Bummers In The Summers

Still surprised that Mungo Jerry didn't make the list? Photo Courtesy: Zach Wise
Still surprised that Mungo Jerry didn’t make the list? Photo Courtesy: Zach Wise

Awful Seasonal Songs

By Peter Gerstenzang

When summer is here, people tend to get so mellow, they also seem to totally suspend their critical faculties. And claim to be cool with everything from waterboarding to listening to Kenny Loggins’ songs. Two activities I feel similarly about all year round. But what about summer songs? Sure, folks have long lists of favorites that were hits during this season. But nobody ever mentions the crappy ones. I think it‘s about time. So here my friends, is a summery shortlist of musical monstrosities that send some folks running for the beach. And the rest of us for the Dramamine.

“Beach Baby”-First Class, 1974
A ghastly song, by the worst Beach Boys Tribute Band ever. Except maybe the one currently led by Mike Love. This onerous homage to Brian Wilson was somehow allowed in the ‘70s. Since then, however, we’ve enacted tough legislation regarding lame Beach Boys ripoffs. Yep, there’s actually jail time involved. Plus, that three-strike rule. Okay then. You’ve been warned.

“Danger Zone”-Kenny Loggins, 1986
Once the poster boy for the dangers of both soft rock and learning macrame, Loggins did something even more horrifying in the summer of ’86. He actually sang this stinkburger about how cool it is to get into a jet and kill somebody. Aside from that macrame accident of ’75, where he allegedly also killed somebody? This is Kenny’s worst offense to date. But stay tuned. The decade is young.

“Kokomo”-The Beach Boys, 1988
This is not so much a song as a horrible moment in American history. Like the burning of our Capitol in 1814. Or, in 2000, when Britney Spears sang “Satisfaction”. The fact that this ghastly, accordion-driven tune is also attributed to ‘The Beach Boys’ makes it doubly horrifying. Like a champion spitter who can hit you with a loogie in both eyes simultaneously. Mike Love sings this shingle-inducing, faux-Caribbean fatwa. And yet they call Brian crazy? What’s up with that?

“Soak Up The Sun”-Sheryl Crow, 2002
I’m all for summer songs. But this Sheryl Crow tune seems so boring and contrived, it’s the musical equivalent of reality  TV. There’s real drama inherent here, though. Question: soaking up the sun, or listening to this song constantly? Which will give you skin cancer faster? That’s a horse race for you.


“Summer Breeze”-The Isley Brothers, 1974
I really don’t mind the original, by Seals and Crofts. That’s not exactly a compliment. It only means the deprogramming wasn’t successful, after I was rescued from that cult. But the original was short and sweet. Here, the Isleys defy the time-space continuum by making this song seem longer than a trip around the sun. Plus, it starts with the endless lucking of a Japanese koto. Which sets up expectations that someone is going to bring you sushi. And anyone can tell you that sushi delayed is sushi denied. That alone absolutely qualifies this tune to be on the list.