Irresistible beats and lots of cheese
I grew up with three very different summers - Saudi Arabia (hot and dry), Hong Kong (hot and damp), and England (rainy, grey, often cold, miserable). So my summer soundtrack is full of energetic numbers that force you to get up and dance like a loon (either because they remind me of the great mood a sunny day can put you in, or because of the memories of dancing to keep warm - ah, good ol' British summertime!), and a couple of bittersweet songs which remind me summer has to come to an end at some point, so I should make the most of it!
U2's Stuck in a Moment
This song was something of an anthem during my university finals. The chorus lines 'You've got to get yourself together/You've got stuck in a moment, now you can't get out of it' gave me the kick in the pants I needed to get down to some serious revision. It's not an especially summery song, but it takes me back to that June, and the relief when I put a full stop at the end of my final paper!
Michael Jackson's Don't Stop Til You Get Enough
Summer wouldn't be summer without the late, great MJ. I hardly know where to start - but perhaps the beginning, as Maria Von Trapp says, is best, so I'll pick an early tune, Don't Stop Til You Get Enough, for its irresistible disco beat. If you like this, you won't be able to stop for a long time: you can never get enough of MJ!
Curtis Mayfield's Move On Up
There's something about a horn section that instantly improves my mood - I always picture a row of trumpeters and trombonists behind a singer, with perfectly synchronised, yet effortless dance moves. When you add to this funktastic hook a relentless African drum beat, and Mayfield's smooth vocals selling lyrics of positivity, not only will you be bouncing around on the dance floor, you won't be able to stop smiling.
Shaggy's In the Summertime
It's almost embarrassing to admit that this was my introduction to reggae (doubly so, given that my mother is West Indian), but this is unashamed good-time music. Unlike Bob Marley's brilliant political messages, Shaggy's cover of this 1970 song has no other aim than getting you on the beach to dance your troubles away. It's not poetry, but sometimes all you need is a great beat, a memorable tune and a singer with a cheeky grin.
Bryan Adams' Summer of '69
It helps that the word 'summer' is in the title, but the moment I hear the opening snare crack and guitar riff, it's as if someone's rung the bell for the end of term. I forget whatever I'm stressing about, grab my air guitar, and headbang and whoop my way through three and a half minutes of '80s rock. The only downside is that I react exactly the same way whenever and wherever I hear this song - not the best look at work!
I Am the One and Only by Chesney Hawkes
My name's Karly and I'm a cheeseaholic. This song - from the opening electric guitar glissando via the self-promoting lyrics to the crashing drums and final chords - is one big lump of camembert. But there's nothing like a sing-along chorus to put you in a good mood - and good moods are surely the aim of any summer song. Don't knock it until you try it.
R Kelly's Step in the Name of Love
I think in an alternate reality, I spend my summer nights in a glamorous white dress aboard my 30-metre yacht, entertaining (music) royalty. Or maybe I've just seen the video of this song too many times. Either way, I love the idea of getting all my friends to dress up and dance under the stars. R Kelly often misses the mark, but this is joyful R&B - and there are even instructions as to how to do the dance.
Sergio Mendes' Mas Que Nada -
not the Black Eyed Peas' collaboration! It's bossa nova, it's meant to be danced to, and it makes me imagine I'm at a beach party on Copacabana in Rio. Go on, close your eyes. See?
Smooth by Santana featuring Rob Thomas
I'd heard of Carlos Santana before his 1999 album Supernatural, but not his music. Until this. The Latin horns, bongos, Thomas' husky voice and Santana's awesome guitar combine to conjure up images of what I imagine New York block parties to be like.
The Underdog by Spoon
I think this mainly makes me think of summer because I first heard it on an unnaturally glorious day in London. But also, the jazzy horns (see - horns again!), acoustic guitar strums and simple snare/bass drum beats are the perfect blend for a lazy summer afternoon.