It’s summertime, and there’s nothing better than the right soundtrack for a beautiful day. Here are some of our favorite tunes that, despite their titles, aren’t actually about summer.
“Ice Cream Man” — Tom Waits
This song first appeared on Waits’ 1973 debut, Closing Time, featuring an upbeat swing feel to accompany Waits’ salacious lyrics. An alternate version of the song appears on The Early Years, Volume One, which has a more down-tempo vibe to go with Waits’ sleazy croon.
“Barbecutie” — Sparks
Sparks is probably the most prolific band you’ve never heard. 1974’s Kimono My House was not a commercial success in the States, but the single that this track appears on as a B-side, “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us,” reached No. 2 in the UK. Besides, who can resist a good food pun?
“Feel Good Hit of the Summer” — Queens of the Stone Age
It might take a few listens to crack the ambiguous lyrics, but it’s worth the effort. Building from a throbbing bass line and thunderous drums, the fuzzed-out guitars carry the anthemic, gang-style vocals to fuel your summer binge. Be careful; this one’s highly addictive.
“4th of July” — Soundgarden
This deep cut off of the hugely successful 1994 album Superunknown finds the band stirring up some of the sludgiest riffs Seattle had to offer. Lyrically, the song alludes to apocalyptic levels of paranoia, proving that Soundgarden is just as psychedelic as they are grungy.
“Surf’s Up” — The Beach Boys
In 1966, Brian Wilson began working on Smile, but it wasn’t officially released until 2011. “Surf’s Up” is arguably the album’s most beautiful and ambitious song. Smile lyricist Van Dyke Parks provided the post-modern narrative, reflecting Brian’s own search for enlightenment. The title, rather than evoking a summer feeling, is a nod to the Beach Boys’ evolution beyond surf rock.