Summer has officially arrived! The summer solstice was June 21, the longest day of the year, the calendar beginning of summer. With summer comes summer music - I wrote about some of my favorites for MSNBC.com:
- Summer's here and the time is right - for music
From 'Margaritaville' to 'Kokomo', a list of cool songs for season
Summer's here and the time is right for taking a big fat break, and boy do we deserve it. When the weather finally warms and the pace finally slows, nothing goes better with heat, water, a cold glass, exposed skin, and some time to call your own than summer music, a special category of very personal tunes each of us holds near to our heart for the season when the sun is the only clock we really need and nothing is more important than pleasure.
These are some of my favorites:
"Margaritaville," Jimmy Buffett (1977)
"Margaritaville" represents Buffett at his most appealing and insightful. The song's story takes place in Mexico - where summer never ends - often a refuge for Americans seeking escape from responsibility. Where would you rather be? Basking in the perpetual summer of a snow white playa sipping margaritas and chuckling at the tourists, or huddled around a short-circuiting space heater in Buffalo?
The song's Caribbean/mariachi/country melody is cheerful yet reflective, its lilt tempered with an aftertaste of regret. Its power lies in Buffett's acknowledgment that the life of dissipation must be the shadow against which real life shines, not the screen that real life is shown upon. Clearly, the character's lifestyle here doesn't coincide with his values. Rather than living a life of ease, he is living a life of intense internal conflict - a life he can only perpetuate with liberal applications of alcohol. Buffett doesn't even want to face up to the fact that he is drinking alcohol, which he disguises with mixes and elaborate rituals - rituals that are wearing thin....
...."Surfin' Safari" (1962), "Kokomo," (1988) The Beach Boys
The New World was sold as an earthly paradise from the outset, a land of vast natural resources and uncountable acres of bountiful land free for the homesteading. Prior to that, America was the presumed home of Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth (instead of Eternal Youth, Ponce de Leon found Florida, future home of the Eternal Old, but that's another story).