Local Spins contributor Hunter Gamble creates an “optimistic and poignant” pop soundtrack to help soak up the season of the sun.
EDITOR’S NOTE: As part of the celebration of Local Spins’ fourth anniversary this year, we’ve asked some of our writers and contributors to create Top 10 playlists of favorite tunes for summer — right as the music festival season really heats up. The only caveat: At least one of the picks had to be a local or regional artist.
For his list, Local Spins writer and photographer Hunter Gamble focuses on indie-pop, a genre he maintains “can be both optimistic and poignant at the same time. Summer in West Michigan is about hanging out with friends, road trips to Petoskey, Traverse City or Grand Haven, and camping along Lake Michigan (if the rain holds up long enough). This playlist represents the ups and downs that come with the summer season in West Michigan.”
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1. “Admission to Your Party,” Smallpools – Smallpools are an exciting band to listen to and this song is the perfect embodiment of what we want a summer party to be. The extremely upbeat melody and vocals are perfect for a warm summer day with friends.
2. “Molecules,” Atlas Genius – With its repetition of the lines “There’s innocence in the moment” and “Maybe now’s the time to be alive,” along with its optimistic resonance, “Molecules” gives off a definite road trip vibe. This is another song best listened to with a group of friends on the perfect summer day.
3. “Electric Love,” BØRNS – Michigan native BØRNS, a Grand Haven High School graduate, takes pop music back to the ’80’s with a contemporary twist with his hit single “Electric Love.” If you’re trying to decide where to take your significant other on a Saturday night, take him/her out for karaoke and woo them with your rendition of “Electric Love.” (By the way, BØRNS plays his only Michigan show on July 23 in Detroit as part of the Mo Pop Festival.)
4. “Paris,” Magic Man – When your fun-filled night of karaoke doesn’t end so well, “Paris” is the perfect pick-me-up. Its positive tones along with “moving on”-styled lyrics are just what you’ll need to get back on your feet and finish off the summer with a bang.
5. “Shooting Stars,” Bag Raiders – If you’re ready to get weird, “Shooting Stars” will help you get there. It’s peculiarly charming melody dominates most of the song, while the final minute comes in strong with a perfectly fluent collision of sub-genres, giving every pop lover something to enjoy.
6. “Punching in a Dream,” The Naked and Famous – This beautifully vibrant track is excellent for group sing-alongs. Its cheery atmosphere and simple lyrics will have even the most stubborn person on his or her feet dancing.
7. “Naked Kids,” Grouplove – The lyrics speak for themselves in this delightfully amusing song by Grouplove. Lines such as “crossing sandy dunes – hot day, mid-June – naked kids running wild and free” scattered throughout the song make this a mandatory “chilling out with your friends on the beach” tune.
8. “Carried Away,” Passion Pit – “Carried Away” is an excellent and upbeat anthem for those who have a free spirit and aren’t afraid to show it. Chock full of humorous and sarcastic lyrics, both the song and video are sure to make the cynic inside you grin with pleasure.
9. “Summer,” Vinyl Theatre – “Summer” is another great song for letting loose on the perfect summer afternoon. With lines like “everlasting ecstasy replaces sensibility” and “sun it shines like summer’s eyes,” this tune will be a summertime favorite among indie pop-loving groups of friends.
10. “Dancing on Glass,” St. Lucia – Closing out the playlist is “Dancing on Glass” by St. Lucia, yet another ’80’s-inspired party anthem whose lyrics seem to focus on a feeling of letting loose and having a good time, while also giving the straightforward warning “how long ‘till we learn dancing is dangerous.” This track does a good job summing up the entire playlist with these conflicting principles, making it an excellent song for going out and partying or chilling at home with a few friends.
HUNTER GAMBLE: The Local Spins Playlist on Spotify
Copyright 2016, Spins on Music LLC