April 2013

Don Omar – “Taboo” – (2010)

I love this song. “Lambada” is a song we’ll talk about next week in more detail, but needless to say this song borrows heavily from it. Even the video has elements of the “Lambada” video. “Lambada” itself was an unofficial (read: illegal) cover of an even older song but this song is much similar in nature to “Lambada” than the originator of this catchy, catchy tune. Add in the Latin/reggaeton vocals and a slightly up-tempo beat and you have the recipe for a winner. Throw in a gorgeous, tropical music video that will play in your head whenever you hear it and you have a killer summer song.

Francesco Diaz, Daniel Ortega & Mike Moorish – “Sway (Quien Sera)” – (2012)

In 1954, Dean Martin released “Sway” – an English version of a Mexican mambo song called “Quien Sera” by Pablo Beltran Ruiz. That song has been covered many times, but this cover turns it into a house song. It has a pulsating beat and repetitive lyrics – but that Italian/Spanish-ness of the Dean Martin hit comes through a little bit and makes you wish you were in Italy… or Mexico.

Shakira feat. Pitbull – “Rabiosa” – (2010)

Shakira songs always seem to have a fun feel to them. But that’s probably due in part to her being Latin. The beats help too. “Rabiosa” was the third single from Sale el Sol. The Spanish version (there’s always a Spanish version) features Dominican rapper El Cata and the English version features Pitbull, who also speaks Spanish (both rappers are unnecessary on this song). The combination of Shakira’s Spanish (there are still Spanish vocals in the English-language version) and the horn section – along with the beat – make this a perfect summer song. Also, the video rocks if you’ve ever wanted to see Shakira dance on a pole. And I love when she says “ratata.”

Tiësto – “Chasing Summers” – (2012)

Summer is my favorite month. I spend the rest of the year chasing summer – mostly in my mind – wishing it were warm out, the pool open. Or that I was lying on a beach somewhere, preferably in Europe. Which is the perfect combination of reasons to put this song on here. Tiësto is a Dutch DJ – and a really popular one at that. He remixes a lot of stuff but also puts out his own material too. As a heads up for those of you tired of seeing it, this is the last real true instrumental house track on this list, so don’t worry. The next two (and final) weeks of this thing are all really good songs.

(And yes, I know summer isn’t a month).

Nicola Fasano vs. Pat Rich – “76, Ocean Drive (Apache Vocal Mix)” – (2009)

Nicola Fasano is best known for the song he remixed that Pitbull turned into an international hit. Pat Rich is an Italian DJ who teamed with Fasano to produce this irresistibly catchy house track that has a great Ibiza/tropical feel.

The Underground Project – “Summer Jam” – (2000)

One of the first songs on our Songs for Summer 2013 list-ish thing was “Fiesta” by The Sunclub, a late-90s electronica song (1997 to be exact). Well this was that club hit’s transformation into a pop song. It was remixed by German electronic dance duo The Underground Project for their album It Doesn’t Matter, which was released in Europe near the end of 2000 and in the U.S. in 2001. Listening to it, it screams 1999/2000 (or 2003, not sure when the video was made) and so does the music video. It’s really catchy and mellow. It was a hit in 2000 in four European countries (topping out in the top five in Germany). Then the single was released again in 2003 (as “Summer Jam 2003” – it’s the same song) where it went to #1 in Belgium and the Netherlands and a top five hit in France and Denmark. It’s good stuff.

Bob Marley & the Wailers – “Stir It Up” – (1973)

This is the oldest song on this little mini-countdown – it was written by Bob Marley in 1967. It wasn’t released by Marley until 1973 – one year after Johnny Nash made it a hit. This song has a very steady and mellow beat. It is a great song to sit in the sun and sip drinks – preferably on a tropical island, or even trapped in a Disney water park.

Michael Franti & Spearhead – “The Sound of Sunshine” – (2010)

Michael Franti had a huge hit in 2008/2009 and this was the follow-up single to that hit. While it didn’t match it in terms of success (or pure catchiness), it’s still good and managed to chart in the U.S. and a few European countries (and Japan). Michael Franti’s songs all have some kind of reggae roots in them, but this one is more of a pop rock track. The other thing I like about his music is that it is always positive. This is just an upbeat, happy song that is perfect for summer. It’s really hard to dislike.

Enur feat. Beenie Man & Natalie Storm – “Whine” – (2008)

This song does not have a Latin tint. Instead, we’ll go Jamaican, as it featured Beenie Man and Natalie Storm. This is my second favorite track from Enur’s 2008 album Raggatronic (which I own). The verse by Natalie Storm is awesome – and, well, so is Beenie Man’s. The beat is great. I want more songs like this. Please – artists capable of creating them, please do so.

Picco – “Venga” – (2010)

What do I know about Picco? Not much. He’s from Germany. And this song is in Spanish – and it’s really catchy. There’s a mariachi band in the music video – how much more German can you get? I like it for the house beat, the trumpet and the Spanish vocals. What is it about a song with a Latin leaning that makes it so much more summery or tropical? Am I the only one who thinks this way?

David Longoria – “Zoon Baloomba” – (2012)

Here’s a song I’ve bet you have never heard. David Longoria is a classically-trained American trumpeter who recently delved into Latin music. This song was released in the second half of 2012 and it’s a (mostly) instrumental track with a distinctly Latin flair. The only lyrics are the title repeated rather annoyingly throughout. The song has been remixed a fair amount, causing it to hit #21 on the dance charts in the U.S. I’ve linked to the original, which I happen to like better. Something different for today. And no, I have no idea what the title means.

Pitbull feat. TJR – “Don’t Stop the Party” – (2012)

We featured TJR’s tune “Funky Vodka” a few months ago and I said how incredibly catchy it was. Well, a catchy house track is the perfect jumping off point for a Pitbull hit, as history shows. Of course, TJR sampled “Funky Kingston” by Toots and the Maytals. And at least Pitbull “featured” TJR on this single. I will say though, this song is still incredibly catchy. Pitbull didn’t ruin it. He turned it into what can only be described as a party anthem. The song is kind of repetitive, but it’s easy to bounce along to. It’s a good summer party song.

Avicii – “Malo” – (2011)

I can’t tell you how many times I listened to this song while I was in the pool last summer. It’s one of my favorite Avicii tracks and the Spanish vocals really give it a tropical flair. Maybe I should explain my connection between electronica and summer: Ibiza. It’s one of the world’s capitals of electronic music and dance clubs. And it’s friggen nice (weather-wise). There are beaches. And the music videos for songs like this always have a nice warm setting in Miami or the south of France. Classic conditioning? Maybe. I think it makes sense.

Carrapicho – “Tic, Tic Tac” – (1996)

A little semi-retro tune for you today. It’s by Brazilian group Carrapicho and it’s their most famous song by far. It turned out to be a top ten hit in Belgium, Spain, Austria, Germany, Norway, Switzerland and in the U.S. on the dance chart. It was a #1 in France and Portugal. It’s really catchy but for some reason, the beat, accompanied by the vocals in a language I don’t understand, it sounds kind of like a kids sing-a-long song. Honestly though, I still like it and it definitely has a Brazilian, tropical feel to it.

Ricky Martin – “Más (Ralphi Rosario Spanish Radio Remix)” – (2011)

Here’s something a little more upbeat than yesterday. “Más” is a song from Ricky Martin’s 2011 album Musica + Alma + Sexo. There were a bunch of remixes released shortly after this came out as a single. The Ralphi Rosario Spanish Radio Remix is, I think, better than the original – if for no other reason than its pumping beat. It turned the song into a dance hit – a top ten on the dance charts. If you’re idea of summery music involves club music or Latin music – then this has you covered.

Klangkarusell – “Sonnentanz” – (2012)

Man this song is amazing if you just want to chill out. It’s hypnotic and relaxing. Vienna, Austria-based Klangkarussell (an electronic duo) released this track early last year and they call its genre “jazz house” – which is appropriate. Sonnentanz translates to “Sun Dance” in English and that name couldn’t describe the feeling I get from this track any better. If you find yourself outside on a warm summer night as the sun is going down, put this song on and enjoy the moment.

Stephen Marley feat. Maya Azucena and Illestr8 – “Let Her Dance” – (2007)

Stephen Marley is another son of Bob Marley and he was a member of Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers with his brother, Ziggy. He won a Grammy in 2011 for Best Reggae Album and this one – Mind Control – was his first solo release and it also won the same Grammy in 2008. This song is my favorite from the album. It’s features Maya Azucena – a Brooklyn-based R&B singer and Illestr8, New Jersey-based rapper whose father was in Bob Marley’s Wailers. The vocals in this song are awesome and it really has a smooth feel to it.

Olav Basoski feat. Michie One – “Waterman” – (2005)

Olav Basoski is a Dutch DJ and remixer best known for this song he did with Michie One – a British reggae singer. It’s very upbeat and there’s just something about dancehall vocalists that really draws me in. I like how they can speak so quickly with that wonderful accent and still be mostly understandable. It was actually a hit in the U.K. and the U.S. (but mostly on the dance charts in the U.S.). It’s pretty catchy.

Tape Five – “Soulsalicious” – (2007)

This bossa nova tune is from German electro-swing group Tape Five. The songs I know from Tape Five are great – this one being different from the others. Yeah, it was released on Bossa for a Coup – which I guess would mean that it is primarily a bossa nova album. But the rest of their stuff is very much electro-swing and it’s very good as well. The bossa nova feel to this song gives it that beach-y Brazilian feel that songs from summer do so well with.

The Sunclub – “Fiesta” – (1997)

While most of the songs on this list are pretty recent, we’re reaching all the way back to 1997 (I know that sounds ridiculous, but it’s been more than 15 years). This track is mostly instrumental – I apologize for the somewhat annoying lone vocal that is in there. It’s just a great beat with a repetitive whistle. This song will appear on this list again, albeit in a different – remixed – form. I definitely get a summery vibe from it though.

Julian Marley – “Rosehall” – (2009)

Awake was Julian Marley’s 2009 Grammy-nominated album. It’s only the third album he released since his debut in 1996. He, of course, is the son of Bob Marley. This song is a decent reggae song with a very good beat. And yes, there will be other Marley’s on this list.

Don Omar feat. Lucenzo – “Danza Kuduro” – (2010)

I know it’s only April, but it’s warming up and summer is coming. A couple of things about the next five weeks: I’ll be posting five songs a week – upbeat, “summery” songs. This was essentially my pool playlist for last summer. Yeah, I’m calling it “Songs for Summer 2013” but it basically consists of songs that have come out in the past few years that are just great to listen to while lounging around or in a pool or ocean. This is the first of two songs from Don Omar on this mini-countdown. It’s Spanish and Portuguese and Don Omar is primarily a reggaeton performer. And “kuduro” is an Angolan form of dance.