The Highlander’s Summer Song Recommendations


“The Boys of Summer” by The Ataris

Courtesy of Ray Molinari via Flickr under CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

By: Evelyn Homan, SSW

The Don Henley classic is a summer staple, but midwestern punk band The Ataris gave this song a lively punk-pop update that makes this anthem better fit for sunny fun. The Ataris turned “The Boys of Summer ” into a spunky banger built to be a lasting summer anthem. The magic of this song lies in the beach imagery of young people in love while infusing it with a heart-pounding, punky instrumental and a tone that will take you back to the days of young love. Little dated lyric changes, like “a Black Flag sticker on a Cadillac,” are enough to awaken the inner summer rebel in anybody. Even better, it’s a song that anyone can appreciate; your parents who haven’t listened to a modern pop song since the ‘90s will appreciate the familiar lyrics while you and your siblings can rock out without getting in trouble. With aggressive instrumentals and all the angst that only early 2000s rock can provide, this version of “The Boys of Summer” pairs perfectly with a late night at the skate park, or head-banging on the way to the beach.


“By Your Side” by Calvin Harris

Courtesy of Carlos Delgado via Wikimedia Commons under CC-BY-SA

By: Samuel Lao, SSW

It’s appropriate to start this with one line: The king is back! Since 2009, Calvin Harris has released hit after hit, breaking records along the way. It’s been over a year since we have heard anything from Harris, but it’s as if he is ready to remind everyone what has made him so successful over the years with his amazing versatility and killer beat drops. Harris has always excelled at creating drops for songs that immediately begin to make people dance, and this most recent release is nothing short of greatness. “By Your Side” is the perfect song to have on constant repeat throughout this summer as the melody just leaves you with a good feeling. The lyrics of the song remind listeners that no matter how hard it may seem, someone is by your side, and as this summer may potentially be the first normal period of time in over a year, Calvin Harris has provided a light at the end of the tunnel.


“Solar Power” by Lorde

Courtesy of Krists Luhaers via Wikimedia Commons under CC-BY-SA 2.0

By: Madison Rheins, SSW

Returning from a four-year hiatus, Lorde did not disappoint with her new single, “Solar Power.” The upbeat, acoustic melody and cheerful lyrics mark a tonal shift from the artist’s notable melancholy sound to a brighter theme that is perfect for the summer. The intro starts with Lorde accompanied by a lone acoustic guitar as she sings the opening lines, “I hate the winter, can’t stand the cold … But when the heat comes, something takes a hold.” And though these lines appear to be quite simple in meaning on the surface, the opening lyrics serve as a significant symbol for growth and rebirth that Lorde hones in on throughout the song. The lyrics, “My cheeks in high colour, overripe peaches / No shirt, no shoes, only my features … Lead the boys and girls onto the beaches,” serve as an ode to embracing our natural selves and romanticizing the simple things 一 and after such a stressful year, there’s nothing better than doing just that. This is the perfect song to welcome summer with, and considering how unconventional this year has been, the lyrics, “Forget all of the tears that you’ve cried / It’s over … It’s a new state of mind,” is an encouragement for everyone to keep moving forward and bask in the new beginnings that the season brings. The song ends with a big flourish, repeating the phrase “solar power” that is accompanied by a catchy drum beat, trumpets and an acoustic guitar that would all go perfectly with a day at the beach or a drive along the water.  Truly, there’s no better way to celebrate a return to normalcy after such a turbulent year than with Lorde’s new song. 



Courtesy of Nicolas Padovani via Flickr under CC BY 2.0

By: Abhijit Rege, SSW

Though summer may be the time to relax, sometimes the opportunity to let loose presents itself. The boys of BrockHampton have outdone themselves with this single, “BANKROLL,” as it features some of the finest lyricism to date by the collective. A firm collaboration with A$AP Mob veterans, A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg elevates the track over powerful, bass heavy production. And as the icing on the cake, Merlyn Wood, considered to be a breakout member of the group, is so smooth over a majority of the track, while Matt Champion teams up with Rocky to deliver a catchy chorus. This particular track arrived in April 2021, along with an entire album by the group, “ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE.” Though it was teased for nearly three years with multiple iterations, the final product is sensational, living up to the hype created by the fans. When it comes to versatility and the quality of music, BrockHampton is a go-to choice, whether it be for a rager or a study session.


“You” by Regard, featuring Troye Sivan and Tate McRae

Courtesy of Ted Eytan via Wikimedia Commons

By: Samuel Lao, SSW

With various hits in the electronic dance music scene, Regard has built quite the reputation. His most recent hit, “You,”  sounds as if he is continuing to solidify himself as a top artist.  Unlike his typical deep “house music” tracks, Regard has made a switch on his single, creating a more upbeat, pop-infused summer anthem.  Along with a killer beat, Regard has also recruited mega-star Troye Sivan and future star Tate McRae to lead the vocal charge on his song, having them trade off verses as if they are singing to each other. The song revolves around an obsessed individual who is completely infatuated with the person they are singing to, with lyrics claiming that no matter what they do in life, nothing gets them off your mind.  Most recently, these artists have managed to put somewhat of a live performance together as they performed their hit on Jimmy Fallon’s talk show, but this is only a teaser to what fans can expect as the country continues to open up. Overall, this song is perfect to drive to with the windows down on a summer day as it serves as a beacon of hope to a return to the regular world.


“California” by Rich Brian, NIKI and Warren Hue

Courtesy of The Come Up Show via Flickr under CC BY-ND 2.0

By: Ashley Chen, SSW

Rich Brian, NIKI and Warren Hue have finally released their new single, “California,” with their label group, 88rising, about three Indonesian kids chasing their dreams in the heart of California. Though their dreams seemed unattainable and unrealistic, these three artists were able to take their goal and achieve success within the music industry. While listening to the song for the first time, I found that the beat is groovy and relaxing. It had a hip vibe, and I was continuously nodding my head throughout the verse. Rich Brian and Warren Hue’s rap flow mixing with NIKI’s smooth vocals made the perfect beat for those who enjoy fast-paced, indie genres. The lyrics also tell different stories of how they all grew up, mentioning the different obstacles they each had to overcome to get to where they are today. For example, in Warren Hue’s verse, he states, “Flashbacks to the pictures from way back. The kids were like, ‘Who’s that? Who’s that?’ Now I do Hollywood.” This song beautifully captures the Asian-American experience and the artists’ perception of California. The lyrics and overall beat of the song are uplifting and motivating for those who are going through a period of self reflection and growth this Summer.


“The Afterglow” by Silverstein

Courtesy of Anna Lee via Wikimedia Commons under CC-BY-SA 3.0

By: Evelyn Homan, SSW

For rock fans everywhere, it’s common knowledge that some songs are perfect for singing at the top of your lungs down a highway. If you’re looking for an upbeat rock song to accompany your roadtripping, look no further than “The Afterglow” by the Canadian band, Silverstein. From the band’s incredibly well-produced 2017 album, “Dead Reflection,” “The Afterglow” seems like it was made for the summertime. It features an extremely singable chorus, a drum beat made for mimicking on your steering wheel. It ticks all the boxes for being a catchy adrenaline-inducing anthem that can soundtrack everything from a summer fling to a late-night 7-Eleven run with your friends. And if you’re looking for more incredible music with the same vibe and delicious production, don’t hesitate to give the rest of “Dead Reflection” a listen on a warm summer evening. If you enjoy soaring vocals and want to experience one of the best albums of the 2010s, this album is sure to make for an enthusiastic soundtrack for your break.


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