I remember when “How Bizarre” came out. My sister and I stayed up late to call into our radio station to request it and stayed up to wait. I didn’t make it to 9. It was 1997 and I was six. The song was released February 1997 – almost two years after its release in New Zealand. Somewhere in the depths of my parents house is a video of the two of us in snow caps and swimsuits lip-syncing the tune in our hot tub surrounded by four feet of snow.
Yet, whenever I hear OMC’s song it has a distinct summer feel. A friend once described it as, “As soon as I hear it – I have to roll the windows down on my Saturn and sing the shit out of it.”
There has been a ‘heat wave’ in London. I consider anything above 75 F (23 C) to be way too uncomfortable to function in this city. Plus I have missed the bus every single day this week and have had to walk to our tube station. Never fun when the heat is breaking the upper-80s.
Considering these warm days (at least to a woman more used to freezing weather and jumpers) I have completely devoted myself to summer music. OMC’s song may not have been the summer tune I remember, but if there was one ‘hit of the summer’ that I really was in love with, it was Len’s “Steal My Sunshine.” It was the first song I was utterly obsessed with that was from my era meaning not the jazz my mom played or the 80s songs we listened to after church. The summer of 1999 was my first summer of fully understanding music and the meaning behind “song of the summer.”
First of all, her hair at 1:44 was my love. I lusted after her hair and the choker necklace. Sharon was my 90’s queen with the most airy and sweet of voices. Plus you could dance to it and it was catchy as hell – essentially all that was required to become a hit in the 90s. That song was the first time I felt heartbreak and love in a song even though I’m still not entirely sure what they are going on about.
To be a song of the summer has drastically changed as you can best see in the Rolling Stone’s Best Summer Songs of All Time and their top 10 songs from each decade. A world where “Indian Reservation” could be immensely popular seems galaxies away, but that says so much of the times. These summer days are filled with some of the biggest pain and social pain so instead of writing protests, we embrace the pop. Maybe that’s bad, or perhaps that’s just how we cope.
So what does summer sound like to you? Sufer music or lazy guitar?