St. Vincent’s DeJamz

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It’s been a weird summer. While I could ramble on about how COVID-19 has changed life as we know it and the world is seemingly always on the brink of collapse, I’m sure you knew that already.

While it may have been an unconventional summer, to say the least, one thing that didn’t change was that I had a steady stream of jams that defined the season for me. Some are old, some are new, some are on the nose — without further ado, here are my songs of the summer.

“Garden Song” — Phoebe Bridgers

This summer was the summer I hopped fully aboard the Phoebe Bridgers train. While vaguely aware of her prior to this year — both as a solo artist and in other projects — I fell in headfirst with her sophomore solo album “Punisher.” The album was on heavy rotation over the last three months, with the opening track, “Garden Song” becoming one constantly on repeat (“I Know the End” was a close second, because I am, in fact, mentally stable). Bridgers’ delicate vocals and stream-of-consciousness lyrics make it feel like she’s singing directly to you. I wish. 

 

“betty” — Taylor Swift

As a longtime Taylor Swift apologist, (don’t just listen to the singles! The album tracks are so much better!) It felt good to have the general public agree that her new album “folklore” was, in fact, not terrible. While my overall enthusiasm for the album has cooled off in the months following its surprise release, I can’t bring myself to get tired of “betty.” Maybe it’s the way it evokes classic Taylor with its singer-songwriter accompaniment, maybe it’s the singalong factor of the chorus, or maybe it’s the surprise of hearing a 30-year-old woman drop the f-bomb, but I will never skip this song when it comes on shuffle. 

 

“It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” R.E.M.

And here, we have the on-the-nose selection. I listened to a lot of R.E.M. growing up, but haven’t found myself thinking about them in recent years. Enter the pandemic! I started listening to this song again in early August and haven’t been able to stop since. While I can laugh at the thought of listening to a song about the world ending while the world often feels like it’s ending, this song has sharp lyrics, good energy, and a chorus you can’t help but sing along to. 

 

“Find the Cost of Freedom” — Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

This song was a favorite of mine in high school, along with most of CSNY’s discography. While this song is short, it definitely sets a mood. The beautiful guitar work hooks you in, while the thoughtful lyrics stay in your head long after you listen. When they finally break into that gorgeous harmony, I always find myself hitting repeat. 

 

“Starboy” — The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk 

I will start this by admitting the ugly truth: I am not cool. I love reading Wikipedia articles in my free time, I still care way too much about “Glee” for someone in their twenties, and I have a bad habit of audibly talking to myself. Why does this matter? Because when I listen to this song, I feel marginally cooler. This song evokes a sense of movement and importance, making me feel like I was a protagonist in a crime thriller when really I was sitting on my porch looking at the stars. Baby steps.