This summer may not feel normal, but there is something that can help with that: music. We asked our Mass Mix contributors to share the songs they've been listening to on repeat this season. Here's what they said.
Luke Bar$, “Die With Pride”
A hip-hop masterpiece keeps me cool, as summer's heat intensifies, and the pandemic carries on. Massachusetts rapper Luke Bar$ is a standout in a new generation of Boston hip-hop. The Van Buren collective star makes waves in national, and international scenes. He also helps at least one resident of Dracut, MA, maintain a sense of self, in a time of erasure. The chorus expounds, "When I die, bury me with pride/ I got too much pride/ I got too much shit that's built inside/ Yeah that's built inside/ When I die, bury me with pride/ Bury me with pride/ I got too much shit that's built inside, Yeah that's built inside," in a raspy, but fully voiced melody. Luke's bars are soulful and vibrant. The first verse is an odyssey of Black struggle and Black excellence: "I come from WIC, and food stamps/ this world never meant for me/ I make the best of everything…" The song's production is spiritual and futuristic; the kick drum skips, the claps, and woodblocks add bounce, but the sampled harmonies are somber and introspective. The bass is a strong foundation, but never dominates the mix. Luke Bar$ "Die With Pride," transcends time and space. -Kofi Edzie, Writer for Lowell Spin
Khruangbin, "Time (You & I)"
Bless the hearts of Laura Lee, Mark Speer, and DJ. They are the Texas trio known as Khruangbin, and just a few days after the summer solstice, they released their third full-length, Mordechai. The band has become a go-to for me in recent years when I need something smooth to mellow out to, and their latest album has become my go-to summer soundtrack. It's road trip music, but it's also backyard music. And the bouncy clip for "Time (You & I)" revolves around building sandcastles! It doesn't get much more summery than that. - Adam 12, Weekdays 11a-4p, ROCK 92.9
Jhene Aiko, "Happiness Over Everything (H.O.E.) (feat. Future & Miguel)"
Jhene Aiko's latest album Chilombo is exactly what summertime vibes require. With the lack of things to do for summer 2020, having an album full of low-key party tracks and introspective songs is a much-needed distraction when social distancing on the beach, chilling on the patio or deck, or even staring out the window. I'm loving this album from start to finish, but "Happiness Over Everything (H.O.E.)" has definitely gotten some extra play from me. Not only does the title itself remind me to focus on my personal happiness despite everything occurring in the world, but a song about summer flings and summer love is also always welcome. -Danielle Anderson, Social Media Manager, BAMS Fest, Inc. @BAMSFest
Tall Boys, "Sing Your Memories"
Somervillian rockers Tall Boys' latest release is an electric wave of cool summer nostalgia that echoes breezy 1990s tracks. Vocalist Charley Binkow's smooth, wistful vocals on Sing Your Memories creates a longing for a simpler time and summer concerts of the past. Some of the most notable aspects of the track are its strong bridge, featuring a swift lyrical breakdown followed by guitarists Josh Star and Peter Fuoco's quirky guitar work. Fusing catchy lyrical hooks and rhythms that you can't help but sing along to as you listen, Tall Boys constructs a great track for the sweltering dog days of summer. - Alexis den Boggende, Staff Writer at Sound of Boston
Bad Bunny, “Si Veo a Tu Mamá”
It's been a weird summer, but one thing is consistent — Puerto Rican artist Bad Bunny keeps churning out hits, and any one of them could be considered a "Song of the Summer." I love "Si Veo a Tu Mamá," which samples the Brazilian classic "The Girl from Ipanema." It has a breezy and carefree sound, and it's upbeat despite the lyrics — about wondering what your ex is doing, which is basically a rite of passage for single people during this pandemic. - Meghan Smith, Digital Producer, WGBH
Slow Dress, "Butterfly"
Last year, I learned that Jakals, a rock band who emerged as incredibly dependable local headliners, called it quits. In December 2019, that seemed like about the worst thing that could happen. The positive was knowing that two members, Katie Solomon, and Bredon Jones, would be doing their own thing! That thing is Slow Dress. Solomon still uses her voice to push every word to its highest level of drama, but it's a quieter drama than Jakals ever was. I challenge you to find a vocalist who sings the word 'oven' with her particular tenderness. I must clarify: this song is set in winter, but the lilting melody and the homebound lyrics have meant it's been on repeat as I try summer cooking without setting off all the alarms in my building. - Phillip Jones, Afternoon Host, 88.9 WERS
Angel Olsen, "New Love Cassette (Mark Ronson Mix)"
Angel Olsen's music has the power to make the darker moments of isolation feel like a brilliant vacation where the hardest part of your day involves laying in the grass and identifying cloud shapes. That faculty gets elevated in the summer 2020 remix of her song "New Love Cassette." Producer Mark Ronson builds on the song's sonic framework, and Olsen's vocal capacity, creating an ethereal atmosphere that feels limitless, sexy, and carefree, much like an endless summer night, sans a pandemic. - Stacy Buchanan, Managing Producer Arts & Culture, WGBH.org