, Lil’ Wayne, Mariah, Brooks and Dunn—there just won’t be that one defining U.S. summer song in 2008.

So, you’re going to have to dig for summer gold. We did. Into the underground, into the second tier of the pop charts and into our own collections for classics that still strike a resonant chord.

Barbara Manning
Musician/CN&R contributor

Triple-digit heat has a weird effect on the human brain. Primal desires take over as clothes are shed and communal cooking around an outside fire re-ignites dormant friendships. Here is a list of summer songs that celebrates those cravings to make each summer more memorable than the last.

1. “Summer Babe,” Pavement

2. “Summer Stone,” The 3Ds

3. “School’s Out,” Alice Cooper

4. “That Summer Feeling,” Jonathan Richman

5. “Summertime,” Love Sculpture

Swell Maps

6. “Swimming Hole,” Meat Puppets

7. “Surfin’ Bird,” The Cramps

8. “Psycho Surfer,” The Defex

9. “Loin of the Surf,” Swell Maps

10. “Bikini Party,” Fraternity of Man

James Barone
CN&R contributor

Summer makes me crazy. I can’t stand the heat, and the long, sweltering days set my humors to a harsh boil. The music I listen to during the summer months is as erratic as my moods: smooth soul or old folk for sitting on porches, epic folk metal while grilling meat over hot coals or anything that makes me sweatier.1. “La La,” Lil’ Wayne (feat. Briscoe and Busta Rhymes)

2. “Korpens Saga,” Finntroll

3. “Josephine,” Ghostface Killah (feat. Trife Da God and The Willie Cottrell Band)

4. “La Esquina,” La Plebe

5. “Maiden, Mother and Crone,” The Sword

6. "(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” Otis Redding

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

7. “Slania’s Song,” Eluveitie

8. “Big Rock Candy Mountain,” Harry McClintock

9. “Long Summer Day,” Two Gallants

10. “Blut Im Auge,” Equilibrium

Mazi Noble
CN&R editorial designer

What makes a summer jam? The recipe is pretty simple. Add 1 1/2 cups of nostalgia. Mix in 3 tablespoons of dope drums (melodic instruments such as, horns, piano, strings are adequate substitutes). Place on grill for 2 1/2 minutes on each side. Serve hot and enjoy with friends plus an adult beverage. Here’s my menu (featuring a few locally grown ingredients).

“Okaaay,” Himp C

“Yesterday,” Atmosphere

“I Can’t Help It,” The Roots (feat. Dice Raw, Malik B., Mercedes Martinez, Porn)

“Where Do We Go From Here,” Alicia Keys

“Go Hard,” Black Milk (feat. Ras Kass, Royce da 5’9”)

“Nice to Know,” Pat Hull


“Wild Wild Horses,” Atmosphere

“Do U Buy It?,” Lyrics Born

“75 Bars (Black’s Reconstruction),” The Roots

“Summertime,” DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (But of course)

Christine G.K. LaPado
Musician/CN&R contributor

It seems like summer songs are all about the carefree—playing, surfing, cruising, dancing, having sex—and, of course, the heat and how to cope with it. Gotta have a kickback groove or a driving beat, and you’ve gotta have at least one Beach Boys song on any list of summer songs. Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” covers pretty much all the bases: the heat and the sex, and great for both as you’re being chauffeured in the back seat of a limo cruising through the city on a hot summer night.

“All Summer Long,” The Beach Boys

“In the Summertime,” Mungo Jerry

“Summertime Blues,” Eddie Cochran (recorded by everyone from The Who to Japanese pop singer Takako Minekawa to The Flaming Lips)

“Groovin',” The Young Rascals

“Hot Fun in the Summertime,” Sly & the Family Stone

“Summer” and “Low Rider,” War

Alicia Keys

“Dancing in the Streets,” Martha and the Vandellas, Laura Nyro & Labelle

“Summertime,” Gershwin standard from Porgy and Bess, recorded by everybody, including Janis Joplin, on her signature version

“Hot in Herre,” Nelly

“My 64,” Mike Jones

Jason Cassidy
CN&R calendar editor

All brand new: A mix of summer ska, indie rock, emo anthems, mid-tempo R&B/hip-hop dance jams, British imports and, best of all, the return of Kid Rock. The kid is up to some next-level thievery by not only mimicking “Sweet Home Alabama” on “All Summer Long,” he also references the Skynyrd anthem and then folds it right into his song. It’s brilliant! Put it on at your next party. You’ll see.

1. “A-Punk,” Vampire Weekend

2. “That Don’t Work That Well for Us,” Je Suis France

3. “Shake It,” Metro Station

4. “American Boy,” Estelle (with Kanye West)

5. “There’s Nothin',” Sean Kingston (with Elan and Juelz Santana)

6. “Mercy,” Duffy


7. We Started Nothing, The Ting Tings, (more than half of the album kills, especially the one from the iTunes commercial, “Shut Up and Let Me Go")

8. “Kiss With a Fist,” Florence and the Machine

9. “I Love You Like a Madman,” The Wave Pictures

10. “All Summer Long,” Kid Rock

Mark Lore
CN&R arts editor

Summer jams are for sharing—whether it be through an open car window, or at a backyard barbecue. I stow away the sad-bastard music and dust off the dirty, sweaty rock songs that distort the speakers; or I gravitate toward new music that comes out with the sun. This summer’s version plays like this …

1. “Stop Drop and Roll,” Foxboro Hot Tubs

2. “Wide Awake on the Voyage Home,” Liam Finn

3. “Seek and Destroy,” Metallica

4. “Cloth,” Erin Lizardo

5. “The Easy Way,” Old 97’s

6. “A-Punk,” Vampire Weekend

7. “Side With the Seeds,” Wilco

8. “2000 Man,” KISS

9. “Sweet Virginia,” The Rolling Stones

10. “Summertime Blues,” Joan Jett & the Blackhearts