A Summer Music Cocktail

Published on July 30th, 2008 in: Issues, Music, The Summer, Top Ten Lists |

Mixed and stirred by John Lane

summer cocktail

1. Percy Faith Orchestra, “Theme From A Summer Place
Wait, stop, don’t run away while I’m writing to you! Does it sound vaguely like the music the patients would listen to in “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” after being given their meds? OK, yes, a little bit. But the pizzicato strings and the lush sweep of violins make this a classic nonetheless. Good welcoming tune as the party begins.

2. Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, “Tijuana Taxi”
We don’t need no stinkin’. . . er, hacker’s license to drive this cab. And it doesn’t spell like urine or vomit in the backseat either. Funny, poppy, and I’m happy, and I’m singing, and a-one and a-two. . .

3. The Beach Boys, “Pet Sounds”
What—another instrumental? Yes. If you can’t afford to get away for vacation this summer, this will help transport you with its calypso percussion and twangy guitar work. The best part, no itchy sand in your bathing suit.

4. The B-52s, Cosmic Thing
Pick any song off this album—no, wait, not “Love Shack” which has become a wedding reception staple. Please, no thank you. How about “Dry Country?” And while you’re up, do you mind pouring me another lemonade?

5. Sufjan Stevens, “Chicago”
At this point in the party, one-third are singing along but not really getting the words right; another third are crying because it reminds them of something traumatic and oh, the catharsis; and the last third are rummaging through your CD collection hoping you’ll turn off the “sad bastard music.”

a summer place

6. The Kinks, “You Really Got Me”
Whew, so many air guitarists in one room! And it’s a 180-degreee turn from Sufjan. Everyone is barking the chorus like a pack of circus seals.

7. Gnarls, Barkley, “Crazy”
More group singing. This song has the power to ruin or strengthen couples present at the party; maybe I’m crazy.

8. The Clash, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”
The mood of the party threatens to take a dramatic crash-and-burn when some young sprout present offers, “Y’know, I wasn’t even born when this song came out. It’s a classic.” He is peppered with dirty looks and shunned like the Amish for the rest of the party.

9. Pixies, “Debaser”
This is one of those songs that allows everyone to scream themselves raw; naturally, neighbors call the cops.

What ensues after the song ends is a sort of quiet embarrassment, a red-cheeked hush over the fact that we were screaming “debaser” over and over again. Someone, quick, put on another disc. . .

[Number ten on this list was only submitted after duress.—Ed.]

“Let me check my pocket. Hang on. Keys, 37 cents, some gum, AH! Found it! Number ten, right here!”

10. The Beatles, “Good Night”

Sweet little closer. Ringo’s plaintive voice makes everyone feel kinder and warmer to each other. (Who’s that guy leaving with your girlfriend, by the way?)

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