The days are getting a little longer, the khaki shorts and tennis skirts are coming out and you’re breaking more of a sweat on your walk from Heilman Dining Center to the Humanities Building – you know what that means: spring is coming, and so are Warm Weather Playlists. If you’re anything like me, you start a new playlist for the spring the moment the temperature goes above 65 during a random global warming weather spike in February.
My one struggle with Warm Weather Playlists, though, is that much of the music I listen to can tend toward the Phoebe-Bridgers-esque melancholia that best suits the winter. I have to really root around to find music that will complement instead of contrast the gorgeous weather outdoors. If you also are starting your Warm Weather Playlist and need some help or suggestions, here is a list of songs and albums to get you started.
- “Artangels” by Grimes from her 2015 album Art Angels
This song is the noisiest, peppiest, absurdly excited-est Warm Weather Song I have ever heard in my entire life. It begins with Grimes’ soft, angelic vocals and then explodes into a pop song to end all pop songs. Grimes does best when she juxtaposes her sweet vocals with busy techno-synth instrumentation, and she is entirely within her wheelhouse in “Art Angels.” Her lyrics here are loving and happy, which certainly doesn’t hurt the Warm Weather Playlist vibe.
UR Warm Weather occasion: driving a little too fast down Patterson Avenue with all the windows down.
- “Ghost in the Machine” by SZA ft. Phoebe Bridgers from SZA’s 2022 album SOS
For the melancholic Phoebe Bridgers fans out there, hope for a good Warm Weather Playlist is not lost. Bridgers’ feature on SZA’s thoughtful track from one of 2022’s most anticipated albums heightens the song’s pensive nature to a new level. “Ghost in the machine” is a phrase coined by philosopher Gilbert Ryle to discuss the mind as a separate but congruous entity from the body; the mind is the ghost, and the body is the machine. SZA and Bridgers’ song blends lyrics that ponder this topic with bright, mid-tempo instrumentation. The two artists blend their styles together to create a song that subverts its own form through its lyrics.
UR Warm Weather occasion: walking across campus to a 9 a.m. class with noise-canceling headphones on.
- “Sober” by Childish Gambino from his 2014 album Kauai
The multi-talented Donald Glover does it again! “Sober” is a jaunt that seemingly takes us through a breakup of Glover’s, but it does not sound like a breakup track whatsoever. Perhaps it’s the hopefulness of his lyrics, such as: “If you just give it a chance, loving you is not my plan/ Cause I know one day you'll see/ All the things that we can be,” that keep the song from feeling like a true breakup song. Punchy guitar riffs and percussion keep the song active, and it feels like an inhale of summer beach air.
UR Warm Weather occasion: a river day with friends down at Pony Pasture.
- “The Joker” by Steve Miller Band from their 1973 album The Joker
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I don’t think a soul out there would hear this song and say, “you know what? I love to listen to this song in the winter. It just reminds me of frigid temperatures and black ice.” The breezy yacht rock track is one of the ultimate dad band songs for a reason, and dad bands are so very Warm Weather. The song’s ‘70s cheesiness makes me feel like a father sitting in a lawn chair, drinking a Corona with lime, and to me, that is the epitome of summertime and Warm Weather.
UR Warm Weather occasion: frolicking on Westhampton Green and playing catch.
- Father John Misty’s 2016 single, Real Love Baby
Imagine yourself at your most impossibly content – the sun is warming your skin, you’re in your favorite place and your eyes are closed because there is not a danger in sight. “Real Love Baby” is the sonic embodiment of that feeling. The simple two-guitar, bass, and percussion combination is as pleasant as it can get without verging on overly affected. The lyrics are so viscerally loved-up and happy that I just can’t help but sway my head and do a little dance.
UR Warm Weather occasion: whenever you are at your absolute happiest and most content!
Contact opinions and columns writer Greta Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org and listen to her music show called “eric forman’s basement” on WDCE 90.1 FM on Thursdays from 11 a.m.– 1 p.m.
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