Songs Of Summer “Walkin’ On The Sun” by Smash Mouth

Much like yesterday’s SOS band Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth seems to be a band that has made all of its money based solely on coming out with great songs that people like to sing, hear and listen to in the summer time, starting with 1997’s “Walkin’ On The Sun.” Holy shit, this song was gigantically huge and it’s a damn good poppy summer song. I borrowed my buddy Randy’s copy of Fush Yu Mang (the record this song was on) and was left feeling pretty flat about the whole thing. I think I could do a whole week on just Smash Mouth songs like “All Star” and the covers they did for the Shrek movies. Like with Sugar Ray, I might actually go back and pick up their greatest hits record…if they have one. Someone should work on that.

Songs Of Summer “Fly” by Sugar Ray

I have very vivid memories of both this video for Sugar Ray’s “Fly” (the spinning room, sitting on top of a moving car, being in a pool with their clothes on, etc.) and buying the album. I was 14 when the album came out in the summer of 1997 and must have bought the CD at the nearby Best Buy or something. I hadn’t listened to it before going to visit my Grandma in Cleveland. After the two hour drive there I’m sure we had dinner or something, and then I went to bed where I plugged my Discman in and gave the disc my first listen. Holy shit, every song on that record is way heavier than “Fly.” I was blown away because I wasn’t expecting that, but I really dug the record and still give it a listen every now and then. Of course, the softer summer songs are what would send Sugar Ray on to fame and fortune. I would imagine anyone who went back and listened to Floored (their second album which had “Fly” on it) nowadays would be pretty shocked as well. I can’t say I still dug Sugar Ray in their later entries, but now that I’m older all their singles feel pretty nostalgic. Maybe I’ll pick up their Greatest Hits record at some point or just get the songs from iTunes.

Songs Of Summer “We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey

Like a few other entries in Songs Of Summer, I’m not sure if Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together” actually came out in the summer or not, but I have a very distinct summer memory of the song. See, after graduating from college I went back to Toledo and spent a few months hanging around with my friends, drinking, playing Halo and working at Barry’s Bagel Shop. My friends had a house that I would go over and hang out at, which meant I spent a lot of time in the car late at night driving from their house back to my parents’ listening to the radio (the car I was driving only had a tape player).

I should probably lose every bit of credibility I’ve ever had for what I’m about to say, but Mariah Carey knows how to sing the shit out of a song and she sure does that on “We Belong Together.” I know the song’s about a break-up and everything, but it still made me think of the future missus who was living in New Hampshire (for the geographically challenged that’s a long ass distance there between NH and Ohio). I’m not sure if there’s anything quite like that feeling of useless craziness between graduating from college and getting your first real job, but I was feeling that pretty intensely for a few months until October when I got the call about an opening at Wizard. Everything changed after that, but this song still reminds me of driving through the after-midnight streets of Toledo, driving past the mall and the flashing yellow street lights, missing my lady. For the record, she still makes fun of me for buying this song on iTunes and knowing all the words, so that’s what sentimentality gets you.

Songs Of Summer “Slow Ride” by Foghat

Pretty much everything on both Dazed And Confused soundtracks can be considered a summer classic, but few more than “Slow Ride” instantly make you think of of driving with the windows down, one arm out the window and some big 70s-style shades hanging off the end of your nose as you check out the ladies go by. As readers know, I think Dazed And Confused is a legit classic and I think this track by Foghat is equally legit. I don’t know anything about the band except for this song, but I think they’ve earned themselves a solid spot in the Songs Of Summer Hall Of Fame.

Songs Of Summer “Don’t Trust Me” by 3OH!3

From the little I’ve heard, 3OH!3 makes pretty damn good party music, the kind of records you can just put in, hit play and let go while hanging out with some friends, drinking some beers and maybe doing a little dancing (like the party in Superbad). Personally, “Don’t Trust Me” reminds me of working in New York City last summer. I only did the commute for about three months after they moved us down there and then got laid off in September, so pretty much every song I remember from that period has a very summery vibe to it. At the time, I was turning VH1 or Fuse on in the morning to help me wake up so I could make the train and 3OH!3 was one of the staples in those rotations. My city days might be over on a daily basis (for now at least), but I can still have fun with tracks like these. Plus, the video’s pretty funny (and embeddable!!!).

Songs Of Summer Kid Rock Double Whammy

Sorry about the shitty quality of this video, but it’s the best I can do considering the official music video for “Cowboy” is not embeddable (again, I ask what the point of this is). I think I’ll save a recounting of my personal history with Kid Rock for another day, instead I’m going to drop two songs of his on you that always remind me of summer. “Cowboy” reminds me of driving around and trying to sing all the words (an achievement I’ve never made). It’s just a fun track with a good mix of hip hop, rock and country (one of Rock’s signature accomplishments and something I think he does better than anyone).

Kid Rock has seemingly made a career off of creating songs that just make you feel like it’s summer time, regardless of the actual season, but he went on the nose when he wrote “All Summer Long.” For some reason the official video for this one, which is on the official Kid Rock section of YouTube, IS embeddable. I’ll never understand you, Internet Overlords.

Damn, I love this song. Rock captures the whole idea of being “between boy and man” really well. It also holds a special place in my heart because the song and the video remind me of growing up on the lake in Michigan. While other songs make me think of driving in a car on those hot summer days, this one makes me think of cruising around the lake either lazily on a pontoon boat or zooming around on a speed boat. Good times.

Songs Of Summer “Hooch” by Everything

As I write this, the nice summer day I drove through to get to the coffee shop to get some work done is being invaded by darkness, gale force winds and torrential rain, but that won’t stop me from posting a video of Everything’s “Hooch,” another 90s song that has embedded itself in my memory as the kind of song that always reminds me of summer (not that I’ve actually heard “Hooch” anyone in the last few years, but you get the idea). What almost stopped me, however was the fact that, wonder of wonders, the video isn’t on YouTube. I was shocked and dismayed. “But EVERYTHING’S on YouTube!” I shouted to the rainy heavens and only get a wet face in return. Don’t worry, though, as you can see above, I found a live performance of the song and the official video here, but I’m still surprised it’s not on YouTube.

“Hooch” was a nice little pop song that came out and seemed like a pretty big deal, but it’s been mostly forgotten with the exception of some TV appearances. I remember actually taping the video back in the days of VHS. It was on the beginning of one of the tapes I used to record Buffy week in and week out (before the dawn of DVDs and the now-ubiquitous TV on easy-to-consume home viewing apparatuses). This one song is the most I’ve ever heard of from Everything, but it’s a fun song that always reminds me summer. I’m a fan of bands who mix it up with the basic band configuration of guitar/bass/drums. Did anyone ever get one of their albums? Were they any good?

Songs Of Summer “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train

Who would have thought that “Hey, Soul Sister” was a Train song? I would have bet money on someone from the Jack Johnson or Jason Mraz school of acoustic folk, but when it turned out this little diddy was from the same group that brought us “Drops Of Jupiter (Tell Me)” I was pretty stunned. All that aside, it’s still a fun little song, isn’t it? You really can’t go wrong with by incorporating some ukulele into a song. That’s free advice to any aspiring song crafters out there.

The video itself is pretty on the nose. I’m not a big fan of videos where the words are directly incorporated into the visuals, but I do like this new style of painting something, then painting over it and giving it the appearance of motion. Anyone know what this is called? I’ve seen it on a bunch of YouTube clips and dig it, but have no idea what it’s called. Anyone know?

Songs Of Summer “Volcano Girls” by Veruca Salt

I think the reason so many of these mid 90s videos stick out in my mind is because I didn’t see them very often and they made huge impressions on me when I did see them. Take “Volcano Girls” one for instance. Not only was it probably the first time I realized what lesbians are (I have no idea if the two girls in the band were actually lesbians or even together, but between the video and a couple of the songs on Eight Arms To Hold You, I eventually figured out the concept), but that bungee chord scene blew my 14 year old mind, especially when the drummer comes down in perfect sync with the music. Now you can just type in the song on YouTube and watch it as much as you want (I sound old), but back then you had to wait around or tape your favorite videos. I probably only saw “Volcano Girls” a few times but it’s stayed with me to the point where I still want to create a jam room with bungee chords in order to replicate the video.

The song itself is a blazing rocker that very simply kicks ass. Eight Arms became a staple of my high school rotation and I’d eventually learn all the words to the whole record. “Volcano Girls” is still prominent in the various playlists on my iPod and I would go on to pick up their other album American Thighs and Nina Gordon’s solo record. I think I can say without reservation that, even though I had heard some Blondie and Pat Benatar before this time, Veruca Salt taught me that women could rock just as hard as men and create a record that would become one of my favorites. It would be rad if they could get over their differences and reunite.

Songs Of Summer “Place Your Hands” by REEF

I have no idea why I remember REEF so vividly from the summer I was 13 (1996). Maybe it’s that it was part of my first immersion into the world of music videos, maybe it’s all the water, orange or flying. I have no idea. I actually didn’t even remember the name of the song and had to consult Wiki to nail down the song, as searching “reef” on YouTube doesn’t get the best results for what I’m looking for. Anyway, the song’s pretty good, I still dig the video and I want to check out their record, has anyone listened to any of them? Are they worth picking up?

There’s no real summery quality to the song, but I distinctly remember being over at a specific person’s house that I wasn’t supposed to be at and seeing the video. Maybe that’s why I remember it so well.