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5 summer bangers we love

Having summertime is blissful in itself, but pairing it with the right song can make it feel like magic. When caught up in the heat of the summer, the perfect sun-soaked anthem is one that can play over and over without hesitance, has a backbone that can withstand the highest of energies and the chillest of vibes, while also being a song that feels like utter sunshine. 

Summer bangers are not only the sounds you make unforgettable memories to, but the soundtrack you can listen to years beyond and remember all the details from that point in time. If 2021 gave us anything, it’s perfectly curated summer songs that are just begging us to put them on repeat. Here’s five of our favorite summer 2021 anthems: 

1 . “Celebration Song” by Holding Absence

This is nothing quite like being washed over by a flood of relief after making it past hard times — especially when you never thought you’d get through it. Holding Absence frontman Lucas Woodland knows this feeling and is so overcome with emotion that he has no choice but to cathartically scream that he did it.

Summer is supposed to be about freedom, and while that usually includes beach days and tans, these last two have been consumed by solitude. Holding Absence released its latest album with this track in April, right around when things were starting to look up concerning COVID-19 cases, mask-wearing and being with loved ones again. There’s a gentle batch of ethereal synths that glisten across Woodland’s rawness while Ashley Green’s drums hammer home the anger fostered during the pain we’ve felt all too well for too long, perfectly blending every emotion in the book into an aura cleanser.

These past couple of summers have been straight out of hell, but as we start to creep into a bit of normalcy, Woodland has a reminder for us: we’ve made it. We’re still here, and that’s something we should scream from the rooftops. - Bre Offenberger, @bre_offenberger

2. “Peach Fuzz” by Caamp

The way this song makes you feel is quite literally in the title: all fuzzy inside. Each summer has come with its own soundtrack full of new songs that follow me throughout ventures, travels, ups, down and  the chaotic memory making. Come the end of August, they’ve been played so often that they’ve served their transient purpose for the summer, only to get buried in the depths of my thousand Spotify playlists. There’s a very big difference between summer tracks that die with the season and the summer anthems like Caamp’s “Peach Fuzz” that live on. 

Released in 2019, the band’s By and By album has all the instrumentals for all the feel-good, driving down a long road with the windows down, sitting beside a fire with all your friends moments. The track is dusted with upbeat percussion, swift guitar riffs and a surprising distant banjo in the background. The magic of the song is all in the rootsy, raspy voice of lead singer Taylor Meier. You can’t help but bliss-out during the chorus as he sings, “Every color of your love I’ve seen enough I want another.” 

The band’s Athens roots make it all the better. Listening to the song is uplifting in itself, but is also an act of paying homage to all the good music that comes out of our little Appalachian town. Back in 2019, I heard “Peach Fuzz” for the first time as it was played at a small bowling alley in my hometown. Fast forward to now, I was lucky enough to see them in all the glory they deserve, performing the track at Red Rocks Amphitheatre to over 10,000 people. Proud fan moment, for sure. 

Like every summer anthem, it just plays better during warmer months with looser responsibilities. While the summer months draw to a close, I can’t wait to revisit it again next year. - Madyson Lewellyn, @maadilewellyn

3. “1999” by Charli XCX

Yeah, you’ve probably already heard this one playing at a gym or restaurant somewhere, but this infectious earworm from pop veteran Charli XCX is just too good to not recommend here. Do we even care that Charli was 6-years-old and not sentient enough to fondly remember all the pop culture references doled out in the verses? I certainly don’t. I was literally one-year-old, so gatekeeping millennials may be offended, but not me.

Troye Sivan embellishes the track with his own reminiscence of what life was like back then “when it was so much better.” Charli’s fantastic songwriting ability is on display with an insanely catchy chorus and bridge, coupled with her background harmonies that end the track in a satisfying fashion. All in all, it’s a tightly-packed bop of youthful exuberance and nostalgic insouciance that I had on repeat all summer long. -Camden Gilreath, @camgilreath23 

4. “Solar Power” by Lorde

This summer Lorde ended her four year hiatus from music with a single “Solar Power” from her album of its namesake. This song is about coming out of the cold and depressed winter and into the warmth and joy of summer. The song is a joyful ballad and totally speaks to the lightness that people feel as the days get longer and the nights are warmer. I found myself blasting this song in my car with the windows down a lot this summer. -Mikayla Rochelle, @mikayla_roch 

5. “karma” by Arlie

Nothing screams summer like speeding on the road with the windows down and your hands in the air. Indie pop band Arlie’s first single since its 2018 EP, Wait, perfectly encapsulates that feeling, and deserves a spot on everyone’s driving playlist.

“karma” examines the deterioration of a shaky relationship, but the energetic opening and irresistible guitar line will have you nodding along whether you can relate or not. Vocalist Nathaniel Banks paints a picture of two young people in love while navigating college and life, and through the twists and turns, it’s impossible to not get lost in the group’s infectious energy on this track. Love isn’t always easy — especially in college — and this summer anthem is a bittersweet reminder of that. Whether you’re feeling angsty, reminiscent or amped up, there’s one aspect or another on this track that will resonate with you and be the perfect tune to blare on the road.  -Abby Miller, @abblawrence 

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