Hopin' For Low Humidity: Summer Playlist Part 1

A summer playlist, for crusin' down the road for a country mile or two, hopefully under the enjoyment of a summer sun and low dew points.

1. "We Take Care of Our Own": Bruce Springsteen
We kick things off with some fireworks. This tune might be the most inspiring patriotic anthem you've ever heard concerning expanding the social safety net. The heart behind the social contract theory lies here, underneath the shining sun of Bruce's big, fists-in-the-air sound.

2. "I'm Working on a Building": Bill Monroe
We move from an anthem calling for a 21st century New Deal to a call for a more intimate spiritual quest. Quit your low-down gamblin' ways and listen up to this fine bluegrass tune from legend Billy Monroe:

3. "The Passion": Ms. Lauryn Hill
Sticking with a spiritual theme. . . let the off beat drums find their rhythm and incessant moral questioning mixed with existential wonderin' find their way home and into your heart with this tune from Lauryn Hill. For some context, I think the song is for the film Passion of the Christ, and it couldn't be a better one. If you skip church, spin this tune on your way to the beach and do something good, or at least zoom out to see the world as best you can.

4. "Blessings": Chance the Rapper
Stay at church with Chance, and walk along with this joyous tune that avoids cliche's just when you think it won't: "I know the difference between blessings/ and earthly possessions". The vibe is totally a bright sunday morning, it's 100% hope, and I think we should be ok with that at least once in a while:

5. "Thinking of a Place": The War on Drugs
Buckle in for a long jam here-it's not quite background music, but everything falls softly and comfortably into place. This tune is melodic, pure pleasure, as it floats all the way down the river and right into the summer night. I've always loved lead singer Adam Granduciel's vocals, and they're as good as ever here. Something about the ways he sings seems to fill the world around you.

6."4th of July": Sufjan Stevens
Here, we shed the comfortable melancholy of "Thinking of a Place" for something dark yet equally beautiful, as Sufjan Stevens delvers a trademark piano/soft voice tune that'll quietly blow you away. If you have any deep sadness this summer, let this song help you make the best of it, and see the truth in the struggle.

7. "The Last of My Kind": Jason Isbell
We'll stay quiet here, but drive our way out of the night and wake up wide in the morning with Jason Isbell's "The Last of my Kind". Maybe you feel out of place in the city, or just want to get away from the concrete and toss your line in the water. Isbell knows how you feel. This is such a pleasant tune:

8. "Heavy and Hanging": Patterson Hood
Hit the gas pedal a little harder as you flee the city and embrace the humid night on this one from Drive by Truckers frontman Patterson Hood. You get it all in this one: a true crime story, beautiful piano, and a Neil Young/Crazy Horse inspired riff. I just love the music on this one. It's perfect.

9. "The Swimming Son": Loudon Wainwright
Head out for that evening swim before sunset and let Loudon hlep you recount those lost days of youth. They always seem lost, even when your in them. A short hoe-down happens at the end of this one. . . it's perfect for the late evenin'!

10. "Vein of Stars": The Flaming Lips
Time for the nightcap. Lay your blanket on the grass and look at the stars. Ponder your existence. Enjoy it with other people. It can be beautiful, no matter where you are.

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