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I MADE YOU A PLAYLIST, Vol. 10: "Zest" 🍋
Live a little!
Hello and welcome to the SUMMER 2021 installment of I MADE YOU A PLAYLIST. The vibes are great (if I do say so myself), the SPF is >50 (safety first), and the temps, of course, are nice and high.
I feel, as I’m sure most of us do, like we totally missed out on a true summer last year. So, now is the time. Now! Is! The! Time! These next two months deserve our very best sun-soaked attitudes and all the warm-weather enthusiasm. And thankfully, there are endless jams out there to help us in our endeavors.
But first things first! To start, I would highly recommend mixing up a batch of ~Schumann Slush,~ aka the easiest summer drink ever. I grew up sipping on the virgin version of this citrus concoction practically every weekend, and it’s basically a family heirloom recipe so I expect you to treat it with the reverence it deserves. (Yes, I’m fully aware that a “Schumann Slush” is actually just a “Frozen Whiskey Sour,” but you know what they say… blood is thicker than water and bourbon, so we will only be referring to it as the former, thank you very much.)
Here’s the recipe if you want to join the party:
Now that drinks are taken care of, you should watch this ROSALÍA performance from Austin City Limits. (Or any ROSALÍA video, really.) She consistently exudes Hot Girl Summer™️ energy—so effortless, almost unbearably cool, but also inherently hot and knows exactly what she’s doing. Her 2018 album El Mal Querer has become one of my summer staples, and I’m dying to see her live someday. (Re: the “Malamente” video, watch at least until the choreo breakdown at the 2:00 mark. It’s the best.)
Okay, you’re fully prepped to enter maximum summer mode, so grab a slush, a marg, a Topo with lime, whatever you want… and let’s GO.
This song is so weird and I simply couldn’t love it more. It’s quirky and unexpected but undeniably catchy, and she casually throws around super strange lyrics as if they’re completely normal everyday phrases. (Try “Jiminy cricket lickety-split” or “Fratica-patica-automatica / I won’t slow down, I don't slow down.”) Plus, the production on her whole Digital Meadow EP is just mind-bogglingly cool. 🤯 Don’t miss “Wizard” and “Opening,” two of my other faves.
Also on repeat right now: “Hurting Kind” by Del Water Gap, “Last Train Home” by John Mayer, “Imagine” by Doja Cat, CINEMA by The Marías, and, of course, Home Video, the absolutely devastating new record from Lucy Dacus.
What It's Like to Pool-Hop Across New York's Most Luxurious Rooftops by Dwight Garner (Esquire)
I’ve returned to this joyful ode to pools and afternoon swims at least once a summer since it was published four years ago. Sure, the swanky hotel rooftops Dwight Garner visited for this story are polar opposites of the sometimes-chaotic and loud Birmingham YMCA pools I frequent these days, but he makes it clear that a good swim has very little to do with the venue and everything to do with your attitude. This line, which follows his recollection of a particularly unfortunate childhood pool encounter, has stayed with me: “Misadventures in black goo aside, even then I knew the following to be true: Any day I can swim is a good day.”
Song Exploder with Hrishikesh Hirway is (unsurprisingly) one of my favorite podcasts. (If you’re unfamiliar: He breaks down the writing, production, and inspiration behind hit songs with the artists themselves. The eps are only 20-30 minutes and I always learn something!) In this particular episode, Glass Animals lead singer Dave Bayley opens up about the surprisingly emotional origins of “Heat Waves,” a summer-friendly song that sounds pretty carefree on the surface. Spoiler: It’s about more than you think, so I’m claiming it as another piece of evidence to support the whole “Pop Music is Meaningful” movement. (P.S. I know this is a “listen” not a “read,” but I felt like it fit best in this section so get over it.)
I love cool fonts more than the average person, but goodness gracious Violaine & Jérémy’s original typefaces are NEXT. LEVEL. I’m obsessed! I promise their feed is well worth a follow.
Zest: (n.) a piece of the peel of a citrus fruit used as flavoring; an enjoyably exciting quality; keen enjoyment, relish, gusto. Synonyms include spice, tang, and zing.
It’s time to LIVE A LITTLE. Get spicy! Embrace the heat! These songs are all-purpose summer celebration songs. I made this with poolside hangs and fun patio parties in mind, but it also totally works for spontaneous Tuesday night margs, afternoon porch work sessions, sandy beach gatherings… I truly think this playlist can meet you wherever the summer takes you. Some songs are cool and smooth, others are hot and spicy, some are dreamy and some more danceable… but I can guarantee they’ve all got a little extra flavor—some zest, if you will. 😉
*blink 3x when you feel it kickin’ in*
Did I Hear You Say You Love Me - Stevie Wonder
Witchoo - Durand Jones & The Indications, Aaron Frazer
Summertime Magic - Childish Gambino
You Sexy Thing - Hot Chocolate (i wanted to put the Zella Day version on here but i’m afraid i’ve already yelled about it so much this year i wanted to give y’all a break. but it’s really good.)
Señorita - Justin Timberlake
On the Lookout - NEIL FRANCES feat. Raffaella
Losing You - Solange
Bloom - R.I.Pablo
Peaches - Justin Bieber feat. Daniel Caesar & Giveon (i am once again asking you to watch the NPR Tiny Desk performance of this song)
Summer Feelings - Lennon Stella feat. Charlie Puth
Breezy - Tate Tucker
Away With The Summer Days - Youngstown (c/o the 20-year-old Princess Diaries CD that lives permanently in my car’s center console)
Hot Sugar - Glass Animals
Same Girl - Tess Henley
Simmer - Mahalia feat. Burna Boy
Hold On, We’re Going Home - Drake, Majid Jordan
Note To Self (Rostam Remix) - Jim-E Stack feat. Empress Of (i’m also hopelessly obsessed with “4runner” by Rostam)
Another Try - HAIM
Think About It - Satin Jackets
I’m Coming Out - Diana Ross
Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) - Lucky Daye
Time Won’t Lie - Lonesome Rhodes (backyard disco party? gonna be a yes from me)
New Light - John Mayer
Put Your Records On - Ritt Momney
3 Nights - Dominic Fike
MALAMENTE - ROSALÍA
Automatic - Tensnake feat. Fiora
Bonafide - Emotional Oranges feat. Chiiild
soda stain - The Golf Club
Solar Power - Lorde
Waves of Blue - Majid Jordan
Tú - maye
You - Regard feat. Troye Sivan & Tate McRae
Slide Tackle - Japanese Breakfast
Top Of The World - Shonen Knife (name this movie!!!)
Polly - Dora Jar
Un Millón - The Marías
Shook - Cautious Clay
If I Got It (Your Love Bought It) - Aaron Frazer
Los Angeles - HAIM
Free (Single Version) - Parcels (breezy happy summer perFECTION)
Brighter Days - Sigala feat. Paul Janeway
Sunflower, Vol. 6 - Harry Styles
Cuckoo - Beachfriends
Orange - Joni
waves - Miguel feat. Kacey Musgraves
Give Me Up - Emotional Oranges feat. Kiana Ledé
Electricity - Silk City feat. Dua Lipa (this remains #1 on my list of best summer music videos)
Sauce (Beck Remix) - Remi Wolf, Beck
Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You - Ms. Lauryn Hill
Or HERE if you use Apple Music.
Thanks for being here, and I hope you have something very sunny and fun planned for the very near future! I’m headed to the beach, so I’ll leave you with the best out-of-office message ever written in the entire history of the corporate world: “Can you reach me? No, you can’t!”
✌🏼 H.A.G.S. / K.I.T.