Summer Mix 2020, Part 2: Night

Screen Shot 2020-08-02 at 11.03.02 PM

Here’s Part 2 of my Summer Mix 2020 — this time, tracks to play as the sun is setting and a hot summer night settles in.

The tracklist, along with YouTube and Spotify versions of the playlist are at the bottom. But first, some notes:

  • In my post for Part 1 of this mix, I declared Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé’s “Savage (Remix)” to be the official SOTS (song of the summer). If we’re allowed to have an official SOTSN (song of the summer nights), it’s The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights.”
  • I pay close attention to the placement of each song in a mix like this (whether a song is at the beginning, middle, or end; which track comes immediately before and after it; etc.). For this mix, I think the first three songs are a perfect 1-2-3 punch for opening it up, and the last two tracks (“People, I’ve been sad” into “Summer Girl”) are classic examples of what a penultimate and closing track should be. I can’t really explain why, but hopefully you agree.

Tracklist (meant to be played top to bottom, no shuffle):

1. The Weeknd: “Blinding Lights”
2. The New Pornographers: “Falling Down the Stairs of Your Smile”
3. Washed Out: “Too Late”
4. KAYTRANADA ft. Kali Uchis: “10%”
5. Tame Impala: “Lost in Yesterday”
6. Yves Tumor: “Gospel for a New Century”
7. Disclosure: “ENERGY”
8. Caroline Polachek: “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings”
9. Lady Gaga ft. Ariana Grande: “Rain On Me”
10. Free Nationals ft. Mac Miller & Kali Uchis: “Time”
11. Car Seat Headrest: “Can’t Cool Me Down”
12. Khruangbin: “Time (You and I)”
13. Empress Of: “Give Me Another Chance”
14. 박혜진 Park Hye Jin: “Like this”
15. The Avalanches ft. Rivers Cuomo & Pink Siifu: “Running Red Lights”
16. Jessy Lanza: “Lick in Heaven”
17. Christine and the Queens: “People, I’ve been sad”
18. HAIM: “Summer Girl”

A Look Back at the Best Songs of 2009

I have a unique experience with the music of 2009 — I didn’t hear any of it until December 30, 2010. Well, I didn’t hear most of it, at least. How could you not be exposed to “I Gotta Feeling” and “Run This Town” blasting out of various cars and backyards in the summer of ‘09?

I served a two-year Mormon mission that started the last day of 2008 and extended all the way through the last week of 2010. On a mission, you’re only allowed to listen to church-related music, and maybe some classical (as long as it doesn’t get too wild, like “Ride of the Valkyries” or something). Those music restrictions were… incredibly hard, as you can probably imagine. I would cope by periodically meandering over to the magazine rack in Walgreens and thumbing through Rolling Stone and Spin to get a sense of what was happening. It was there that I read album reviews for Bitte Orca and Brothers, learned that Jack White was forming a new band called the Dead Weather, and that Kanye West released a masterpiece called My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

The very first sanctioned “new” song I heard when I got back was “1901” by Phoenix, and my mind was blown. I learned later that most people in America were sick of that song by then, since its appearance in an ever-present Cadillac commercial. But to my fresh ears, it was glorious. Was that a guitar or synth riff at the beginning? Were they singing “Fallin’, fallin’, fallin’, FALLIN’” in the chorus? Or “Ballin’, ballin’, ballin’, BALLIN’”? Who knows, but it sounded incredible.

And that’s how it was with the music of 2009 and 2010. It was like Tom Hanks finally returning home in Cast Away, except instead of learning that your wife married someone else, you get to just experience a whole two-years worth of music as if it were brand new.

Indie art-pop was a big presence in 2009, with Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, and Dirty Projectors carrying the torch. Rap was still coasting a wave of soul samples, popularized by Kanye West in the early to mid-2000s. And Max Martin was just on the precipice of his second wave of pop dominance, with hits from Katy Perry and Kesha soon to come the following year.

I started making year-end best songs lists in 2006, but for reasons outlined here, I never made a list for 2009 and 2010. Now that 2009 is ten years away, it’s time to rectify this glaring hole in my music list inventory. One added bonus is that I guarantee the list I’m making now, with ten years’ worth of hindsight, is much better than whatever I would have made in 2009 itself.

Before we get to the top 50, here are 15 honorable mentions.

Continue reading