9163239EDX – “Cool You Off” – (2014)

It’s July and it’s hot (check local listings). What better way to cool down than with “Cool You Off,” a nice deep house track. EDX is the stage name of Maurizio Colella of Zurich. Enjoy.

41MSeWLlCsL._SS280Klingande – “Punga” – (2013)

In keeping with the theme of the week of “Instagram-y cover art,” we have “Punga”  by Klingande (one of the few artists that was on our list last year that returned this year). It’s a longer, deep house track and the saxophone is definitely present. Klingande is the stage name of Cédric Steinmyller, of France. He has made some awesome stuff over the past few years. This was actually a top 25 hit in Belgium.

51NYvaUgUtL._SS280Mystique – “Brand New” – (2014)

I like that you can almost get a feel for how this song is going to sound just by looking at the cover art. This has slightly more lyrics to it than the last song we featured but it’s mostly the same thing over and over. It does get cut up and synthesized quite nicely, if you like that electronic vocal tampering. Actually, from here on I’m referring to the “singing” done by modern radio stars like Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj as “electronic vocal tampering.”

417OHqQgXXL._SS280Tez Cadey – “Seve” – (2014)

Here’s a very nice, very chill song. I really don’t want to use the word “chillest” but this is, perhaps, the chillest song I’m featuring in this list. It’s also one of the newest. Tez Cadey is from Paris and is the stage name of Malo Brisout. He’s based in Lille and is a lot younger than I am. Which is depressing.

Sex_and_Love_(Enrique_Iglesias_album_-_cover_art)Enrique Iglesias feat. Sean Paul, Descemer Bueno & Gente de Zona – “Bailando” – (2014)

Here’s an artist you’ve actually probably heard of. This is the Spanish version (there is also an English version, but translating songs always causes them to loose that thing that makes them exotic and catchy in the first place). Actually you’ve probably heard of Sean Paul, too. Descemer Bueno is a Cuban singer and Gente de Zona is a Cuban reggaeton group. This was a big hit all over the world, even in the U.S. where it reached #12 (with the English version). 

88ae89cbe592cb5691e16c7dac74a8bfSam Feldt & Kav Verhouzer – “Hot Skin” – (2014)

This song is more of a deep house cut than the previous. Isn’t it amazing how many EDM artists are certified scuba divers? Actually, I kind of doubt any EDM artists actually appear in their own videos… which all appear to be shot on the cheap, other than the airfare to whatever sunny locale they’ve picked.

dasco-ft-justina-maria-what-i-need-300x298DASCO feat. Justina Maria – “What I Need (Right Here Right Now)” – (2014)

The “official video” linked to above has a stupid almost 30 second YouTube channel tag at the beginning. So fast forward because this is a super nice, chill song with very nice lyrics. Sigh. I don’t know why I do this to myself… videos for songs of this sort are full of people having fun in beautiful, exotic locations. I want to be there. So bad.

Kendji-by-Kendji-GiracKendji Girac – “Color Gitano” – (2014)

Strangely, you can’t buy this song on Amazon. Kendji Girac is French, but is of Spanish descent, and you can really hear it in the Flemenco guitar-ish-ness of this Spanish/French bilingual song. It’s downright gypsy like in feel with a bit of a pop/house beat. There’s something about songs with a Latin background (even if it’s not Latin music in the traditional sense) that just screams summertime.

61T2xFzDt7L._SS280MYNGA feat. Cosmo Klein – “Back Home” – (2014)

I think you could definitely call this song “chill.” If you find yourself laying on the grass looking up at the sun through shades on a hot day, I’m not sure there’s much of a better song to have playing. There’s even sax, which is the new fad in music like this. I hope it’s a fad that continues.

51nxGURhA0L._SS280Secondcity – “I Wanna Feel” – (2014)

This was actually a #1 in the U.K. in 2014. The lyrics are actually by the same woman who sang on last Monday’s featured track, Kelli-Leigh sampling Toni Braxton’s “You’re Making Me High.” It’s interesting how some songs will top the charts in the U.K. and not even pop up on the Hot 100 in the U.S. Hooray cultural differences!

612VK-jlLRL._SS280Victoria Kern & Menno – “Weekend” – (2014)

This isn’t the best song on this list, far from it, actually, but I thought I’d include it for a few reasons: 1. the music is actually pretty nice, even if it’s more traditional house than the deep house stuff the rest of this list consists of and 2. it’s about a weekend, which, during the summer, are the best days of the week because you can spend the entire day outside.

510RQe7BefL._SS280Bondax – “All I See” – (2014)

Bondax was on our list of Summer Songs last year and they return this year with another great song that is, perhaps, even better. The lyrics here really shine, which is what sort of sells this whole song. The music is great too, but the words actually make it something.

ep1-400x400Duke Dumont feat. Jax Jones – “I Got U” – (2014)

We’re taking a break for our year-by-year 1970s countdown to spend the next few weeks running down our summer playlist for 2015. Most of these songs are smooth, summery jams from the past year or so. Starting it off is British producer Duke Dumont’s “I Got You” which, like many of the songs to follow, are perfect tracks to play on a tropical beach somewhere. This song samples Kelli-Leigh’s version of Whitney Houston’s “My Love is Your Love.”

220px-Queen_A_Night_At_The_Opera#1 – Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody” – (1975)

I’m not sure a better song has ever been recorded. That’s a big statement. The song begins as a harmonized ballad and when Freddie Mercury starts singing about how he “once killed a man” the music starts picking up, giving it an operatic feel. The lyrics fade in and out throughout the song and bits of hard rock interrupt the opera performance and they do so with great timing. The song peaked at #9 in the U.S. in 1976 and #1 in the U.K. In 1991, it topped the U.K. charts again after the death of Mercury. In the U.S., it peaked at #2 in 1992 after being featured in Wayne’s World – where Wayne and Garth are headbanging to in in their Pacer right at the 4:12 mark when the hard rock kicks in. It’s pretty amazing in every way… I could write a post three times this long on the lyrics alone. But I won’t. Just give it a listen and you’ll get it.

220px-Elton_John_-_Captain_Fantastic_and_the_Brown_Dirt_Cowboy#2 – Elton John – “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” – (1975)

This song comes off of my favorite-titled Elton John album, Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy – which was the first album to ever debut at #1 on the Billboard 200. This is an almost-seven minute song by John and Bernie Taupin, one of the best songwriting duos of all time. It was a top five hit and is just generally a great song.

wholovesyou#3 – The Four Seasons – “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)” – (1975)

This is one of the Four Seasons’ signature songs. It came a decade after they were at their peak – it was sort of their renaissance. Frankie Valli isn’t even on lead vocals here – he’s doing the backing part and the bridge. When Bob Gaudio originally wrote it, the song was going to be about the repeal of Prohibition but the rest of the group convinced him to make it about him courting his wife. This was a Hot 100 #1 in 1976 and would later reach #14 in 1994 after it was remixed. The combined chart runs made this song the longest charting song in history up to that point.

Hearts_cover_image#4 – America – “Sister Golden Hair” – (1975)

The twang of the the guitar on this track is what sells me on it. Every. Time. I. Hear. It. This song would’ve been successful five years earlier if it had been written and released then. It has that folky country rock feel that the late-60 and early-70s perfected. It’s America’s best song and one of their most popular. It was also their second #1 single on the Hot 100.

220px-The_Eagles_-_One_of_These_Nights#5 – Eagles – “One Of These Nights” – (1975)

Man the into to this song is dark. It’s just menacing. Then the lyrics kick in and it really doesn’t brighten up any, but it’s not as menacing. This was the Eagles’ second #1 and it has a pinch of disco hidden behind all that wonderful harmonizing backing vocals and great guitar playing. Even Glenn Frey said this was his favorite Eagles song. It’s awesome.

Bob_Dylan_-_Blood_on_the_Tracks#6 – Bob Dylan – “Tangled Up In Blue” – (1975)

This is one of Bob Dylan’s best songs and one of his biggest hits, peaking at #31 on the Hot 100. You can actually understand him too, which is nice. It’s a song that shows just how good Bob Dylan was in his prime. The lyrics – which tell a story in an interesting fashion – are delivered almost non-stop, which is impressive for an almost six minute song. There’s barely even a chorus. It’s just a story – that rhymes brilliantly – and moves around from perspective to perspective. You’ll find a new respect for this track if you really try and follow the lyrics.

 

220px-Aerosmith_-_Toys_in_the_Attic#7 – Aerosmith – “Sweet Emotion” – (1975)

While “Sweet Emotion” wasn’t Aerosmith’s first hit, it did set off a string of success for the band when it was released off of Toys in the Attic in 1975. It peaked at #36 on the Hot 100, becoming the band’s first in the top 40. This song actually has a pretty funky groove to it before the guitars kick in. It pops up nearly everywhere and is one of the band’s best known songs. It was also re-released in 1991 and was accompanied by an unnecessary music video.

Led_Zeppelin_-_Physical_Graffiti#8 – Led Zeppelin – “Kashmir” – (1975)

Physical Graffiti was the last Led Zeppelin album to feature some really great stuff. That hard rock-defining sound they cultivated prior to 1975 was still on full display, but it tapered off pretty quickly after this. Side two of this double album is where all the action is, with the three songs there (and “Kashmir” being the third) being the best on the album. It’s an eight-and-a-half minute epic. It’s one of Zeppelin’s best songs – and the members of the band agree, with Robert Plant calling it “the pride of Led Zeppelin.”

220px-Horizon_(Carpenters_Album)#9 – The Carpenters – “Please Mr. Postman” – (1975)

If you ever go to a garage sale, among the pile of Lawrence Welk and Herb Alpert records, there is bound to be at least one Carpenters album. I don’t care for their music, but this cover of The Marvelettes’ 1961 classic is great. It has a wonderful over-produced pre-synth keyboard sound. It’s just solid pop music.

Hallandoatesselftitledcover#10 – Hall & Oates – “Sara Smile” – (1975)

It’s like when they shot this album cover, they went “let’s try and look as much like Freddie Mercury and David Bowie as possible. And Oates, put more makeup on. The 70s were a confusing time. This was Hall & Oates first top ten hit in the U.S., climbing to #4. It’s a fantastic song – nice soft, rock. It’s also one of the reasons we’re breaking everything pre-1980 down year by year… because music like this bled over into the 1980s and every year seemed to have a different feel about it.

220px-ELO_Face_The_Music_album_cover#11 – Electric Light Orchestra – “Evil Woman” – (1975)

This pre-disco rock song is what put ELO on the map. It sounds so glittery yet it is such a fine, tightly choreographed symphonic rock… and then you add Jeff Lynne’s amazing vocal range… it’s wonderful. This was the band’s first major, global hit charting in the top ten in the U.S., Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand. It remains one of their best-known songs.

220px-Ted_nugent_album_cover#12 – Ted Nugent – “Stranglehold” – (1975)

Ah, The Nuge. This hard rock song from Ted Nugent was released on Ted Nugent’s first solo album. And he doesn’t even perform the vocals here – they’re done by Derek St. Holmes. This song is a rambling eight and a half minutes but it’s worth it because the entire time, it’s building. There is wailing guitar and sparse vocals – a menacing sound. There’s a really long instrumental section that is generally cut out of the single edit, but it all goes down after the seven minute mark – specifically when Ted shreds it at 7:45. It’s an epic piece of rock and roll.

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