What Happened to all the Summer Songs?

It's summer so enjoy some summer classics!
It’s summer so enjoy some summer classics!

By Peter Gerstenzang

When I was a child, which despite the rumors didn’t coincide with the Battle of Gettysburg, things were really different. A Tea Party was a classy, welcome affair. Not a political party whose combined IQ was slightly higher than a softball. There were no mass shootings in malls. Even better? No Nickleback. We did, however, have a genre of music called Summer Songs. If they didn’t have the word “summer” in them, they detailed the fun you could have in this leisurely season. All of it legal. Except for stuff mentioned by Chuck Berry. Which, if you attempted it, got you arrested and charged with the Mann Act.

I’m thinking most fondly of Hot Fun in the Summertime by Sly and the Family Stone, Vacation, by The Go Go’s and I Get Around, by The Beach Boys. I particularly love the last one. Which lists fun things like speeding around town, picking up girls and being so cool, even bad guys kept their distance. But I’m getting old. Those activities have been replaced by slamming Metamucil. Hoping the ‘girl’ I pick up has all her original teeth. Plus, the only bad guy I’m trying to scare off now is the one trying to get me into court for a competency hearing.

Anyway, yesterday, I checked out Billboard’s Top 10. Surely, I thought, there are new Summer Songs. But there weren’t. Spots one and two are called Fancy and Problem, which don’t reference the season. Plus, the titles don’t exactly rival George Bernard Shaw. Interestingly enough, both songs feature new rapper, Iggy Azalea. Iggy? Couldn’t she have used a more original, less inflammatory name to steal? Like, “Eva Braun?” Also in on the charts, is the humbly named John Legend with his song All Of Me. I don’t know if Legend’s checked, but that was the name of a song sung by Billie Holiday, a movie starring Steve Martin and, in the Bible, it comes right after Ecclesiastes. And it has nothing to do with summer. It’s also, according to that Bible, An Abomination Before The Lord. But I’ve always felt that way about Legend.

Checking the rest of the list, I found one optimistic sign. Occupying spot No. 9 is a song by Calvin Harris called Summer. Which means he at least knows what season it is. I looked Harris up. He’s described as a “Scottish DJ.” Which sounds as paradoxical as “German Stand-Up Comic,” or “Mel Gibson-Movie Star.” Still, though the tune is simplistic, it’s summery. Harris is saying, go out and have fun. Of course, you can’t get sun anymore, because you’ll die of cancer. Or get laid, because you’ll die from an STD. But judging from the tune, clearly you can ingest enough Ecstasy to take down the entire town of Trenton. And dance, until you need a heart valve replacement. However, it’s a new generation. They have plenty of perils awaiting them. So, enjoy yourselves, kids. Have fun. Those scary midterm elections are still months away.