During the heyday of Turntable.fm, I always looked forward to Fridays at work when we’d start a private room and share music within the office. There were a few misses (I accidentally left my playlist going when I stepped away from my desk and 7 minutes of the Moon soundtrack played to a confused audience) but it provided a steady stream of music that crossed all genres and I miss it. More recently, we’ve tried other sites but the magic isn’t there.
I’m a playlist and mix enthusiast going back two decades (with about 100 color-coded CD mixes that span 1954 to the new millennium taking up too much room in my car, to dozens of Spotify playlists, to my annual Christmas mixes). We’ve created a handful of collaborative playlists at DevelopmentNow for various events but I was inspired by a few other local agencies to share a seasonal mix.
Here is a collection of summery tunes hand-picked for you by the team at DevelopmentNow. Our criteria was this: What songs capture the feeling of summer for you? Some are personal and nostalgic and some are bright and poppy. But they’re all perfect summer songs.
James Cliburn (Senior Producer)
“當我點頭時” by Joanna Wang (Translated; When I Nod)
Even for a song that starts from the perspective of somebody in class, the antithesis of summer, you can’t help but get into a bouncy mood with this track. I love its themes of daydreaming, especially with the aid of music, along with making the world magical in your own way and getting others on the same groove.
“Black Rainbows” by Miracle Musical (Translated: ラクルミュージカル)
This is probably the most on-an-island song from the full Hawaii: Part II album. It’s very smooth, and has a great vocal contrast between the Hawaiian and English lyrics. Also, it apparently references the melody from the theme song of Hawaii Five-0, so there’s that.
Mara Connolly (Studio Manager)
“By the Sea” by Wendy & Bonnie
I grew up in Maine and have been avoiding the sun for three decades so my perfect summer music is a little wistful and dreamy—like an overcast day at the beach. This song captures that feeling perfectly with wind chimes and the hint of rising and falling waves.
“Feel Flows” by The Beach Boys
A slightly more upbeat pick. The Beach Boys are the ultimate summer music but I think some of their best music came out in the early 70s. This song is bright and sunny but still has the dreamy, nostalgic feel I’m always searching for.
Adam Leonard (QA Analyst)
“Tear Drop” by Massive Attack
Summer of 1998. Aside from Mezzanine completely blowing everyone’s collective mind, this song and its deep bass notes thumped in my 1991 Jetta for months after someone introduced me to the album. A someone that shortly turned into a super intense first kiss. Even if the relationship was doomed from the start it was a rather fitting vignette in my life to be backed up by a Massive Attack song. So many other things were pulling at my emotions in heavy handed ways that summer that the album was a turning point in my musical tastes. Its brooding, slow melodies coupled with the trip-hop beats matched my mental state perfectly. It wasn’t angry and in your face, it was internal and reflective. It presented emotions and ideas in ways I hadn’t experienced before. It provided me some mental refuge that I had needed.
“Dusted” by Leftfield
Summer of 2004. While attempting to appear social at a pool party that served as a gathering for fellow Volkswagen club members, I managed to slip this song into rotation. I’d been listening to Leftfield for months, almost every song on Rhythm and Stealth holding something different but overall more energizing, still in the electronic headspace but not frenetic like rave music. It was more low key than that. All of this aside, the club I belonged to favored things like popular hip-hop and the occasional metal song. Leftfield was none of that. I was the weird one who always listened to “electronic” music and liked wine more than beer. People at the pool party that day were not on point with music queuing and so I forced my hand and put this song on. Thankfully it was met with much agreement and questions of “what is this?” and “what album is this?” instead of the group just grinning and bearing. I think this song is meaningful for me because at the time, while I was part of a group I had very little in common with outside of my vehicle of choice, here was something we could all agree on and something I had brought to the table. I’ve since lost contact with almost all members of that club (I mean really, who wants to work on their car every month because something new breaks every week?) but I’m left with a memory of a pool party where a very introverted version of myself managed to reach out through music, and connect.
Scott McMillin (iOS Developer)
“Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears For Fears
June, 1985. I have a very specific memory of listening to this song after after it had just come out. I had just turned sixteen and was in my father’s car and we were driving across the bridge to Ocean City, Maryland to continue on up the coast to Rehobeth. It was unusual that my father let me listen to radio stations that I liked (as opposed to his oldies stations). The song has an expansive, spacious sound that somehow fit perfectly with the open water to either side of us. Then “Tainted Love” came on and he quickly changed the channel.
“Celebrated Summer” by Hüsker Dü
Summer, 1990. Following sophomore year of college, as the 1980s began to fade, my best friend Johnny and I drove across country from Baltimore to Seattle where we spent the summer. I worked at my cousin’s mail order business designing their catalog, and Johnny was an intern at New City theater. Every morning we’d wake up in our small Fremont apartment and put on Hüsker Dü’s New Day Rising to get us up and out of the house and into the beautiful city.
Kassidy Malone-Douglas (Android Developer)
“Gasoline” by Alpine
I picked this song because to me, summer is airy and dreamy, while also being upbeat and having momentum.
Allison Rastetter (Brand Strategist)
“I’ll Show You” by Justin Bieber
My fiancé and I spent a couple weeks in Iceland this Summer, and spent a shameful amount of time recreating this music video to chronicle our adventure. https://youtu.be/nGlhuihNWUI
“Under the Boardwalk” by The Drifters
Every Summer when I was a kid, my mom would take us to Ocean City, New Jersey for a family reunion. This song reminds me of the retro diners, sunburns, and sticky nights on the boardwalk eating french fries with vinegar and Polish water ice.
Daryl Seaver (Android Developer)
“Love is Lighter Than Air” by Magnetic Fields
This the saddest summer song in the whole world, even sadder than Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness”. My high school sweetheart would get incredibly depressed every summer because he was constantly plagued by the anxiety expressed so perfectly by the line “Summer, summer, summer’s gonna turn into fall, you and your baby doll never went to the beach.”
“Suzanne” by Leonard Cohen
I didn’t have enough time to suffer FOMO on going to the beach in high school because I was too busy crying due to being a teenager listening to Leonard Cohen. This song is so unbearably beautiful and isn’t directly about summer but that’s the best time to listen to it. I guess I just think summer is very pretty and sad?
Lisa Slaven (Director of Business Development)
“Golden Light” by STRFKR
Honestly I think this song is about dying, but it’s one of the songs I listen to when I’m floating around in the pool while the sun hits my face and eyes are closed.
“Gooey – Gilligan Moss Remix” by Glass Animals
This song always brings me back to the summer of 2015 and driving back from the Women’s World Cup in BC with my best friends. We listened to this song on repeat from Bellingham to Seattle.
Rick Watson (Recruiter)
“Shines” by The Donkeys
A San Diego band bringing a little California Summer to our little corner of the PNW.
“Innerbloom” by RÜFÜS DU SOL
Innerbloom is a 9+ minute song of downtempo awesomeness. If summer is anything, it’s memories that are so strong that they almost knock you down when you smell wet grass in the evening from the sprinkler or brush against some flowers after a late night. This song will feel like you’ve known it forever after the first listen.
Aaron Williamson (iOS Developer)
“Vacation” by Dirty Heads
My pick has kind of a summery vibe with the reggae pop going on, an anthem for anybody that likes their job and has the attitude that every day is a vacation!