Daisy – Fang Island
This is an album about momentum. It’s a relentless, breathless race down a courageously steep hill, legs windmilling, arms outstretched, skittering over bumps, gazing around you at the reckless unthinking wonder of it all. As such the total effect of the album is so much more than its parts, and yet this song does maybe the best effort of summing up the delirious, rhythmic energy of the whole thing. Hand claps, chanting, cartwheeling guitars and a drum line encouraging it all to keep going with demented glee. It is the pure, youthful magnificence of a summer’s day. It is the kind of exhaustion that leaves you collapsed at the bottom of a grassy slope, giggling and dazed and impossibly contented.
Sentimental X’s – Broken Social Scene
Like some of the best BSS songs, this drifts in like a memory of something wonderful that happened in the kind of carefree summer you can’t remember any more. It’s full of wistful, half-remembered details – friends of friends, the hints at memories of things we never should have done. Emily Haines voice a heartbreaking memory of everything that once seemed so simple and inconsequential. Something now unreachable. Even in the title everything now feels opaque and confusing: sentimental x’s (like the ones you agonise over at the bottom of an email to an old friend) or sentimental exes, old partners still daydreaming of summer’s that were as unlikely as they were ephemeral. Electronic bleeps skip like butterflies against a window, guitars purr gently agonising chords. And then suddenly the whole thing explodes with the kind of spectacular, heart-bursting glory that maybe didn’t feel possible any more. A shared look that says that something is still there. That it wasn’t all fantasy and misremembrances. And then just as quickly as that euphoria arrives it disappears – the refrain of ‘I love you’ fading into the distance.
Hannibal – Caribou
Like any decent lazy summer day, this song takes its time. It’s in no rush to do anything. It finds a hook and sticks to it. Other samples saunter in and out like characters in an opera, or flavours in a cocktail: thumping bass-lines, little percussive rhythms, flushes of brass, faint hints of this or that spilling in and out. When a voice finally arrives about four and a half minutes in it feels less like an imminent climax than another hazy ingredient. A woozy, mesmerising, languid six and half minutes that still ends up finds a way to be tantalisingly fleeting.
Beach House – Walk in the Park
Victoria Legrand’s voice is like a mirage, a watery vision at the end of a long tarmac road. It’s not necessarily the most beautiful or velvety or idiosyncratic voice – but it just floats you away somewhere comfortably magical. On this song in particular it lifts you up like waves of warm coastal air, soaring above a bright, directionless ocean of beats and refrains. We circle and float contentedly. We’re drifting nowhere in particular but it doesn’t matter when you feel this weightless.
Terrible Love – The National
This song begins like something off The Velvet Underground and Nico – guitars growling and churning in a way that’s eerily reminiscent of All Tomorrow’s Parties. That earlier song is one of the ultimate hymns to a crushing loneliness in the midst of hazy euphoria. The same despairing fragility seems to be the seabed of this song as well. A quiet sadness that no one notices. That no one can actually help with anyway. Quickly though this accelerates into a something more grandiose – an uncontainable welling-up (“it takes an ocean not to break”). Amongst an unrelenting chorus of drums and wails and roaring guitars a delicate little refrain shimmers in and out, the tickle in your chest that tells you your about to start crying. So yeah, so it’s not chirpy but SOMETIMES SUMMER CAN BE SAD AS WELL – desolately, inconsolably sad.