If you feel just a little bit more sunshiney and free today, it’s because it’s the first official day of summer. Though the heat has been up for quite a while, summer blockbusters have been on screens since March and baseball is nearly at its halfway point, the true start of the season (at least as far as the calendar is concerned) is today. And though the readers of MTV News have decided that the official song of this summer is Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro,” there are a whole bunch of summer tunes that need to be broken out in honor of the fresh season.
That’s why we’ve crafted the video playlist below. The theme is simple: It is officially the first day of summer, and we’re only talking about songs that have the word “summer” in the title. Amazingly, not all of those songs are completely about trips to the beach, barbecues and general seasonal hedonism. In fact, some of them are downright dark. Danzig’s “Dirty Black Summer” is one such tune, a track that presents the season as one of dread and decay. Death Cab for Cutie’s “Summer Skin” turns the summer months into a period of longing and melancholy, while Patti Smith’s “Summer Cannibals” creates an air of desperation and danger. And of course “Cruel Summer,” one of the most iconic summer songs ever, is about the harshness of the season (especially if you’re a foxy lady).
But of course, there are plenty of fun-in-the-sun tunes, including Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long,” Animal Collective’s “Summertime Clothes” and Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69.” No summertime mix is complete without the definitive summer jam: DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s “Summertime,” the only tune in history to ever truly capture what it feels like to be on the make and care free.