The Soundboard: Summer tunes clear minds

Listening to summer classics can provide an escape from hectic summer schedules.

Summer is a time for relaxation, for fun and for freedom from classes. At least that’s what it used to be about before internships, jobs and summer courses came into the picture.

But even with the presence of newfound, college summer clutter, music can play a very liberating role throughout the season. On warm, sunny afternoons, there are few things that top the euphoria of driving around with the windows down, blasting some of your best summer tunes.

Here are a few of my personal summer picks:

“Island in the Sun” – Weezer
From the song’s title, to its light, island-esque chord progression, to its lyrics about holidays, golden seas and “drifting into the zone,” this 2001 Weezer smash is the perfect soundtrack for beach relaxation. There are few rock songs written in the last 10 years that are more fitting for summertime.

Good for: Lounging on the beach or daydreaming about doing so.

“Faster” – Third Eye Blind

This lesser-known Third Eye Blind song begins with some perhaps relatable lyrics for the average college student: “Horny and burned out now is how it always ends for me / Chemicals wearing me down in your summertime bacchanalian.” The pulsing beat and heavy chorus of this opening song from the band’s 2003 album, Out of the Vein, make it a highly underrated song in the band’s repertoire.

Good for: A beach house party playlist.

“Runnin’ Down a Dream” – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
A quick-paced classic rocker, this signature Tom Petty tune is full of energy and lyrics about putting the pedal down and hitting cruise control. It also contains a sizzling guitar solo to finish off the song.

Good for: Driving fast with the windows down.

“Back in the U.S.S.R.” – The Beatles
“Flew from Miami Beach,” the Beatles’ White Album begins. The Fab Four may not be the usual candidates for a summer band, but the beachy feel of the bridge on this 1968 fan favorite gives it a definite summer sound. It’s just one more thing the blokes from Liverpool are good for.

Good for: Whenever – it’s the Beatles.

“Times Like These” – Foo Fighters
The upbeat rhythm and blaring guitars of this quintessential Foo Fighters tune fit nicely with a summer afternoon. The ever-gritty Dave Grohl sings on the euphoric chorus, “It’s times like these you learn to live again.” Isn’t that what summer is all about?

Good for: More than a little rockin’ out.

“Ramble On” – Led Zeppelin
Of all the great bands that fall into the classic rock gamut, there’s nothing like getting the Led out. Zeppelin tunes certainly rock no matter what time of the year it is, but “Ramble On” feels right at home during summer. The acoustic chords of the verse venture into an exhilarating chorus with Robert Plant’s signature robust, high-range vocals blasting away.

Good for: A warm weather adventure.

“Californication” – Red Hot Chili Peppers
In truth, there are plenty of Chili Peppers songs that work well during the summer months, but perhaps none is a more obvious choice than its hit “Californication,” from the 1999 album of the same name. The frenzied bass playing of Flea combines with lead vocalist Anthony Kiedis, who belts, “I dream of Californication,” on the song’s soaring chorus.

Good for: A party singalong.

This list obviously does not even begin to comprise all the fitting summer music out there, but hopefully, it may give you some new ideas for your beach playlist. Have a great summer accompanied by some good tunes.

Kevin Brosky can be reached at


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