When a Rickety Oscillating Fan Just Isn’t Cutting It: A Playlist to Keep You Cool and Calm When the Summer Heat Gets Suffocating

I don’t know about you, but around this point in the summer, I’m just done with it all. I’m done with sweating constantly (especially when it gathers on your upper lip. Like, ew, gross…). I’m done with the plethora of B.O. smells on my precious R train. I’m also done with water bugs (they’re cockroaches ok? Let’s not sugarcoat them with this fancy name) claiming my apartment as their own.


Deep breaths, Julie. Deep breaths. I need something to cool me off during my commutes and at the end of a long day. I could pull on a pair of shorts. I could get my aging A/C unit running (I almost feel bad using it sometimes though, like if I were to force an 85-year-old man to run through the desert just for my own entertainment). Or I could just listen to this playlist here of smooth, cooling and calming tracks…

Fruit Bats “So Long”: I don’t know if it’s the footage of a raccoon playing the sprinkler like a harp that I saw as a kid on America’s Funniest Home Videos (the Bob Saget era), but the harp in this song is just so cool and refreshing. Ahhhh…

John Denver “Take Me Home, Country Roads”: This tune isn’t just a great choice at a karaoke bar. It’s also great for cooling you down when you’re sweating from glands you didn’t know existed. Everybody sing!

Ásgeir “King and Cross”: Ok, so the sky blue eyes of this Icelandic singer probably aren’t helping cool you down at all (am I right ladies???), but his super smooth vocal delivery will certainly help you feel like you’re mentally on a hammock in the country with a nice breeze drifting by.

Leon Bridges “River”: It’s a song about redemption, but I’d be lying if I said the lyrics “Tip me in your smooth waters I go in / As a man with many crimes / Come up for air / As my sins flow down the Jordan” doesn’t give me some serious chills. In the words of George Takei, Oh myyyyy.

Dan Auerbach “When the Night Comes”: From Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach’s first solo album, Keep It Hid (a criminally underrated album, btw), is this calming track, which is like an aural popsicle. Ooh, lemon-lime flavor!

Bobby Darin “Beyond the Sea”: This song will always brighten my mood. I could be stuck on a crowded, un-airconditioned subway car, sweating my guts out, with my head mere centimeters from some guy’s sweaty, hairy armpit, and this song will keep me in a perfectly pleasant mood the whole time. Bye bye problems!

Father John Misty “Real Love Baby”: Peace, love and good times with Josh Tillman! Released as a single last year, it’s by far one of Misty’s happiest, most at-peace songs to date. So put a flower crown on your head and sway to that gentle beat.

Lucius “Two of Us On the Run”: From their album Wildewoman, which features the ultimate summertime photo of a girl licking an ice cream cone on the cover, this song just has such lovely vibes. Harmonizing singers Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig can really put a pleasant spin on things.

The National “Peggy O”: I’ve never been much of a Deadhead, but this is one hell of a great cover. Though The National’s music is often the epitome of “melancholy,” this cover song (from an album of all Grateful Dead songs covered by a variety of artists) is truly enchanting.

Majical Cloudz “Downtown”: I originally discovered this song last year from the (tragically cancelled) HBO show Togetherness. It’s such a beautiful, yet kinda creepy love song (“And if suddenly I die / I hope they will say / That he was obsessed and it was okay”). Not weird at all… *cough cough*

Beatles “I’ll Follow the Sun”: I mean, it’s the Beatles. What is there to stress about when these guys are on the stereo? This song has such simplicity and crispness to the harmonized vocals and acoustic guitars.

Harry Nilsson “Everybody’s Talkin'”: Speaking of the Beatles… Nilsson here was one of their favorite musicians. (Imagine having your phone ring at 4am, and the caller be John Lennon telling you how amazing your music is? I cannot.) And who could forget the sweet sounds of George Costanza singing to this tune about “drivin’ ’round in Jon Voight’s car”? (A reference, of course, to Midnight Cowboy.)

Martha Reeves & the Vandellas “Heatwave”: But, you know, sometimes the heat just wins and there’s no sense in trying to battle it. In which case, crank that sweat up a few more notches by gettin’ down to this danceable tune.



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