Summer Of Song 2015

Let’s be honest – this month has been pretty miserable (well, last month and the first week of June). I don’t know who thought this new exam schedule would work, but I think we’ve all discovered that it doesn’t. I knew this IB thing was supposed to be tough, but I have never felt so overstretched over such a brief period of time in all my time at UNIS. That being said, hopefully we’ll see some changes next year that will be a little more realistic generous to the students (and I would imagine the staff as well). The being said, the year is practically done and summer break is nearly here. And that means vacation, sleeping in, getting some sun, heading to the beach, maybe even doing some summer jobs (and possibly finishing EE/PP, filling out college admissions, and preparing for more standardized tests…). And if you’re like me, you’ll be spending much of your summer enjoying some tunes.

Here at the Flame we are very musically oriented, and to give our lovely UNIS community the best possible sendoff to our two-month break, we decided to compile some of our favorite “summer songs”. This was an idea that I began last year, when I created a 100 song playlist featuring some of my classmates favorite summer songs; songs to play when you’re getting your tan on at the beach, needing some background music for the family picnic, or just cruising in the car with your windows rolled down enjoying the summer breeze. This year I’ve made it a bit smaller, and included the Flame recommendations separately from the actual playlist. Here are some of our staff’s favorites:

Nina McLean (editor): “California Roll”, “Peaches N Cream”, “This City” by Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg, with quite a bit of assistance from executive producer Pharrell, messed around and dropped the album of the year last month in the form of BUSH. Despite Snoop’s stereotypical gangster image and thug anthems, this album deviates significantly from that realm and shifts more towards the funky, 70’s accented groove tunes that Pharrell is known for – and it’s all very family appropriate! Nina just couldn’t choose which one was the best so she went with three, but in my opinion I think any and all of them are perfect for a summer dance party.

Gina Chen (editor): “No Words” by Erick Hassle

Leave it to the homie Gina to come up with a song that I have never even heard of, but yet be totally off the chain. Erik Hassle is a Swedish dude who has actually been in the game for a while (since ’09), and I would definitely recommend checking out some of his other stuff if you have not done so already. He’s got an awesome voice and some jamming dance moves reminiscent of my own when I’m baking cookies and listening to my iPod.

Minh Anh Nguyen (writer): “Senior Skipday” by Mac Miller

Mac Miller is the man. Cool dude, consistent flow, and a really down to earth vibe, something that I think is not present enough in the hip-hop world. He’s grown to be quite successful in recent years, but he was making a lot of noise in the underground hip-hop scene back when I was still in middle school, and he’s got a dozen or so mixtapes out. This terrific pick by Minh Anh was from his debut tape K.I.D.S and embodies his witty lyricism and smooth, chill delivery.

 Ewa Lachman (photographer): “God Only Knows” by MKTO

The boys are back at it! Newsbies MKTO stepped onto the scene just last year with their sef-titled debut album, featuring a variety of hits including Ewa’s pick “God Only Knows”.  A soulful and and very uplifting song suitable for pop fans as well as other music enthusiasts.

Susie Park(cartoonist): “All Star” by Smash Mouth

I was really psyched that Susie chose this song. When I was probably five or six years old, my mom bought the Shrek soundtrack, an awesome album that I recommend you check out at some point, but my favorite song on it was “All Star”. Despite the band’s less-than successful career, this song was actually pretty big for a while, in part because of the success of Shrek. A great song to turn up to; if you haven’t heard it yet, you’re seriously missing out.

Jin Sun (marketer, cartoonist): “What Time Is It?” by High School Musical cast 

*deep sigh* There is always that one person that immediately hollers “HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL” when asked about their summer song, and Jin Sun was that person this year. I guess its fair enough, the song pretty much sums up everything that we as students feel on the last day of school, not to mention all the nostalgia that comes rushing into us when we hear it. Well some of us anyways…

Hao Shern Lee (writer): “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson, featuring Bruno Mars

Oh yes. 2013 had “Blurred Lines, 2014 had “Happy”, and 2015 we have the one and only “Uptown Funk”. Hao Shern and I both had the privilege of performing this song alongside the 8th grade choir several weeks ago, and I think it’s safe to say that we will be getting down to this timeless piece all summer long.

Kyung Eun Yang (writer): “Love Me Like You Do” by Ellie Goulding

50 Shades of Grey was a pretty hot topic during the first quarter of 2015 with the movie premiering in coordination with Valentines Day. But what might have even outshined the film itself was it’s accompanying soundtrack. It was kind of all over the place, featuring modern hitmakers like Beyonce, The Weeknd, and Sia, but also some classics from Frank Sinatra and The Rolling Stones. Among the the phenomenal list was Kyung Eun’s pick “Love Me Like You Do” by the lovely Ellie Goulding – inspiring, emotional, and powerful, Ellie gives one of her best performances to add on to your summer playlist.

Thi Nguyen (photographer): “Cha Cha” by D.R.A.M

If you have not been getting down to “Cha Cha”, your priorities are screwed up. D.R.A.M came out of nowhere last year with his debut tape #1EpicSummer, which overall is not really impressive, but “Cha Cha” is by far the standout track. It’s an awesome feel good track that makes you wanna groove and jive; be on the lookout for more material from this dude, he’s got potential.

Simon McCarty (writer): “Summer” by Calvin Harris 

How can you not have this one on your list? The epitome of turning up, the name says it all. What is perhaps the most refreshing aspect of the song is that Mr. Harris lends his own voice to the track rather than getting some pop bigwig to sing for him, and the outcome is insane. It’s not necessarily new, but I don’t see this going away any time soon.

Phuong Ly (writer): “Summertime Sadness (Remix)” by Lana Del Rey 

Let me just start by saying I’m not a fan of remixes. I know it’s a really popular thing to do, especially in the world of electronic music, but whenever I say ‘remix’ added to a song title I immediately loose interest. I also think it is very ballsy to attempt to remix a track for an artists like Lana Del Rey, who’s got such a distinct and individual style that I don’t see working for many electronic creations, but somehow this Cedric Gervais dude nailed it. It stays true to Lana’s elegance, but amps it up at just the right moments, creating a very exciting product.

Thai Son Trinh (writer): “Lost Stars” by Adam Levine

It seems Thai Son, despite his robust and rugged outward appearence, has a soft spot for the more emotional and heartfelt songs. I’ll admit, it’s a little bit sappy for me, but I supposed it works for the more romantic summer lovers…like Thai Son.

Tino Peltola (writer): “Haunted Remix” by Beyonce

And just like that, Queen Bey graces us with the gift of her music. Another pick from the 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack, the Michael Diamond remix of “Haunted” is probably not your average summer song choice. But then again, how would you define a summer song anyway? This pick is a very HAUNTING (aha!) listen filled with emotion and the kind of bassline that makes Meghan Trainor say “Damn!”.

Seung Yoo Yang: “Hot Summer” by f(x)

Of course you can’t have a truly complete summer playlist without some Korean ladies singing and dancing to an overproduced track like “Hot Summer”. I mean does it really matter that I have no idea what they’re saying, it’s so catchy! Thanks for the recommendation Seung Yoo

Nhi Trinh: “Flashlight” by Jessie J.

If you haven’t seen Pitch Perfect, you need to. If you haven’t seen Pitch Perfect 2, you definitely need to. It’s got a great story, hilarious characters (what up Fat Amy), and awesome music. While most of the songs are covers of big hits, the sequel took a surprise turn by creating it’s own original piece, which plays an important part of the story that I will not give away. And while Jessie J. does not actually have a role in the movie, apparently she did a version to coincide with the release that our PR head Nhi insisted on including on our summer playlist. Emotional, moving, and catchy, it’s a perfect addition.

The preview of the actual, 50-song playlist is provided below. If you are impressed with what you hear (and are comfortable downloading music in a not entirely legal method), feel free to download the whole thing here.

*Please note – there is some strong language used in some of the songs. But lets be mature people…this is art and we’re not five year old….

Have an awesome summer everyone, thanks for reading the Flame! Look forward to another successful year come August 🙂

–Jed E.