Major thanks to contributing writer of today’s post, Jessi Ellerbe. Check out her blog, The Dreamer of Improbable Dreams.
Whether you’re laying out on the beach, headed on a road trip or just spending a lazy day at home, there’s always a song for every occasion. And if you’re anything like me, having the perfect summer playlist is an absolute must. No matter if these songs are new on your iPod or are ones that have been played since your childhood, each song is as important to the playlist as the next. Now, of course, these are only suggestions and starters. But I promise that if you use maybe just a handful of these, your summer soundtrack will lead you down a fun-loving, danceable season.
“Raging Fire” by Phillip Phillips This new tune from one of the most unique winners of American Idol is quite the toe tapper. His voice is a little muddy, but that’s what makes it so charming. It’s a positive, uplifting song with a great beat; the perfect start to a great playlist.
“Happy” by Pharrell Williams Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard this fellow’s most popular tune. Sure, it’s repetitive and overplayed. But you know what? It’s a feel good song, and your kids will love to dance to it (and you might too).
“Magic” by Coldplay Everyone’s been waiting anxiously for new music from powerhouse Brit group Coldplay. Though this song isn’t peppy and danceable, there’s nothing wrong with slowing things down and listening to Chris Martin’s delicious vocals for just a few minutes.
“Lift Your Spirit” by Aloe Blacc I found this soulful tune through the free downloads on iTunes. With a sweet sound, clean vocals, and a laid back beat, this song is perfect for dancing in the sun-filled living room.
“Sing” by Ed Sheeran Okay listen up, Mom and Dad. Though I am a massive fan of this dude, this song might not be the greatest for the little ears. It is, however, one of the best playing on the radio right now (IMO). If you’re okay with letting the kiddos hear it, I say more power to you. Just beware of the underlying sexual references. Some may catch it, some may not. Either way, it’s a great song for dancing and bobbing along. Ed Sheeran can do no wrong in my eyes.
“Hey Momma/Hit the Road Jack” by Pentatonix If you don’t know Pentatonix, let me introduce you to your new obsession. They are basically the greatest a cappella group ever. This is a mash up of two very fun, upbeat songs (one specifically made famous by the great Ray Charles). It’s totally something everyone can enjoy. And don’t worry, they keep things clean. They’re all about family in their fandom!
“Let It Go [Armin van Buuren Remix]” from the album DConstructed If you’re tired of hearing Idina Menzel’s fabulous vocals from Disney’s Frozen (in which case you’re crazy) but your kids just can’t get enough, try throwing this tune on and see what they think. Disney recently released an album with popular songs from some of their best movies remixed with a new electric/techno/dubstep flare. So don’t fret, there ARE other versions of your kids favorite songs. Though I’m still partial to the original.
“Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Drake Bell This Queen hit has been remade by Drake & Josh star Drake Bell. Is it as fantastic as the original? That’s for you to decide. But it’s something fresh, and he certainly doesn’t let Freddy down.
“Crocodile Rock” by Elton John This is an oldie but a goody for sure, but it’s my personal favorite song by the legend Elton John, and I feel like its sound is truly timeless. The whole fam will love to sing along to this tune.
“Destination” by Nickel Creek I don’t own much music by this band, but let me tell you, this song is super catchy. If you love clean, seamless harmonies tied in with an acoustic sound, this is the summer song for you. It has a pretty chill vibe, but I feel like this could potentially be the perfect road trip song. I’ll let you be the judge.
“Higher” by the Ready Set I find this guy’s voice completely addicting, and most of his popular tunes are serious ear worms. This song is nothing meaningful; it’s pretty typical pop/electric. But when it’s a fun song, it’s a fun song. Am I right?
“The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News Here’s another oldie but goody for you. If you love 80s music, here is your chance to crank up the stereo system and torture the rest of your family while you belt it out with Huey. Yeah, I’m that type of person too. I’d rather listen to 70s and 80s music than anything else. So you know what? Pump up that volume and own this song.
“Me and My Broken Heart” by Rixton Spotify recommended this song to me, and when I listened to it, it reminded me slightly of something you’d hear from the popular band Maroon 5. It’s nothing fancy, but it has a good beat and the dude’s vocals are pretty delish. It’s definitely worth a listen.
“Golden Ticket/I Want it Now” by Harry Connick, Jr I’ve been stuck on Harry Connick recently, and this is one of my favorite covers he’s ever done. Am I huge fan of the film? Not really (I personally prefer Tim Burton’s version simply because it mirrors Roald Dahl’s novel a little better than the early film). This is simply just a super fun song. Not to mention that Harry’s voice is one of the smoothest, clearest in the industry. Between him, the whimsicalness of the lyrics and the big band sound behind him, this song just makes a great tune for the ear.
“Wake Me Up” by Home Free This song is probably Avicii’s most popular hit, and even though it’s wonderful, this a cappella cover is pretty dang good too. Home Free is the most recent winners of the reality talent show The Sing Off (Pentatonix was the winner before them. And we all know how great they are). Home Free claims a southern rock/country sound, and they don’t disappoint in this cover. With that being said, it stays true to the melody of the song. The lead vocalist (named Austin) has one of the most beautiful voices I have heard in a long time.
“Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen Listen, this song right here is just one of the most outrageously fun songs I have in my music collection (be cautious of the lyrics parents!). If you don’t feel like dancing while listening to this then I honestly don’t think you have a heart. Okay, you probably do. But I mean come on! Queen?! Freddy Mercury!? Who wouldn’t love it?! Ps- Please go watch Paul Rudd lip sync this on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. It is hilarious.
“Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede This song is weird. Like…SUPER weird. But I put it on here because, if you’re a fan of the Marvel Studios universe, you’ll probably recognize it. You got it; this song can be found in the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer. I don’t know anything about this band or how they came to the conclusion to use it in a Marvel trailer, but they did. And since GOTG comes out this summer, I feel like it’s completely appropriate to tack onto the list.
“Chainsaw” by Family Force 5 This band right here has a special place in my heart. And I think, after they hear this song, they will have a special place in your children’s hearts as well. At first this song wasn’t my favorite, but the more I listened to it, the better it became. Family Force 5 will never cease to surprise you, so if you’ve never listened to them, I’d suggest listening to their discography and just letting your ears soak in the craziness that they are. This tune is completely ridiculous, yet totally danceable and catchy.
“Days Are Gone” by HAIM If you’re into that vintage 80s pop sound, this song (and band) is for you. I’m completely obsessed with HAIM’s whole album Days Are Gone, and the title track listed here doesn’t disappoint. These three sisters make some seriously unique music, and they are the queens of it. I can’t fully describe HAIM in a short paragraph, so take my word for it and add this song to that playlist…and then go listen to their whole album.
“In The Air Tonight” by Kelly Sweet There are some songs that I believe should never be touched by a cover, and this song was one of them; until a few months ago. I heard this version of one of Phil Collin’s best songs on a commercial for a television show (though I don’t remember which one), and it literally stopped me in my tracks. I’m pretty sure I was mid-sentence when I shushed everyone I was talking to in order to hear it. There’s something really eerie—almost scary—about it, but it’s completely fascinating. For once, Phil Collin’s would be proud of this cover.
“Drowning” by MXPX If you’re a fan of punk rock, this is your song. This by no means a new song in the repertoire of this long-lasting punk group, but it’s a song I’ve recently become attached to. They lyrics are great, the vocals clean, and the chorus catchy. Overall it’s just a great song that I’d suggest to anyone.
“Absolutely (Story of a Girl)” by Nine Days Ah, the 90s. Some of the weirdest music came from this decade, but also some of the best. This is one of those songs that have been stamped on the memory of the late 90s to early 00s. You’ll know it the moment it starts, and you’ll find yourself singing along pretty much instantly. It’s an anthem for all young girls out there, and what better way to end the playlist than with a song everyone knows?