Song of the Summer 2020

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Aidan Johnson

Reminiscing over the memories and melodies of the extended summer.

Aidan Johnson, Staff Reporter

When times are tough, it is important to have an escape from the ever-increasing demands of daily life, especially with all of the stressors of 2020. Engaging in activities that make us happy creates helpful distractions from our busy lives. Summer is a time to unwind and take a break from the long days at school where the bell never seems to ring as classes stretch on and on, and what better way to unwind than to sit down, relax, and listen to music?

Music as it relates to the season of summer has often been associated with the phrase, “Song of the Summer.” There’s that one song that might remind you of the feelings and sensations of summer with your headphones in as you absorb the delightful beats and sounds generated for maximum auditory enjoyment.  Online publications such as Billboard have started to name their picks for songs that embody the spirit of summer over the past few years. The feeling of a certain song might just take you to the beach, soaking up the sun’s radiant rays on a warm summer’s day. This feeling emanated by certain songs pertains to the expression “Song of the Summer.”

For freshman Milli Patel, “Golden” by Harry Styles and “OK” from Dylan Minette’s band Wallows are her top picks.

“I had these songs on repeat this summer and I couldn’t stop listening to them,” Patel said. “I love the vibes of the songs, and I love how I can enjoy listening to them at any time of the day.” 

Billboard includes “Watermelon Sugar,” another song by Harry Styles off of his sophomore album (released in December 2019), as one of their picks for song of the summer. Largely featuring bright, upbeat tempos, these two songs by Styles seem to hold a very summery feel, perhaps even transporting the listener to a tropical setting, ready to take in the seasonal delights.

Taylor Swift released her eighth album folklore in late July this summer with a surprise announcement a day before the time of release. The album was released just eleven months after her previous album Lover came out. The entire album was written, recorded, and produced during quarantine, and has since met universal critical acclaim upon release from fans and critics alike. folklore features collaborations with The National’s Aaron Dessner, Grammy-nominated indie-folk band Bon Iver, and Jack Antonoff, who worked on Swift’s previous album. Antonoff has a track record for producing critically acclaimed albums, with his other works including  Lana Del Rey’s NFR! and Lorde’s Melodrama, which both received numerous Grammy nominations.

Senior Danielle Koos is one of the many fans of Swift’s latest release, with her “Song of the Summer” being “betty.” The song is written from the perspective of a teenage boy named James and is about his relationship with a girl named Betty, hence the song’s title.

“I just love how open-minded James is and how they [Betty and James] don’t know what is going to happen and are putting themselves out there anyway,” Koos comments. “I’ve been trying to be more open to the unexpected and [the] whatever happens, happens kind of mindset.” 

folklore was one of this summer’s highest-selling albums, and its surprise release certainly contributes to its impact on the summer of 2020 and its memorability. 

Sophomore Christopher Zizzo takes his “Song of the Summer” back to Lionel Richie’s “You Are” from 1983, reminding us that older classics are just as important and meaningful to summer as more modern songs are. 

Zizzo says, “I like this song because it is very positive which helps distract from the negative world around me. Especially during the summer.” 

Zizzo reminds us that it is important to embrace positivity when things seem to be going negatively, especially during the summer.

Junior Bella Muniz goes for a similar approach with her summer songs, going for more nostalgic songs like Zizzo. “My songs of the summer would be “Rocketeer” by Far East Movement or “Hot Wings” from the Rio Soundtrack. These songs really give me a nostalgic vibe and bring me back to some of the best times of my childhood. They fit my overall summer mood by reminding me to be carefree and happy,” Muniz says.

That vibrant summer feeling songs generate gives meaning to the phrase, “Song of the Summer.” It can be said that oftentimes humans tend to relate experiences and memories with music, as evident by the students above. Music is an important part of daily life and serves as a unifying source of happiness amongst many. We all have different tastes in what we like and what makes us happy. 

Issac Tichy, a sophomore, expands on this idea of taste. 

“I don’t listen to any particular artist or genre, but whatever I’m enjoying at the time,” he says.

This sentiment is important when it comes to what music is really about: enjoying the present moment. Tichy provides perspective as to what listening to music is all about: 

In the end, summer is a time for recharging and focusing on the positives of life, taking a break from the ever-growing responsibilities that come with being a student and a member of society. When looking back on the Summer of 2020, a lot may come to mind, such as the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter social justice movement. These events have largely been a part of 2020, and for the most part, have caused a lot of change.

 With this year being a year of many negatives, it’s important to focus on the good and the changes towards the better. By embracing “Songs of the Summer” and focusing on those happy summer feelings, our days just might be a little bit brighter, and all the more memorable when looking back.