Summer in New York City is god-awful. The womb-y humidity and general stinkiness (of people, the subway, myself) inspires a season-long lethargy that I can never just shake. It’s no wonder the city empties out on the weekend, with its denizens heading to the Hamptons or other parts of Long Island (the North Fork, anyone?), or even to Connecticut, Vermont, Boston… Anywhere but here, where a “breeze” is more than the moving air afforded by an incoming L train.
Myself? I’ve been itching to get out of the City for a few weeks now, so I’ve been earworming music that hasn’t helped quell that feeling. I guess it doesn’t help that I’m at my peak of ennui during the summer months.
Below are 15 songs that fall in line with my usual “folksy and contemplative” taste for music, with a few exceptions. Cat Power‘s “Manhattan” reminds me why I decided to move here; it grounds the list and reminds me of the things I miss when I’m not in the City. Andrew Bird‘s “Tenuousness,” with its sentimental wandering acoustic guitar and whistles, couples the urge to travel with the chaos of it, especially when Bird sings he “can’t stand to stand, can’t stand to sit.” It just makes me want to flee for the nearest train, plane, cab and get on with it, already!
And then there’s Andrew McMahon‘s “Synesthesia.” I have an odd relationship with McMahon’s music, as he headlined my “first band” I felt attached to in high school. As the years go on, and as he creates more music, I can intellectualize that I’m not really into it anymore? But then, emotionally and spiritually, I’m still a fan of his, because his music resonates with my angsty 16-year-old self, despite myself. “Synesthesia” drips in synthpop color and encourages chair-dancing while also reminding listeners to revel in the “now.” Cheesy, yes, but whatever. Synthpop!
Anyway, below is the full Youtube playlist. I’ll be squirggling along to it in Prospect Park, if you’re looking for me.