Summer Music Shorts

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

By Lisa Haviland
I still get a buzz every time I hear the opening hiss of “Ahhh, push it,” and here I am livin’ in Salt ‘n Pepa’s borough of Queens, New York, twenty years after “Push It” rode the Top 40. Though the track came out in December of 1987, I still associate it with summer; it’s too raucous ‘n wild for winter or the indoors. A friend and I blasted it around the neighborhood during the summer of ’88, far from the parents, though there was the inevitable awkward question from her younger brother as to the song’s meaning: “Ah, they mean push the shopping cart,” an item we happened to have commandeered and also the closest we’d come to pushing “it” at our delicate young ages.

push it

Growing up in the ‘burbs was a process riddled with events like “Maturity Night,” a mother-daughter spectacle where an ancient elementary school nurse traps you into uttering the word “vagina” out loud in front of 50 or so peers as the “A” part of a Q & A on “mature” topics. “Push It,” particularly in light of this nightmare, became a welcome celebration of sex by two brash, confident women who wanted to enjoy thangs on their own terms—and have fun doin’ it. Plus, it’s a great dance track. My favorite homages are the song “Bar Star” by Brooklyn-based Kudu, which opens with lead singer Sylvia whisper-chanting “Push it, Push it,” and the club scene in The 40 Year Old Virgin that utilizes this song as Steve Carell’s awkward Andy half-heartedly attempts to cram pimpage. Get up on this.

By Jemiah Jefferson
Sloan’s album Navy Blues came to me, on cassette, during the same summer as the Beastie Boys’ long-awaited Hello Nasty, and those two albums became the indelible soundtrack of the summer of ’98. Every car in town was pumping “Super Disco Breakin'”; you’d go out on the street and a miasma of entangled beats would rise up like smoke from a barbecue. Portland was all of one mind, all of one groove, that summer. . . but a select couple of us had passion for the world’s best Canadian, 70s-AM-rock-loving party band, and the ridiculous listenability of Navy Blues.

navy blues

“She Says What She Means” rocked so impossibly hard that it was hard to believe that it was the first track, the opening salvo, of a sonic assault that couldn’t help but leave behind a smile. And the sing-alongs! Summer was never better than hanging an arm out the passenger-side window and bellowing along at the top of my lungs, oftentimes harmonizing with my relatively musically adept and sophisticated pals, giving the thumbs-up to all and sundry out on the sidewalk. Young and in love and making money! Life was good.

By Less Lee Moore
Most of my summers were spent in the sweltering, tropical misery of the American South, so any music evoking the images and feelings of “sweltering” or “tropical” was off limits. But in June 2001, I took a road trip with some friends to see the first show of Air’s U.S. tour for their new album 10,000 Hz. Legend. Although we traveled to the even-more-sweltering climes of Austin TX, it was still a fantastic show and, despite flight delays and thunderstorms, a fantastic trip.

You might not think that the prog-rock stylings of this album, which surprisingly seems to be the most loathed in Air’s catalogue, would fit in nicely with stifling heat, but you’d be wrong. Perhaps capes and eyepatches weren’t the best fashion options for a band performing in the jam-packed and not-well-ventilated La Zona Rosa, but you’d never know they were suffering from the incredible show they gave us.

10,000 hz. legend

Ex-Redd Kross drummer Brian Reitzell was on this tour, and so was Jason Falkner, who sang “Playground Love” from The Virgin Suicides soundtrack like he owned the song. My word, it was gorgeous: smoke machines, strobe lights, and sexy French men. Ever since that night, whenever the thermostat threatens to explode, I pop this album into the stereo. It actually makes the weather seem hotter, but I swear I don’t mind. From the steamy, sultry opening bars of “Electronic Performer” to the slow sensuality of “Sex Born Poison,” this album exudes summertime.

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