Well, it’s that time of year again. The end of Summer. The temperature begins to drop. Leaves start falling. Less sun. More clouds. Things start to smell differently. If you’re a beach goer, then you’re probably pretty bummed, but if you’re like me, and your average body temperature is somewhere between the surface of the sun and a raging volcano, then you’re probably welcoming Fall and the cooler weather with open arms. With that being said, the Summer isn’t over just yet, and there’s still at least a few weeks to bask in the chill vibes of the sunny season. So, before we welcome hoodie weather, pumpkin spice lattes, and the sound of leaves crunching under our feet, first let’s wind down with some of my favorite Summer tracks.
5) The Only Place by Best Coast
When I think of chill, beachy Summer vibes, I think of California, which is kind of crazy considering I’ve never actually be there. With ‘The Only Place,’ Best Coast rattles off just about everything that makes the Golden State the best place to be in the Summer. Summer is often thought about as a celebration, and with this song, Best Coast gave us an anthem to start off every beach day. Listening to this track, one cannot help but imagine riding down the coast line on a warm, breezy day, top down and not a care in the world. So, slip on your favorite pair of sandals, and your best pair of imitation gas station Ray Bans and crank this tune loud while you celebrate all things Summer!
4) Doin’ Time/Summertime by Sublime
The end of Summer has this weird way of forcing us to look back. Not just on the closing season, but seemingly on the entire year to date. At least, that’s the effect that it tends to have on me. It’s not a bad thing. It’s just something that happens. Maybe it does for you, too? Anyway, ‘Doin’ Time’ is a classic late 90’s jam from the seminal third wave Ska band, Sublime. For those of you that are a little younger, it was also covered by Lana Del Rey in 2019. Regardless of which version you prefer, the song is a Summer staple. It’s chill, meditative vibe is best served with a cold Corona and lime while slouched in your comfiest beach chair. The song itself sees the narrator looking back on the situations he’s recently found himself in, all the while immersed in the easy living vibes of a hot, steamy Summer. An in-depth look at the lyrics prove somewhat bitter, but the music and vibe go down smooth as strawberry margaritas on a warm, cool August evening.
3) (Sittin’ On The) Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding
I’m from Long Island, New York. I’ve lived on the South Shore basically my whole entire life. While I’ve never lived on literal beach front property, I’ve also never truly been more than a 5 minute drive from the water, either. Generally speaking, the closest body of water to me has always been the Great South Bay, and now the Shinnecock Bay, and so this song has always really resonated with me. It’s an especially chill Summer song. It beckons memories of lazy days spent doing nothing but kicking back and relaxing. The song itself caresses your ears with the gentle sounds of lapping waves, and care free whistling, with the narrator encouraging us to clear our minds, and enjoy the tranquil sounds of Summer on the water. If there was ever a song which embodies the spirit of “Time you enjoy wasting is never wasted,” ‘(Sittin’ On The) Dock of the Bay’ would be it.
2) Cruel Summer by Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift is on fire lately. One of the things that makes her great is her innate ability to connect with her fans, and ‘Cruel Summer’ is no exception. The song details the narrator’s highly painful experience while falling for a Summer crush. Ah yes, the Summer romance. Many of us have been there as kids. School is out. You have what feels like a lifetime ahead of you. The world is suddenly bright, sunny and full of flowers, and you’ve found yourself “in love” for the first time. Suddenly, as quickly as it began, the Summer ends, and your supposed love life comes crashing down along with it. It’s a classic tale of teenage woe. So, with this song Taylor Swift elicits those memories of “love” lost, while coupling them with smooth, synth vibes cascading to a beautiful crescendo as the song comes to a close. If you’re the poetic type you might even liken Swift’s tale of love lost to Summer giving way to the brisk, cold air of Fall.
1) The Boys of Summer by Don Henley
Sometimes I like to try and dig deep, and surprise the reader with my picks. Other times it’s all too obvious. Why try and reinvent the wheel, right? In 1984, Don Henley wrote the quintessential Summer song, and in my opinion, no one has bettered him since. Really, what’s not to love? It’s chill. It’s anthemic. It’s seemingly upbeat, with a deep, dark melancholic underbelly. If Summer could be described in terms of old school, black and white noir, ‘The Boys of Summer’ would be the plot. Recently, Taylor Swift brought us back to a time when young love slipped through our adolescent fingers, but here Don Henley has taken things to the next level. The song is steeped in nostalgia, and yearning for seemingly better times and lost ideals of previous generations. A quote by writer Tim Lowery basically sums it up best: “Anyone who claims not to feel chill when Henley recounts seeing a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac probably needs a pulse check. This is beachside existentialism 101.”
That wraps up my Songs for the End of Summer list. I hope you’re allowing the chill vibes to wash over you like cool ocean water. While Summer may be almost over, there’s still time to soak up the sun and hit the beach. Now all that’s left for you to do go hunting for all of these records, but don’t stop there! There are dozens upon dozens of fun and interesting Summer themed records waiting to be discovered. I hope you all enjoy the rest of your Summer! While you’re at it, pair the sunshine with a record, and head over to the ETR Store and choose a category to snag a fun mystery grab bag vinyl album for only $9.99!
Until next time, keep on spinning.
Andrew Daly is from Long Island, NY, where he lives with his wife Angela, and their four cats, Oliver, Patrick, Charlie and Kevin. Andrew is an Operations Manager by day, and a true vinyl junkie by night. Having collected vinyl since he was a child in the 1990’s, Andrew’s collection of over 4,400 vinyl albums tells the story of his passion for all that is music