The Summer Sun and I Sipped Lemonade Together: Summer Songs to Add to Your Playlist

Summer feels like a dreamy mess sometimes. It can make us feel nostalgic, thirsty (and hungry), and tired. Or it can make us feel bright and glowing. These are some songs that I’ve been listening to on those too hot days when the weather is overwhelming.

Tobi Lou- “Water Boy”

With an echoing, synthesized piano and a beat drop that’ll have you shimmying in the sunlight, Tobi Lou’s latest release “Water Boy” is the kind of relaxed bop that I’ve needed. The lyrics are those of self-celebration and self-encouragement. Add to that the amazing dialogue sampling (especially from the Vine “I’m a bad bitch me you can’t kill me”), and you have a song that’ll make your day magical. Tobi Lou, active since 2015 with his first single “Game Ova,” is a Chicago native of Nigerian descent currently based in Los Angeles, California. His style is a mixture of hip hop and dream-pop elements. He’s known for using cartoons in his videos, some of which resemble the Adventure Time aesthetic. He’s an act that I’m looking forward to watching over the next couple of years.

SZA- “Broken Clocks” 

“Broken Clocks” is sensual, honest, and thoughtful. It’s most powerful to listen to as the sun is setting, sitting in the semi-dark. It shares different moments and thoughts where she talks to a lover or addresses her own conflicted emotions and behavior. Like the music video suggests, the song is spread across time, with various memories surfacing as a result of being knocked out.

SZA, real name Solána Imani Rowe, has a style that blends neo-soul, R&B, soul, cloud rap, and chillwave. Her music is nostalgic and sensual, with a subtle sense of pain. Born on November 8, 1990, she self-released her debut EP See.SZA.Run in 2013. “Broken Clocks” is a song from SZA’s debut studio album, Ctrl, released June 9, 2017, which was ranked the best album in 2017 by Time. When I’m looking back or feeling abandoned by life, SZA’s songs are some of the first ones that I go too. It feels like she understands. 

keshi- “summer”

Sometimes even the sun can’t warm us. Sometimes we don’t want to fall in love but we end up in it anyway. In the setting sun, in the deep night, in the warm twilight of our hearts, sometimes we don’t know what’s up until it’s a only a polaroid. That’s what Keshi’s latest single, “summer”, sounds like. Keshi, real name Casey Luong, hails from Houston, and has been active and quietly but steadily growing since 2017. Lofi, airy, rumbling; soft voiced, soft hours, tears in the eyes; emotional and melancholy, Keshi is a songwriter who knows how to tap into the heart. Sweet, sad, vulnerable. Sometimes we need these moments, more than we know. 

Umi- “River”

Her lyrics read like a letter. When I listen to “River,” I can understand what it’s like to feel so deeply that it pushes you like a tide. The song is a confession, reflection, and meditation. UMI, or Tierra Umi Wilson, was born in Seattle and is based in Los Angeles. At only 19 years old, she’s already making a name for herself as a poetic songstress with lo-fi melodies, alternative R&B, and neo-soul vibes. A lot of her songs and videos bring a unique balance of youthfulness and maturity. I can relate to her sound because I’m between my teenage years that already feel a lifetime ago and my impending adulthood. Even two years ago feels too far away and I want something to hold on to from it. 

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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