Warmer Times Ahead: Soundtracking your Summer
A playlist and exposition by Majoris Music's Becoming Major mentee: Amy Smith.
Sick of the cold? Praying to see the sun again? So am I! It’s almost Summer and the tingling of sun is starting to hit the back of our necks. Warmer times are ahead…
The seasonal depression is shaking off its wintery coat and beginning to retire and I can feel myself calling out for longer days where you don't need a jacket and have to debate whether to put on sunscreen (even though you are super pale and the minute the sun touches your skin, you’re burnt to a crisp). Maybe that’s just me. Anyway, the warm breeze on your face is enough to remind you that happy memories are ready to be made.
I really believe that as the seasons make their presence known, there’s sometimes nothing better than a suited soundtrack to help the change of the season on its way; the right song can make or break your mood. So I’ve been building this playlist with the perfect Summer day in mind. With that, let me put you in the safe hands of, what I’ve coined, the Sunshine Artists:
‘Sunshine Artists’ is a selection of tracks by some artists that you’re going to need to get to know if you don’t already. They are a perfect burst of energetic beats, floaty vocals and groovy baselines - mere essentials to any Summer playlists.
With Sunshine Artists, I want to take you on a journey, from when you open your eyes first thing in the morning to your final moments before sleep takes you again. From Sunrise to Sunset, this playlist is here to guide you through your day, with every song placed precisely to accompany your everyday adventures.
So allow me to start at the beginning, fall into the fantasy and paint a sonic Summer picture:
The sun’s rays are shining through your bedroom, the birds are chirping and the smell of the sweet fresh air tickling its way to your nose. You’re going to want to break in the day gently here, with the effervescent Declan Mckenna.
Quickly and evidently becoming a sunshine classic, ‘Brazil’ was an easy and instant choice for this playlist.
In seconds, the uplifting and cheerful tones of his guitar plunge through the airwaves and you can’t help but smile. A serious start to a Summer day in 5 minutes.
Perhaps more recently rising to everyone’s attention from TikTok with this track, Declan is completely worth all the hype he gets. Used in over 26k videos, not only were people listening to this incredible tune, they were choosing it for their makeup tutorials, their “Day-In-The-Life’s”, their “Get Ready With Me’s” - you can see why I love the track to so much, it perfectly punctuates a fresh and meaningful start to a day.
Intelligently penning tune after tune down, he’s as relatable as he is brilliant. The story telling, elevated perfectly with eccentric melodies is supported by a powerful voice giving us an artist that should and cannot be missed.
So you’re up and ready to go now. It’s time to get yourself out the door, plug in your headphones and bask in the warmer air engulfing you. The birds, now fuller and more colourful in their chirping, are visible up in the green of the swaying trees. A cyclist rolls gently by you - he can take his time now he’s not battling the cold and the rain. You look to the ground and watch your shadow, highlighted by the glares of the Summer sun - it makes you smile, you haven’t seen her in a while.
You need the wonderful Jack Howard to accompany your walk. ‘Sunlight’ is the perfect choice at this moment, his vivacious and irrepressible energy evident through the opening guitar strums of the song. Beat kicking in immediately - giving you something to match your walk to. You’re gliding now as you stroll onto the sunny street.
With emotion-packed vocals, a punchy sax and groove-hopping vibes, it’s a captivation that carries you along in every song Jack Howard releases. You’re in not only safe hands but enlightened ones here.
Like stepping off the plane, with the heat hitting you square in the face, the insanely brilliant 2019 release is something of pure golden illumination, fit exactly for an equally as beautiful track. A breath of fresh air and a contagious happiness you can’t, and more fittingly wouldn’t want to, escape.
By now, maybe you're in a coffee shop, sipping something iced and refreshing. You might be taking your breakfast & coffee to the park, anticipation building as you try to find the perfect spot to set up for the day. Friends on the way? Good, you’ll need the perfect mood setter to complement your conversations.
Enter - BermudaCal with the wonderful track, ‘Kehlani’.
Versatility, variety and flavour: BermudaCal is a delightful concoction for your tastes.
Coated with the sweet lip-puckering melodies of the trumpet and the smooth sexiness of his sax, BermudaCal’s 2021 hit is undoubtedly joyful.
A master at stamping out his sound, expect his sax to transcend genres. Bermudacal is the type of artist where you can hit play one of his singles to suit your mood, or hit shuffle on the rest of his sound and let his music take you away. Every trick and move with every meander of his musical flow delights you.
This is a song I will always refer to when needing a pick-me-up. I cannot escape the groove and funk in this track and nor do I want to. It’s such an easy listen; such a blessing to the ears.
Good news - It’s tinny time! The sun is at its highest and hopefully by now, you and your friends are ready to crack open the cans and do what us Brits do best: Drink.
You want something smooth talking for this one, something edgier and cooler, so let the dulcet tones of Alfie Neale on his track, ‘She Doesn’t Love Me’, quench your thirst.
How can you make heartbreak sound so smooth? With beautiful vocals, delicate production, acoustic guitar and a groovy beat, just as this song shows.
The voice, and the vocal runs, delight to perfection. The rhythm and groove excite the soul. The message and meaning are exquisitely expressive. ‘She Doesn’t Love Me’ is a bittersweet addition in this list of legends, but the track is too funky and evidently cool so the tune had to be included.
And when do we ever just have one drink? Never, right?! Well the same logic goes with Alfie Neale, so whilst you’re here, an honourable mention to ‘My Girl Likes’. It’s everything smooth and silky you could ever imagine for the longer days and nights approaching.
By now, you should be well settled into your day. The sun may have cooled slightly, you glance around your friends and bask in the feelings of love and community emulating from your favourite people. With these songs so far playing softly, you feel so happy and present in these minutes - every component of the song speaks for your good mood and no more words are necessary.
Like the setting sun and the rising moon, one track comes to its end as another begins. The day is winding down and there’s a chill in the air but you don’t mind. You’re warmed by the beautiful melodies of Mathilda Homer.
The next addition to the playlist is her song, Garden of Eden. Representative of the love between two people in a place where they can fully express and live out all of their feelings, ‘Garden of Eden’ can be equated to the story of Adam and Eve - with a jazz interpretation perhaps. The guitar, the soft brushes, and the harmonies create a musical purity that takes you where you want to go. The delicacy of Mathilda’s vocals complements the subtle but present lyrical atmosphere that lifts with a soft-touch delight. As one of the last songs to accompany the sun, it offers a warm close to an already warm day in the heart and on the skin.
With your bags in hand and your legs beginning to gain feeling as you stretch them out, there’s a peaceful air about things. You can’t wait to think back to this in the future. However, your day isn't over, but the setting has to change. Pub drinks that will inevitably lead to a bigger night out await you.
An outfit change is in order, and as you put on your best and shiniest garments, ‘Finishing Touch’ is the best choice to put you in a ‘going out’ mood. A smoother and slightly darker tone is provided in this track, you can begin to envision the possibilities pending for you night and the bubbling excitement flutters through your body.
With a beat you can’t get away from and a top line to perfectly match: Ash Walker and Laville have followed the recipe to a tee, and the product is mouth-watering.
This psychedelic sound has hints of all your favourite genres whilst not fitting squarely into one. Pleasingly different, this track takes you on an unforgettable ride.
The vocals on this track and the treatment of them are a work of art. Isolated alone, they are enough to earn a spot on this playlist but with the super-cool beat acting as the perfect accompaniment, Finishing Touch is well worth the listen to - repeatedly.
With your own final touches set in place, you feel ready to embrace the fresh and crisp night. Surrounded by good vibes, encased in the moment, you’ve stepped out the door and suddenly find yourself in your favourite pub. Loud laughs and lively conversation fills your ears for now as the drinks flow in and good energy flows out.
Tired feet and sleepier eyes encircle you now. You’ve been out, you’ve partied your socks off and you’re at the afters. Cuddled up on a sofa with your most treasured gathering of people - it’s a chill one and you need to get into your feelings.
Both slick and effortlessly cool, 'Building Castles' is the only choice to orchestrate those hangouts.
This track is special for its luxuriously complex building of an atmosphere.
With Building Castles you can immerse yourself in Bawo’s elaborate imagery and motive storytelling, perfectly paired with eloquent and smoothly snappy production.
The versatility of this track makes this a favourite for any chill mood and extracts an apparent appreciation for its craft. Bawo takes chill-rap to royal heights here, building castles of his own in his musical space.
Coming back to reality, hopefully you feel swept through a full and complete musical journey into an ideal Summer day. When listened to all together, you hear a little bit of everything you need. Taking you through highs and lows and sprinkling in a mood shift every so often, this playlist is here to help you feel what you need, when you need to feel it, wherever that Summer day takes you.
The link’s at the bottom of this article - what are you waiting for?! And just because I couldn’t leave it there, I’ve gone ahead and added a whole other host of absolute bangers for your audible enjoyment.
So why don’t you give this playlist a follow and listen to it for yourself. Let me and Majoris know your thoughts and comment your favourite tracks you think we need to be adding as we move into those wonderful warmer times.
Amy Smith is a London-based music journalist and artist making her first break into the industry through Majoris Music’s Becoming Major mentoring and development programme. She writes with a personal passion and love for music, and as an artist has a sound so fresh and soulful.
Catch Amy on Instagram and Spotify