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20 Timeless Jams That Should Be On Your Summer Playlist

Oh those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.

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1. "Put Your Records On" by Corinne Bailey Rae

If the summer breeze could produce chord progressions when whistling through lush tree leaves, and fireflies could spell out words with their glow, "Put Your Records On" would be the harmonious result. Corinne Bailey Rae writes the sage words that a generation of people constantly comparing themselves to one another need to hear: "You're gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow". Her soothing voice reminds us to soak in the simplicity of life's small pleasures, and to not hold your true self back from shining underneath Summer's generous rays.

2. "I Love It" by Icona Pop

We all remember the summer of 2012—it was the summer of Haylor and the London Olympics, but most importantly it was the summer of Icona Pop, the summer of I Love It. There was no escape and, frankly, who would want one? The techno-pop duo hit the scene hard with the ultimate summer jam—the perfect (and literal) care free feeling, the perfect catchy hook, the perfect beat to fist pump to as you cruise around with your windows down, the list goes on and on. If we were still in the days of mixed CDs, this would be on every single one, which I suppose translates to it being on every Spotify playlist. Anyone who tells you this song is anything besides pure genius is boring and needs to be told one thing: I don't care! I love it!

3. "Cruel Summer" by Bananarama

The epitome of summer, this tune describes summer's exuberance and spunk. It is a classic 80's jam that everyone needs in their life to fully understand the absolute blessing that is summer. The pavement so hot that it burns your bare feet and the pure joy of dipping into silky, refreshing water after a sweltering, long day. It is the sadness that most people (meaning pretty much anyone but me) feel about bidding their friends adieu for a much needed break from the torture that is the school year. Summer=perfection, therefore, this smash hit=perfection.

4. "Don't Save Me" by HAIM

Who can deny the fact that they want to be the fourth HAIM sister? I, myself, daydream about it on the daily, mostly while enjoying a nice cup o' joe (preferably iced). They are everything that a person could ever want to be. I mean look at them, their lyrics and personalities: PURE GOLD. Don't Save Me never disappoints. It is the perfect song to reminisce about the good ol' glory days to. The hours spent without a care in the world and lazy days spent living the life of Riley by the ocean, lake, or pool, so basically any body of water imaginable with your BFFs cutting a rug to the best girl group known to woman.

5. "These Words" by Natasha Bedingfield

Have you ever been rolling your cart through a grocery store as you grab some organic, fair-trade bananas off the shelf, or been secluded in a stuffy car as you drive down the monotonous highway roads, adjusting your car radio, when suddenly, for the duration of 3 minutes and 36 seconds, your whole world changes? In a flash, you are transported into a free spirited chick- flick protagonist, one who is caught up in a swirl of summer romance, enlightening beach days, and life contemplations, as "These Words" plays in the background of your color enhanced days.

Natasha Bedingfield has pumped out multiple hits worthy of being blasted through car speakers, but this particular one encompasses the let-loose feeling you get when you turn your calendar page to June, and decide that attempting to appear structured, deep, and profound, is not half as valuable as speaking directly from the heart, no matter how bluntly or messily it comes out.

6. "Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina & The Waves

This song is simultaneously the essence of summer and the essence of the 80's so, basically, it's the essence of everything good and pure and wholesome in the world. This tune could make a pessimist an optimist, this tune could turn any frown upside down, this tune sounds how lemonade tastes on a hot summer day. I could wax romantic about this total bop of a song for days and I'm not the only one who feels that way: this single, off of Katrina and the Waves' debut album, has been covered by all time greats such as Dolly Parton and Ally & AJ who, like me and any self respecting lover of summer (read: self respecting person), recognize the absolute genius of this classic feel good anthem. Just thinking about this song makes me feel good… OW!

7. "Youth" by Troye Sivan

Troye Sivan's voice is soothing like the sound of the theme song to your favorite TV Show, like every dec show has and if it doesn't have one, let's be honest here folks, it is not a good show. This jam is perfect to "let loose" in the sunshine. Summer is about breaking free and not the Kelly Clarkson version. It is about "speeding through red lights into paradise", it is about getting in the car to merely drive, no destination needed. It is about youth, no matter how old you actually are. This song may not be as old as time, but a song does not have to be old to be timeless. As soon as the beat drops, you will feel the sun on your back and the first day of summer in sight.

8. "Magic" by The Cars

When a song says the word "summer" four times in the first two lines, you know it's deserving of a spot on this list. This song is the fragility you feel in a relationship that's so wildly electric, yet equally unsustainable, similar to the feeling of basking in the glory of each summer day, but knowing in the back of your mind that the feeling can't last. Still, this song pulls you into its synthpop brilliance, and leaves you buzzing with a summery glow long after it ends.

9. "Banana Pancakes" by Jack Johnson

What is summer if it's not living 3 months in the constant weekend mindset? This song emits the same feeling that opening all your house windows to let in the hazy summer air does. It reminds us all that it is not just acceptable, but necessary, to mellow out every once in a while. To savor your slumber for as long as possible, so you can wake up with a clear mind to focus on important things, such as pancakes and the lazy smile of your loved one, all the while dismissing the insignificant things, like the pesky, persistent tone of your phone reminding you that responsibilities are a thing that exists.

This song also presents some hard hitting questions: Is it ambrosia, the sweet nectar of the gods, or a bite of warm, syrup drenched banana pancakes? Is it the tranquil sound of the ocean's waves crashing into a pool of fizzling bubbles, or Jack Johnson's soulful voice singing over acoustic guitar?

Jack Johnson, if you are somehow reading this instead of crafting a new, perfectly worded song while surfing the Hawaii waves, I ask the question that is on all of our minds: What is your banana pancakes recipe?

10. "Mustang Kids" by Zella Day

The mustang kids are out. Summer is out. The sun is out, to blind us all from the pressures of "real lyfe". Summer is all about dreaming big and living life to it's fullest. It is not thinking about the past, but instead, it is living in the current. Summer gives the idea of wishfulness and hope and doesn't let you squander it. This song brings out the indie, boho chic in everyone, just like summer does. Don't take either of those things for granted because they are two of the best things in the world. Don't let the rain, or winter, drown out the shining sun of your big city plans that summer always brings.

11. "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley

No honorable summer playlist is complete without a splash of reggae, and let me just stop you right there if you're about to suggest Magic's "Rude," or OMI's "Cheerleader." I don't need that kind of disrespect in my life. There is just the perfect devil may care vibe to reggae music that instantly transports you to a beach, sparsely covered by the shade of a palm tree, a fruity drink in your hand, waves lapping at the shore, perhaps being fanned with a large leaf by a pleasant looking specimen, nothing but blue skies above and lazy days ahead. Bob Marley is, of course, the king of that exact vibe and nothing makes you feel more care free than this perfectly simplistic tune. No song will reassure you so beautifully that nothing is quite as bad as it seems, that every little thing is gonna be alright.

12. "Far Away" by Ingrid Michaelson

Dehydration and sunburns are both a common byproduct of Summer heat, but possibly even more so, is wistfulness. Ingrid Michaelson depicts what all of us feel while staring up at the blue sky and wondering what else is out there, if maybe there's a place where all of your problems would melt away like a popsicle left out in the sun. A place where you would be surrounded by salt air, dreamy landscapes, and love. Maybe we'll all find our "far away" places, or maybe we'll be dreamers for life. Ether way, we'll have Ingrid Michaelson's words to help us feel less alone in this big world.

13. "The Tide Is High" by Blondie

Nothing screams summer as loud as a drive to the beach, a picnic basket and towels crowding the trunk, bare feet resting on the dashboard, arm hanging out of an open window, wind whipping your hair across your face, and this is exactly the song you should be playing in that moment. It's worth noting that this song's original version by The Paragons, a '60's rock/reggae group, is fantastic in it's own right, but it's my belief that good old Debbie Harry is the one who really imbued the song with the feeling of a warm summer breeze, the image of sun induced freckles sprinkled over the bridge of your best friend's nose, the smell of freshly mown grass, and basically any other classic summer sensation.

14. "Mamma Mia" by ABBA

You know that fire within your soul? It is ABBA bringing back the groovy tunes of 1975. They make you want to whip out those bell-bottoms and disco moves, no need to warn your friends because everyone will catch that fever once they hear "I've been cheated by you since I don't know when", otherwise known as the first line to the catchiest song ever. Anyone who does not bust a move after hearing only the first chord to this song is instantly going in my revenge notebook.

15. "California" by Grimes

If "Far Away" is about wanting to find your perfect place in the world, "California" is about thinking you found that place, then realizing you're still the same lost soul as before. Once again, relatable. Grimes' lyrics are sad in a breezily charming sort of way, a way that makes you realize everything is a whole lot less earth-shattering than you may have originally thought. Summers are the perfect time to find yourself, and this is the perfect song to accompany you in that endeavor--or to play in the background while you eat 5 chocolate bars consecutively and think about life's endless cycles--because, let's face it: that is all part of the journey.

16. "Jack & Diane" by John Mellencamp

Here's a little witty (paragraph) about (the song) Jack and Diane… This song could be by Bruce Springsteen, but in reality it's by John Mellancamp who I think I've always assumed to be Bruce's distant, less popular cousin and somehow this makes the song even better. This tune is a narrative of exactly what I wanted my high school summers to be like, and exactly what they were not at all like. While this sort of dichotomy might typically fill me with some resentment (at a minimum) or rage (at a maximum) this song only fills me with an appreciation for a simpler time, one I was not even alive to experience—for instance, do I know what a "tastee freeze" is? Nope, sure don't, but I can sure imagine suckin' on a a chill dog outside of one. The juxtaposition of the care free scene and the depressing chorus ("oh yeah, life goes on/long after the thrill of livin' is gone") is somehow all wrapped up in this overwhelmingly detail oriented summertime classic that, like The Killer's "Mr. Brightside," everyone happens to know every lyric to.

17. "Beautiful Girls" by Sean Kingston

Sean (or Seen as I prefer to call him) magnificently describes everything a girl wants to be in the summertime (in the summertime). It is the falling madly in love, way to fast, and the gut wrenching heartbreak that always seems to end the perfect summer romance as depicted in every YA novel that you can't seem to put down. Beautiful Girls is the best song to dance like no one watching to, even though let's face it: everyone always is. Grab those Ray Bans and roll down those windows, let your hair fly behind you in the wind, and drop the beat that is Sean Kingston's hit single.

18. "Kiss you" by One Direction (in the better days)

After the release and immediate success of the song and it's corresponding album, this was one of the most anticipated One Direction music videos and, boy, oh boy, did it deliver. Both the song and video may have been released in the winter, but they are full of the carefree, lightheartedness of summer. The video was simple: five fellas and a series of ridiculous green screen stunts (think Kanye's Bound 2, but exactly the opposite), and was exactly what everyone needed to get them through the worst months of the year and subsequently carry us into a better, warmer era. This is the song to listen to with your best pals during a classic sleepover, while dancing around your room in pajamas, junk food and rom-coms in the background, like every teen movie taught you. As a side note… If you're reading this and thinking to yourself "I'm not a teen!" and/or "I'm not a girl!" let me tell you something: nobody cares, and you're missing out if you're letting that stop you from doing exactly what was just described AKA living your life to the fullest.

19. "Ridin' Round" by Kali Uchis

Kali Uchis is somewhat new to the scene, but has come out with countless hits already. Her music is shameless, bratty, and selfish in the best, sweetest, summeriest way. Her songs either make you want to drive through town in a convertible (when you look really good) with your gal pals, tossing daisies at passers by; or they make you want to catch your man in a lie (when you look really good) and subsequently ruin his life. Ridin' Round is one of those songs you sing every word to, and passionately at that, desperately wanting to relate to more than you really do. This song, like the title leads you to believe, is exactly what you need to listen to wile you and your pals are ridin' round.

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