Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Put Some Records On While I Sweat

Be forewarned: this is a sequel post. I generally believe all sequels are bad ideas, except maybe Exodus. My least favorite sequel is Cheaper By the Dozen 2, which I saw with my 6-year-old cousin in a Tennessee theater. I’m not sure when Steve Martin transitioned from “Wild And Crazy Guy” to “Pained Yet Patient Father,” but the gods must’ve wept. I might have scored Samaritan points for taking my cousin to Cheaper By the Dozen 2, but she hated the movie more than I did. “Is it over now?” she punctuated each scene change. “Is it over now?”

No, this post has just begun. I’m plagiarizing Murky by giving you my Summertime Singalong. Like Mr. Words’ greatest hits, mine (mostly) evoke happy, humid memories. Because I’m lazy, though, I’ve selected only tunes with “summer” words in the titles. This originated as a playlist on my iPod, and I present it without shame or editing. Sort of like the director’s cut of Garfield: Tale of Two Kitties.

1. “Summertime,” DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. Ah, nostalgia. Remember when summertime was meant to “sit back and unwind”? Remember when a rapper scored a Billboard hit without having to rhyme “bitches and ho’s” (“itches my nose...”)?

2. “Here Comes the Sun,” Peter Tosh. This tune makes the short list of Beatles hits suitable for reggae covers. “Eleanor Rigby,” not destined for ebony and ivory action. “Yellow Submarine”...well, maybe.

3. “In the Summertime,” Mungo Jerry. Thumbs up: Mungo immortalized T.S. Eliot with his feline name. Thumbs down: “If her daddy’s rich, take her out for a meal / If her daddy’s poor, just do what you feel.” Two thumbs up: my mom, hearing the aforementioned lyric, exclaimed, “Well, that’s not very nice!” I've been raised right.

4. “I Can See Clearly Now,” Jimmy Cliff. Overplayed, but still one of my sunshiny favorites. Could be swapped for sentiment with any version of Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies.”

5. “Summer in the City,” The Lovin’ Spoonful. I wouldn’t be surprised if Geico and The Lovin’ Spoonful have a “special arrangement.” The chorus of car horns is always good for a nervous swerve. Wheee!

6. “Hot in Here,” Nelly. Debuted in 2002, during my first year of teaching in Hughes. It was pretty hot in my classroom, but I knew never to say, “It’s getting hot in here,” because, inevitably, I’d receive a chorus: “So, take off...” That's one more letter off R-E-C-E-S-S, kids.

7. “Steal My Sunshine,” Len. Also seen on Murky’s list, but I bet my recollection has a different spin. In 1999 I was nineteen, and my college friends and I sang this on an apple picking trip to Connecticut. Just like you, Murk?

8. “Hot Hot Hot,” random party tune/Chili‘s commercial. It’s on my playlist, but I’ve never listened in full. Fits the theme, but annoying as hay-ell.

9. “Sunny,” Boney M. Disco remix of a Stevie Wonder song which wasn’t great in the first place. Like that Garfield: The Movie sequel. (Oops, I did say “without shame,” didn’t I? Always a toss up between shame and honesty.)

10. “Heat Wave,” Martha Reeves and Vandellas. In the 1980s, I had a “Best of the Girl Groups” cassette, and this was the first song on the B side. Mom and I took turns being Martha Reeves or the Vandellas. We also did a great version of the Shangri-Las’ “Leader of the Pack.”

11. “Summer’s Day,” Yo La Tengo. Included purely for hipster cred, and to counterbalance...

12. “Summer Girls,” LFO. I can’t tell you how much I love this song, because you’ll never read my blog again. Would it help if I make a smart Cole Porter reference? This ditty reminds me of Cole’s “You’re the Top,” with its joyfully inane rhyming. Cole says: “You’re the pearl that the divers fetch up / Milton Berle, and tomato ketchup.” LFO chants: “There was a good man named Paul Revere / I feel much better, baby, when you’re near.” Okay, (sigh), you’re right...Cole is rolling. How about: “Let you off the hook, like my man Mr. Limpet / Think about that summer, and I bug ‘cause I miss it”? Now Don Knotts is rolling, too...

13. “Summertime Blues,” The Beach Boys. Relatively upbeat for its grim subject matter, which is “the dawn of summer employment.” Age 12, you spend every summer watching “Tom and Jerry’s.” Age 15, you spend every summer scooping Ben and Jerry’s. And you’re still too young to vote!

14. “Blister in the Sun,” Violent Femmes. Talking to my friend Jessica on the phone a few days ago, she said, “[Husband] and I went to a club last week, and they were playing the song that goes “Doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo do, dum da dum da dum, chh chh! Chh chh!” Immediately I answered, “Blister in the Sun”-- maybe ‘cause I’m that good, but more likely because I went to Wellesley. (Femmes in a cappella is my specialty.)

15. “No Rain,” Blind Melon. All I can do is read a book to stay awake. When that doesn’t work, I think about Chuck E. Cheese’s middle name.

16. “Summertime,” Janis Joplin. We come full circle! I think most folks would call this the quintessential version of the quintessential summer song. My apologies to the Gershwins for confusing their musical with a high school sex romp, several posts ago. Ira and George had enough sense not to pen a sequel...


Blogger Eric said...

Re: #7 - Nope. I was all types of trashed in a Santa Barbara dive bar, actually. But I did sing along so, uh... we have that in common... I guess.

What we don't have in common are the "Lyte Funky Ones" at #12 (Yes, that really is what LFO stands for. You can look it up.) It's placement on your list... well, let's just say my left eyebrow was arched. However I'm more than willing to overlook it as you managed to include both Cole Porter and The Incredible Mr. Limpet in the same paragraph. Very nicely done, and an excellent list as well - #12 notwithstanding.

9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still love to sing along with you!

9:38 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

My little sister had a whole series of Best of the Girl Groups cassettes - I think she actually wore them out from playing them non-stop. It's been over a decade since then, so I think I could listen to girl groups again...

Blister In the Sun is a total Wellesley song for me too, because when I was on a college tour and we drove through Wellesley for the first time, that song was playing as we were driving through that archway/tunnel thing by the academic quad - you know, the one that's always in pictures. That song did not fit with the setting AT ALL, but I still think of Wellesley every time I hear it.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Jesseanna said...

The song that most reminds me of Wellesley is Paul Simon's "American Tune." It got such mileage from all of our "girl groups"!

I'm regretting my Steve Martin crack now, because I really like the movie Parenthood. And I own Father of the Bride...

Anonymous, I love to sing along with YOU. Eric, I like to sing along with you as well, except your pitch is too good for me!

10:33 AM  
Anonymous *jaime said...

a good variety on this list, looks good. consider adding "magic" by the cars to your playlist. . .the first word of the song is SUMMER and it instantly gives me that feeling. which reminds me, also try out "That Summer Feeling" by Jonathan Richman. Oh man, why am I at work?? i wanna go home and drink some kool-aid now.

5:33 PM  
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1:49 PM  
Blogger Jesseanna said...

Rats. That was my first comment spam in awhile.

9:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My cousin Al Thompson did the motorcycle riff in Leader of the Pack

1:02 PM  
Blogger B said...

Hey, I've been apple-picking in Connecticut! I was two years younger than you were, though. (And if THAT doesn't make your skin crawl a little, I don't know what will.)

Inevitable reply from jesseanna the whippersnapper: "They had apples back then?"

Or maybe: "Were you dating the Widow Proctor at the time?"

1:35 PM  

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