Summer Memory Songs

There’s a new playlist on my Spotify of songs I’ve listened to during previous summer. It’s a cool feature, but I’ve only been a Spotify subscriber for a couple of years. Unfortunately, the playlist was not an accurate representation of summer’s past.

Summer nostalgia might be easy for today’s youth, but we senior Millennials gotta dig into the memory cache for those songs that trigger peak summer nostalgia. Here’s a list of a few of my actual summer songs:

“Promise Me” – The Birthday Massacre

I used to frequent this Ruby Gloom forum in 10th grade (never watched the cartoon but I liked the goth chicks on the forum). One of the forums mentioned The Birthday Massacre and I was changed for life. This song is from their 2002 album Nothing and Nowhere.

I loved the new wave influences the low quality of the recording. The entire album is pure magic, but my personal favourite is “Promise Me” for its catchy opening and its vivid romantic lyrics. The line, “We will stumble home together as we did the night before” always rung through my teenage summer evening frolics. I didn’t drink back then, but I do have a lot of memories wandering the neighbourhood streets until the sun fell and the moon rose, bringing with it the relief of summer night breeze.

“Yesterday Never Tomorrows” – The Stills

The mid-00’s found me headed down a path of musical hipster-dom, and 2003 was when The Stills’ first album, Logic Will Break Your Heart came out. I feel like that was the epitome of what a Canadian hipster listened to back in the day. It’s still one of my favourite albums and one that I listened to often during this week in August of 2003 when we had one long week of rainy days right before school started up again. It was like absolute heaven, and I still listen to this album and still fondly remember that transition from summer to fall.

“Conspiracy” – Paramore

Back in 2005, PureVolume was this neat early-Spotify kind of site for emerging artists to promote themselves. I found a lot of great new music to listen to back then, (including Lady Gaga!) but Paramore was one of those bands that hit me. This was right smack dab in the middle of the emo music era and my dad even let me pre-order their debut album.

It didn’t come out early enough for me to bring their music on my first “adult” camping trip without any parent around. We made some great memories that summer, and my Paramore album was waiting for me when I returned home. I still have memories of that summer when I listen to All We Know Is Falling. It’s kind of like a coming-of-age album for me.

“Miracle” – Paramore

Paramore’s second album, RIOT!, came out in summer of 2007, which was right when my sister and I moved out of my parent’s house and into our own apartment. Honestly, I had a lot of spite for this album because it was called RIOT! in all caps with a bloody exclamation point, cashing in on all those high school emo vibes too late. Being 20 at the time, I was pretty much done with the emo stuff, but first single “Misery Business” aside (which is terrible), I can admit that there’s a lot in this album that I could appreciate. “Miracle” is the song that still springs a lot of nostalgia for that time, which was mainly walking to work listening to my iPod.

Truth time: Summers when you work retail suck pretty hardcore because you never really feel like it’s summer. It’s all just a brutal slog of wanting to participate in parties and camping trips and not being able to because you didn’t book off time in advance or you have to work early the next morning. #fuckcapitalism

“Deep Blue” – Ladytron

I don’t have a lot of summer memories from my 20’s, mainly because all my summers were spent working. And working. And working. Then in 2009, I found myself alone a lot of evenings writing it up with fierce intensity. I wrote a bunch of stories and a novel called Lessons for a Compulsive Liar that I thought was amazing (it wasn’t).

That summer was the first one I spent seriously writing, and Ladytron’s Velocifero accompanied many of my late nights slamming the keys. Sure, the novel was bad, but I still managed to salvage the protagonist, Jonah, in my short story, “Grin on the Rocks”. You can read it in Vile Men.

“Is There Somewhere?” – Halsey

I got into Halsey in summer of 2015, right before my cousin’s wedding in Canmore, Alberta. I was 6 months postpartum, my daughter was barely crawling and I was still struggling with the last pains of my postpartum depression. It was my first vacation with a child and I struggled a lot. Luckily, my mom watched her most evenings and I could breathe a little sigh of relief that I could go out an have a couple of drinks and feel like myself again.

Halsey kind of helped me out, with her emotional lyrics and atmospheric tunes. I remember in particular one night when my parents watched Maggie so us younger people could have an evening out at a pub in downtown Canmore and this song played.

“Home” – Weekend Wolves

Summer of 2017 wasn’t exactly any feat of memories, save for one thing, which was the overpowering haze of smoke from the BC wildfires. I worked a lot of early morning shifts that summer, and most of my waits at the bus stop every morning consisted of me watching a giant orange sunrise through a thick batch of smoke.

Spotify recommended this song to me on one of my weekly playlists. I’d listen to it on the bus every morning because it so captured that post-apocalyptic look of this orange orb rising over a grey city in the valley.

“Tumbling Lights” – The Acid

I discovered this one through HBO’s limited series adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects (mah favourite novel!). The show was pretty much praised for its music, but the two songs by The Acid (this one and “Ghost”) were woven through the episodes in the best kind of creepy way. I loved watching the show late night with my windows open so the evening breeze could dry a bit of the sweat off my skin. There are some good times to not have AC, and watching Sharp Objects was definitely one of them.

I added a lot of the Sharp Objects soundtrack to my novel playlist, but it’s that opening sequence of “Tumbling Lights” that brings me back to those late evenings I spent finishing the last chapters of my novel.

More about Rebecca

Rebecca is a neo-noir author from Kamloops, British Columbia. Her first collection of gritty short fiction, Vile Men was published by Dark House Press in 2015. She also writes about her writer lifestyle on her personal blog at rebeccajoneshowe.com