Away from the Sprawl: The Ultimate Summer Playlist

vampiresFinally the sweet smell of summer approaches — beaches, bonfires, camping, hiking and more await Highlanders who are mentally and physically depleted from an exhausting school year. After the last blue book and scantron are bought, and after the last car has cleared out of Lot 30, it’s time to let yourself go and do what you want. Heck, graduation awaits some of us, along with a whole new life (and hopefully career) in front of you. Whatever you do, you should have a soundtrack that helps capture that freeing feeling of summer — and at least hold you over until September trudges around again. Here are 10 tracks to blast on your way to the beach, on a road trip or whatever you plan to do. See you in the fall!

1. “Sometimes” – The Rifles

Following an infectious guitar hook and a driving beat, this tune from 2010 also features happy vocals and good harmonies as members Joel Stoker and Lucas Crowther’s voices blend perfectly as they hit the chorus.

Favorite lyric: “Sometimes you might find you feel a little like / You’re on the wrong side of life / Where there’s no light. But it’s gonna turn around / Sometime so nevermind”

2. “Give Life Back to Music” – Daft Punk

This throwback disco-sounding track from the renowned electronic duo is groovy enough to keep you dancing all summer, with robot vocals contrasting fantastically with famed collaborator Nile Rodger’s slick guitar riffs.

Favorite lyric: “Let the music of your life / give life back to music”

3. “Elephant King” – Yellow Ostrich

A combination of a heavy drum, great backup vocals, Alex Schnaaf’s nasally-yet-earnest voice and the lo-fi, lively guitar drive this song into repeatability.

Favorite lyric: “I will go to a land of constant daylight / I will talk to myself ’til I am alright”

4. “Unbelievers” – Vampire Weekend

From Vampire Weekend’s latest album “Modern Vampires of the City” this song uses lighthearted, fun synths and a cymbal-crashing beat to carry Ezra Koenig’s great lyrics about not knowing what to believe, aside from himself and his lover.

Favorite lyric: “See the sun go down / It’s going on down when the night is deep / Want a little light but who’s going to save a little light for me?”

5. “Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare” – Matt and Kim

This track from the duo’s 2008 debut album “Grand” still holds up, as gleeful vocals from Matt Johnson bring a joy that listeners are hard-pressed to find in any other group. A catchy, bouncing piano and a pounding, energetic drum keep the mood in this song from being anything but nightmarish.

Favorite lyric: “Riding trains to the end of lines / Still we’ve got nothin’ but time / The skyline looks brighter tonight / Let’s go smash out every light.”

6. “The House That Heaven Built” – The Japandroids

This fierce track from the Canadian duo’s latest album, “Celebration Rock,” emphasizes a great, in-your-face garage guitar. With his scratchy vocals, Brian King sings about forgetting yourself and living free in the shadow of your doubters.

Favorite lyric: “It’s a lifeless life with no fixed address to give / But you’re not mine to die for anymore, so I must live”

7. “Surf Wax America” – Weezer

This oldie-but-goodie features Weezer at their best, with an infectiously fast, grunge-ish guitar and Rivers Cuomo’s nerdy, emotionally vulnerable voice singing about how much he loves surfing — and how much you suck for, well, not surfing.

Favorite lyric: “I’m going surfin cos I don’t like your face / I’m bailing out because I hate the race / Of rats that run round and round in the maze”

8. “You Make My Dreams” – Hall and Oates

It’s a testament to how good certain music is if it can still sound fresh and fun 32 years later — and that’s exactly what this classic track from Hall and Oates is, with its carefree guitar, piano and irresistibly catchy chorus and backup vocals. Modern audiences might know it for being featured in “500 Days of Summer.”

Favorite lyric: “Twist and shout my way out / And wrap yourself around me / ‘Cos I ain’t the way you found me / And I’ll never be the same”

9. “Lonesome Dreams” – Lord Huron

Light, ringing synths mesh perfectly with lead singer Ben Schneider’s voice on this song from the LA-based indie-folk band. The track is just fast enough to keep you happy, but still melodious enough to chill out.

Favorite lyric: “I lie under starlit sky / And the seasons change in the blink of an eye / I watch as the planets turn / As the old stars die and the young stars burn”

10. “Fortunate Son” – John Fogerty and Foo Fighters

This cover of the classic Creedence Clearwater Revival song features Dave Grohl and John Fogerty trading lead vocals throughout the song. The tune rocks about as hard as anything you’ll find out right now, with lyrics still relevant to modern politics. Be sure not to speed on the highway while listening to this one.

Favorite lyric: “It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no millionaire’s son, no / It ain’t me, it ain’t me; I ain’t no fortunate one, no”

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