The Summer Breeze Makes Me Think of You: Summer Songs to Add to Your Playlist

Summer is an opportunity to let my mind wander. I think about when I was younger, playing at the playground on swings for hours and then going with my family to get water ice from Rita’s. I crave blue pop and champagne-flavored soda I can only buy at one corner store in my neighborhood. Sometimes I’m sleepy, miss people I haven’t seen in a while, or want to go to the beach and sit by the water all day. Most often though, I become nostalgic; I think the saturated sunsets do something to my heart. 

For many, summer becomes a time to start hustling, leading us to forget to enjoy ourselves (especially for people of university-age). As part of a series, I’m sharing song recommendations to encapsulate these summer moods. 

Ok2222, j’san- “Nobody Like You (Park Bird Remix)”

Like many indie, electro, and especially lo-fi artists, Ok2222, j-san, and Park Bird are all low-key about their identities. The original artists are Ok2222, a 17-year-old producer based in Melbourne, Australia, and j’san, an independent artist living in Paris, France. Park Bird, a producer based in South Korea, remixed the song. A lot of their songs find their way onto beloved lo-fi hip-hop and jazz-hop study and relax playlists. 

The song, “Nobody Like You,”  was originally a soothing, mellow bedroom-pop melody. It started as a simple guitar riff and became a layered piece with bass, drums, and vocal effects. Park Bird’s remix changed the slightly melancholy tone to be a sweet, cuter interpretation. He traded the guitar riff for piano, both traditional and electronic, and made the melody bouncier. The opening (especially with the violin) and ending verses are more emotional. “Nobody Like You” is the ideal track to listen to while walking through the city with ice cream. 

Kudasaibeats- “Dream of her”

After a long day, “Dream of her” is the perfect song to listen to as you relax for the night. Kudasaibeats masters this feeling, hip-hop beats with simple melodies that capture a mood and make them tangible, if only for a moment. They are definitely a favorite within the lo-fi community. The producer is based in Los Angeles, California, and wants to send “vibes to the world with humble arms”. (https://kudasaibeats.bandcamp.com/

BOL4 – “Stars over me”

This bright song carried by airy vocals is by BOL4, or Bolbbalgan4 (볼빨간 사춘기, also known as Blushing Youth). The indie-pop duo, consisting of members Ahn Ji-young and Woo Ji-yoon, are from South Korea. They debuted in 2016 under Shofar Music but have been active since 2014 after appearing on Superstar K6, a South Korean talent show series. On June 5th of this year, they debuted in Japan with their mini album Red Planet (Japan Edition). “Stars over me” is light and encouraging, making it amazing for road trips, outings with friends, or even a date. 

Nujabes, Uyama Hiroto- “Luv (sic) pt6 (Uyama Hiroto Remix)” 

This song is smooth, groovy, and full of hip-hop vibes from its cooly delivered (and written) verses to the jazzy instrumental. This song will make you feel enlightened and nostalgic. The track is a beautiful collaboration between Nujabes and Uyama Hiroto, who remixed it. Jun Seba, better known as Nujabes, was an artist and producer from Japan who often used blends of hip-hop, jazz samples, and instrumentals. Many in the lo-fi community regard him as one of the first fathers of the genre and its subsections. 

Unfortunately, this legend was taken too soon in a car crash on February 26, 2010. He released three studio albums: Metaphorical Music (2003), Modal Soul (2005) and Spiritual State (released in 2011 after his passing), two collection compilations: Hydeout Productions 1st Collection (2003) and 2nd Collection (2007), and founded Hydeout Productions, an independent label.

Uyama Hiroto is a Japanese producer, DJ, composer, and arranger. He was a close collaborator with Nujabes. His music has been described as nu jazz, hip-hop, breakbeat, jazz rap, ambient, and downtempo. His music is meditative and thoughtful. “Luv (sic) pt6 (Uyama Hiroto Remix),” which is part of a series of songs by the same name “Luv,” is ideal for times of reflection during the summer.

Q-Tip- “Gettin Up” 

“Gettin Up” gives listeners everything they want: great vibes, bars, beat, and groove, all with a classy and honest delivery. His lyrics have been described as introspective and philosophica, pure poetry; his beats are fresh with an air of confidence. Q-Tip has been in the game for a long time. 

Q-Tip, or Kamaal Ibn John Fareed (born Jonathan William Davis; April 10, 1970), is an American rapper, singer, producer, actor and DJ who’s been active since the late 1980s as part of the influential alternative hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest. He has a long list of accomplishments behind him, from his gold-certified solo debut Amplified in 1999 and Grammy Award-nominated album The Renaissance, to his appearances in various films such as Poetic Justice, She Hate Me, and Prison Song. He is one of the most accomplished and celebrated figures in hip-hop. His innovative techniques and artistry are worthy of such regard. “Gettin Up” is a great song to do your two step to, sing to your honey, or dance to in the living room on a warm summer evening. 

PinkSweat$- “Honesty”

“Honesty” is a simple, well-crafted song: electric guitar, a soulful voice, honest and conversational lyrics. This is the kind of song you’d want to relax with while sipping a cola on the beach. PinkSweat$, real name David Bowden, is a songwriter and producer from Philadelphia who’s out to change R&B. His style differs to most R&B artists; he focuses more on ballads and acoustic rather than being bass and beat driven. This makes his songs feel softer and more vulnerable, bringing out those feelings in his listeners too. 

He’s made a point to stay away from overtly sexual lyrics and is styled in a way contrary to the usual look for R&B artists. He’s clear in his intention to be himself, offering an alternative to the frequently trap-laden sounds heard on the radio. PinkSweat$’s efforts have been met with a lot of success and support in a short time since he only started to share his music over the last two years. “Honest” has close to 35 million streams on Spotify. I’m looking forward to seeing where he can go, especially as a fellow Philadelphian. 

We’ve made a playlist with these songs:

Dynas Johnson

Music Writer

Dynas Johnson is a rising senior at Temple University, majoring in English with a Creative Writing Concentration. She is an editor for SONKU, a writing collective for black poets created at Temple University, and a writer for The Atmosphere Magazine. When she is not writing, she can be found wandering Philadelphia and listening to lofi playlists.

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