As the weather turns warm, the music turns up

By | March 16, 2012

gazette extra 

Yes, it’s a bit early this year for these temperatures. No, it’s probably not going to continue the way it has been. However, with the spring equinox less than a week away, I really don’t think it’s too early to start thinking summer.

I love this time of year. The snow is melted, the sun actually feels warm, and the sunlight lasts past 6 p.m. What’s not to love?

From now through the dog days of summer, there’s plenty of time to be outside. Whether it’s shooting hoops, grilling, doing yard work, or just chilling out, there is one thing that ties it all together for me: Music. I love sitting outside during these warm months with my iPod dock at my side, shuffling through my music memories.

For me, this particular time of year brings to mind Pink Floyd’s “Coming Back to Life.” It also jogs my memory back to U2’s “Pop” album as well as the St. Patrick’s Day musical celebrations of The Pogues and Dropkick Murphys.

Being a massive IndyCar fan, the month of May doesn’t exist unless I hear Jim Nabors (of TV’s “Andy Griffith”) sing “Back Home Again in Indiana.” It’s an homage to the Hoosier state that kicks off the annual Indianapolis 500 motor race on Memorial Day weekend.

Going back a fair amount, every time I hear The Offspring’s “Gone Away,” I am immediately transported back to my last days of high school. The same goes for “The Difference” by The Wallflowers, and inexplicably, Hanson’s “MMMBop.” Sometimes it amazes me to think what made a hit back in the “old days” of 1997.

I have to mention “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper as being the ultimate early summer anthem. Every time I hear that, it reminds me of those school bus water fights on the last day of school. I could say the same of Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” They all remind me of those hot summer days of my youth.

As the summer progresses, there’s myriad musical selections I can’t live without. My summer soundtrack relies heavily on 1990s rock/alternative tunes, including (but not limited to) Oasis, Stone Temple Pilots, Filter, Pearl Jam, and Radiohead, among others. Those bands always remind me of summer, though it could be just from years of summertime overload. In any case, I love it.

I might have been born a dozen years too late to experience 1967’s Summer of Love, but The Doors’ “Light My Fire” and “All You Need Is Love” by The Beatles are certainly summertime tunes to me. And even though we live in Wisconsin, many people don’t count it as summer without the Beach Boys on their play lists (am I right, Mr. Angus?)

What music do you turn to this time of year? Are there particular artists, albums, or songs that remind you of the warmer months that you just have to listen to?