Well guys, the first day of Fall – or the “autumnal equinox” if you’re pretentious – is upon us, as is our official goodbye to Summer Sixteen. What we’re left with, aside from a month-long hangover and a couple genital warts, is a bunch of memories. More specifically, we’re left with the memories and the songs that accompany them. Seriously, the sheer power of the music-memory connection is mindblowing. (Example: two years ago, I had a severe panic attack in the middle of the Taconic Parkway in upstate New York while Wiz Khalifa’s “Bout Y’all” was playing, and to this day, I still can’t hear that track without losing my shit. It’s a shame, ‘cause it’s a banger.) This potent connection is bested only by the smell-memory link (Olfaction to Hippocampus), which any Neuroscientist will get a sizable boner explaining to you.
So whenever a meaningful chapter in my life closes, it always gets me thinking: what was my soundtrack? What are the songs that, until my liver finally calls it quits or an ex-girlfriend stabs me in my sleep, are gonna be intertwined with the good, the bad, and the ugly of this time period in my life? With Summer Sixteen coming to an end, I reached into the depths of my neurotic mind and these are the songs I yanked out. Below are brief thoughts on each one, and I’ve even compiled a Spotify playlist at the bottom for your listening pleasure.
This is what my Summer sounded like, and consequently, it’s what soul crushing nostalgia is gonna sound like for me in 2040. What did yours sound like? Let me know in the comments. I hope you’ve already given day one of Autumn a swift kick in the ass! Peace out Summer Sixteen!
(Girl We Got A) Good Thing – Weezer
If you ever wondered what summer “sounds like”, here’s your answer.
Sometimes – Ariana Grande
My favorite Pop song of the entire year. Max Martin’s impossibly smooth production reminds me of his work on Backstreet Boys’ Millenium.
KISA – Rittz
On Rittz’s brilliant, hard-hitting Top of the Line, the sappy love song also happens to be my favorite. Bite me.
Roses – Carly Rae Jepsen
Every single track on last month’s Emotion: Side B EP is a contender, but “Roses” takes the cake for me. It’s moody by Carly Rae standards, and perhaps that’s why I have a slightly deeper connection with it than peppy songs like “First Time”.
Slug’s hyper self-aware rhymes and Ant’s knocking production make this a quintessential Atmosphere track.
Do You Mind – DJ Khaled
I love this sensual banger from DJ Khaled’s absurdly hyped Major Key LP. The production is a bit of a call back to Rich Gang’s “Lifestyle”, and Future’s guest verse is low key one of the best moments of his career.
Collapse – Vektor
Vektor’s Progressive Thrash opus Terminal Redux is still my number one Metal album of 2016 thus far. And yes, it’s fucking blistering, but it’s actually the LP’s pseudo-ballad that I’ve found myself coming back to the most.
Shelter –Porter Robinson & Madeon
My two favorite EDM artists broke the Internet with this collaborative single, and it sounds exactly how I had hoped – like Madeon’s Adventure and Porter’s Worlds enjoyed some good ol’ passionate shtupping.
John Muir – ScHoolboy Q
Q’s menacing delivery and Sounwave’s throbbing boom bap – complemented by a touch of Jazz in the hook – are a lethal combination.
Whatever, Wherever – Band of Horses
Another stare-up-at-the-stars-and-think-about-life song from Band of Horses. Gorgeous, calming…everything I’ve come to adore about “Factory”, “Infinite Arms”, “The Funeral”, and the softer moments in the band’s catalogue. I often wonder if other listeners extract the same mood from these songs that I do – if not, chalk another thing up to my weirdness.
Hologram – Crown the Empire
Histrionic metalcore angst at its most shameless. Normally it doesn’t fly with me, but “Hologram” is so fucking catchy.
Night Drive Loneliness – Garbage
Over two decades after their self-titled masterpiece, Garbage are still killing it. This standout from their new record Strange Little Birds – which came out in June – is the perfect sonic execution of its titular concept.
Stranded – Gojira
In stripping down their pulverizing sound for something a bit hookier, Gojira took a huge risk with Magma, the band’s sixth album. But it’s the most commercial song on it that ended up being my favorite!
Cleaving Giants of Ice – Revocation
The mammoth closing track from Great Is Our Sin proves that Death Metal and clean vocals DO mix when done right! Prominent Enslaved influence here.
Stole the Show – Kygo
Overall, I was pretty turned off by the excessively commercial sound of Kygo’s debut, but “Stole the Show” was, ironically, my most beat-to-death party song of the summer ‘16.
Dive In – Pierce the Veil
I’ll give Pierce the Veil the gold medal for biggest surprise of 2016 thus far. I usually avoid verb-the-noun bands like the plague, but their new record Misadventures and its explosive opening track are undeniable.
The Fighter – Keith Urban
As with Kygo, I hated the album, but fell in love with a select track. “The Fighter” is a powerful duet with Carrie Underwood.
Something’s Off – Hatebreed
One of the very best songs of Hatebreed’s two-decade career. What a monstrous main groove! And in the bridge section, Jamey Jasta’s foray into clean singing is an absolute triumph.
Ideology is Theft – Saosin
For some reason, the bridge in this song yanks a tremendous amount of emotion out of me every single time I hear it. That addicting lead guitar riff in the chorus doesn’t hurt either.
Love Drought – Beyonce
This is the song Drizzy Drake wishes he could pull off