With summer almost here, it’s time to start working on that perfect Spotify playlist of summer jams to get your pool party/barbecue/solstice dance circle hopping. Anyone can throw together a playlist with “Get Lucky” and some other recent hits and call it a day, but the best summer playlists set themselves apart by making partygoers stop and say, “Whoa, I totally forgot about this song!” Here are a few throwback jams to add some variety…
“Steal My Sunshine,” Len
Between their talk sing-y vocals, laid-back Cali vibe and what seems like at least 15 band members, everything about Len screams “late ’90s” in the best possible way. But you can’t deny the appeal of their one hit, which makes the most of its sample of the disco classic “More, More, More.”
Fun fact: Brendan Canning, one of the founding members of Broken Social Scene, used to kick it with the chill dudes in Len. Impress your hipster friends with that little bit of knowledge the next time they give you grief for liking ’90s one-hit-wonders.
“Never Ever,” All Saints
The late ’90s were lousy with earnest Brit pop groups, but few were as soulful as the ladies of All Saints. This smooth jam was perfect for awkwardly dancing at a prom and/or with yourself alone in your bedroom.
“Wobble Wobble,” 504 Boyz
The 504 Boyz are somewhat forgotten now, which is odd considering that their line-up consists of rap heavies Master P, Mystikal, and Silkk the Shocker. They scored their biggest hit in the summer of 2000 with the catchy dance track “Wobble Wobble.” Skip the “Nae Nae” and see if your party guests remember how to do the “Wobble Wobble.” Hint: It involves a lot of booty shaking.
“Summer Madness,” Kool & The Gang
Sure, you could blast Will Smith‘s “Summertime,” or you can go back to the source of that song’s signature groove — Kool & The Gang‘s ultra smooth “Summer Madness.” (Watch them perform it on “Soul Train.”)
“Pimpin’ All Over the World,” Ludacris
Maybe your summer involves more stay-cations with Netflix than actual vacations in tropical locales. That doesn’t mean you can’t be a world-class P.I.M.P. like Luda. Just take a listen to the song that “brings the Travel Channel to life.” Before long you’ll be sipping a Mai Tai on the Virgin Islands instead of drinking lukewarm coconut water in your bathtub.
“Suddenly Last Summer,” The Motels
A bittersweet ode to summer love, this underrated gem from the Motels is the pop music equivalent of a lost John Hughes flick. Pair it with the equally aching “Only the Lonely” and watch your friends of a certain age get all misty-eyed over their Coronas and lime.
“Streiht Up Menace,” MC Eiht
“Menace II Society” was a sleeper hit during the summer of ’93, and so was this hip-hop classic from the film’s soundtrack. Perfect for laid-back summer days swathed in a herbal haze. (We are of course talking about refreshing herbal iced tea.)
“Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen),” Baz Lurhmann
Before “#Selfie,” there was this “talking over a beat” song from Baz Lurhmann that was all the rage during the summer of 1999. Everyone thought the lyrics, ostensibly a motivational speech, were written by author Kurt Vonnegut. But it was actually a 1997 Chicago Tribune column written by Mary Schmich widely shared during the early days of the internet. (It was a weird time, kids.) Adding this song to your summer party mix will both up the nostalgia factor and make for an instant conversation starter.
“She Ain’t Worth It,” Glenn Medeiros & Bobby Brown
Bobby Brown was responsible for several hot jams during the late ’80s and early ’90s that will get any party properly started. (“On Our Own,” his ode to the Ghostbusters, is an undeniable classic.) Chances are if you remember “She Ain’t Worth It,” you assumed it was all Bobby B. Well, it’s time to give Glenn Medeiros and his sweet dance moves the credit they deserve.
“Drink And My 2 Step,” Cassidy
This party jam was everywhere during the summer of ’07. Relive a simpler time when you were only checking MySpace instead of a million other things.
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