I love music, and I love summer, so if I am asked to put the two together and pick what song I think best describes summer to me, I first have to think back to what I consider to be the best summer of my life, which was the summer of 1990.
I spent that summer in Iowa City. I was in between my junior and senior year at the University of Iowa, and if I wanted to graduate in the spring of 1991, I needed to take a few courses during summer 1990. I had changed my major from pre-business (pause here to chuckle) to English at the start of my junior year and had some credits to make up, so I moved into an apartment with a couple of friends and signed up for three classes. One was a P.E. course, the other two English courses that required me to do nothing but read books. It wasn't exactly the most difficult time of my academic life.
A typical day for me would be get up at 7 and make it across campus for my 8 AM P.E. class, then get to the English/Philosophy building for my 9:30 class. I had the P.E. class Monday thru Thursday, and my two English classes met at the same time on opposite days (one was on Monday-Wednesday, the other Tuesday-Thursday). I did not have class on Friday. After my last class I would usually head down to the banks of the Iowa River to read a little bit and take a nap. By noon I would be ready for lunch and the remainder of the day.
We had a blast that summer. The weather was perfect. I played a ton of golf (cheap student rates at the University course), biked all over the place, and just hung out wherever. The town was half as crowded as it was during the regular school year, so it was never a problem finding a table in a bar. We barbecued, had a few parties, and just lived it up. It was the most relaxing summer of my life.
All through the summer of 1990 it seemes like I heard the song "Metropolis" by The Church everytime I turned on the radio. It was one of those songs that I loved the first time I heard it and could listen to over and over, never tiring of it. I've never been quite sure what exactly it is about, but I know I love the music, the guitars and the lyrics. It just blends well. I don't hear it that often anymore (for some reason I have never felt the need to actually have it in my collection, and I can't say that I am overly fond of the rest of The Church's work), but for the last fourteen summers, whenever I have found myself in what I consider to be a perfect summer moment, I hear "Metropolis" in my head.
My "end of summer" song comes from that same year, 1990: "Follow Your Bliss" by the B-52's from "Cosmic Thing." It doesn't have any lyrics. There was a three week break between the end of the summer term and the start of the fall semester, and I can recall packing to go home for that time knowing that I was never going to have a summer like the one I just had again. In 1991 I would be a college graduate and working. 1990 was my "last hurrah" and I was thankful for it, but also a bit sad when it ended. I just recall hearing that song while I was thinking about that, getting ready to go home, how my summer was over and how I would not be able to spend it like that again.
I don't miss not having summers like the one I had in 1990. I think part of the reason why I enjoyed that one so much is because I knew that it was a once in a lifetime deal. I've always felt that the best memories come from the realization that you have the chance to do something unique and then taking advantage of it.