What is the only piece of art that makes a one-night stand sound like a romantic awakening and paints alcoholism as a spiritual journey? The summer song. A summertime anthem is the only work in the history of music with the power to replicate itself over and over again with no questions asked.
Haters could call them unoriginal. Lovers would prefer to call them familiar. But all can agree they’re here to stay – especially in South Florida, where summer is year-round. We've sorted through the massive catalog and come up with ten of the best-ever summer songs to get you started on your beachside playlist.
Here are a few tracks – both old and new – from South Florida artists to you.
10. Beach Day, “Beach Day”
What better for a beach day than a song called “Beach Day” by a band called Beach Day?
Hollywood-based band Beach Day boasts a classic ‘50s sound with a touch of modern surf punk. The song was featured on a Victoria’s Secret ad for the brand’s 2013 bikini line. If Victoria’s Secret models could make a video in swimwear to “Beach Day," you, ladies and gentlemen, could too.
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9. Miami Sound Machine, “Hot Summer Nights”
Not the last ‘80s song on this list.
Led by Cuban-born, Miami-raised singer Gloria Estefan, Miami Sound Machine’s ‘80s pop is known for its Latin fusion. “Hot Summer Nights” is a familiar throwback to anyone who’s seen Top Gun). For South Floridians,
8. 2 Live Crew, “Coolin’”
We can’t forget hip-hop.
Here’s what comes to mind when you think early Miami hip-hop scene: Uncle Luke. The
7. Jacuzzi Boys, “Island Ave”
Because even Iggy Pop knows who they are.
Miami rockers Jacuzzi Boys can rest happy because they opened up for Iggy Pop in April. Garnering attention in all corners of the world, these SoFlo boys have a promising future. “Island Ave” is a fan-favorite from their 2009 album No Seasons, a title that accurately represents South Florida’s climate. Their garage-punk sound calls for a top-down drive through Island Avenue on a breezy summer day – or any day since, again, we have no seasons.
6. Iggy Pop, “Here Comes the Summer”
Because it’s Iggy Pop.
“Here comes the summer/Mighty, mighty summer.” That’s actually a lyric. Although it tends to sound like the background of an action-packed junk food commercial for kids, the song features a catchy guitar hook. Iggy Pop can do whatever he wants, so the fact that this song exists is completely OK. In fact, it’s genius. Why? Because it’s Iggy Pop. If Pitbull can commit lyrical homicide on every song known to man, then the adopted Mr. 305 of the rock world can, too. But please, Mr. Pop, don’t give Pitbull the rights to this.
5. Surfer Blood, “Island”
Does it have to actually say “summer” in it?
Virtually every Surfer Blood song has the intoxicating vocal hook that a “summer song” requires, except for one thing: It hasn’t been done to death. Listen to “Island” to discover it’s no song about paradise, but the indie surf-rock sound is the ideal beachside addition. Really, though, it’s the idea of listening to a band called Surfer Blood while soaking up the sun; it just seems fitting.
4. Jimmy Buffett, “Margaritaville” (or literally any other song by the beach-country icon)
Is there anything more obvious?
Is it really a beach day if you haven’t heard “Margaritaville” at least once? The country superstar, who launched his career in Key West, now owns a mansion in Palm Beach. His beach bum island persona is a brand of its own, and its face is South Florida. If you’re a real Buffett buff, you probably know he wasn’t actually born in South Florida. Don’t worry, Mississippi, we’ll happily adopt him.
3. Pitbull, “Sexy Beaches”
To answer our own question, yes, Pitbull is possibly the most obvious choice.
When a squad of middle-aged Gainesville men requested Pitbull during a University of Florida tailgate, I understood why Mr. 305 changed his name to Mr. Worldwide – people who aren’t from South Florida actually listen to him. Pitbull recently performed his latest single, “Messin’ Around,” at the CMT Music Awards on June 8. Need I say more? Regardless, it’s nice to have a South Florida artist dominating the charts, even if his hits are just remakes of other songs. (No, really, we’re proud of you, Armando.) “Sexy Beaches” starts out sounding almost like a Calvin Harris song – until Pitbull starts rapping. “I want to see sexy beaches/Hotels.” Sit on that line for a bit. If you’re easily offended by derogatory remarks toward women, you might want to hit skip on this one.
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2. Deborah Harry, “Summertime Blues”
Before Lana, the original “Summertime Sadness.”
You probably didn’t know Blondie lead singer Deborah Harry was born in Miami before a New Jersey couple adopted her at 3 months old. You also probably would’ve guessed our summer pick for Blondie would be “In the Sun,” but Harry’s cover of rockabilly artist Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues” is a less obvious choice. We would’ve chosen the “The Tide is High” if your mom didn’t play it out so much when you were a kid.
1. KC & The Sunshine Band, “Come to My Island”
It’s never a bad time for disco.
Believe it or not, the disco-funk group is actually from Hialeah. And if a little ‘70s disco is appropriate during any time of year, it’s even better over the summer. Harry Wayne Casey’s vocals over the slightly jazzy beat on “Come to My Island” make sipping a Mai Tai on the beach sound so much more tempting.