labor day reflection … summer relationships and music


Because it is Labor Day weekend which signs the coming of  the end of summer I had an idea to write up my favorite summer relationship/memory songs.  And I will admit.  When I had the idea I thought I would have to be editing down an extremely long list of songs.


This was more difficult than I thought.  I had my top three immediately (Summerlong, Boys of Summer, Last Summer) but then it took some noodling (I just wanted to type that).

The prerequisite for the song I was searching for was songs that remind me of summer romances or summer friendships. Songs that have words that bring back memories and maybe make you smile a little … or maybe just think a little … and definitely strike a vivid chord in your heart & soul.

This is an easy one for everyone to “get” because everyone knows about the summers I am talking about. It is not all summers.  Its the special ones. The ones where you met people and they were your best friends – for that summer. It was as real as could be but just really for that time. But it lasted just summer long.

Ass someone wrote in the comments under Pete Yorn’s Last Summer: “sitting in my car, in the dead of winter, heater turned up, rain dropping down, facing the ocean, listening alone to this song, and thinking about last summer’s romance, now lost and gone… truth in the song… bittersweet… “


That kind of feeling song.

That bittersweet memory not only of who you may have met or who you spent time with … but of a time left behind.

So.  Here is my list:

Last Summer.

Pete Yorn:

This is Pete at his best. His voice has a natural yearning aspect to it and how he sings about Last Summer should reach out to everyone and talk about their own “last summer” as if it wasn’t a decade or two ago but literally last summer.  Good stuff.


Kathleen Edwards:

Kathleen sings these type of songs like she was born to sing them.  I first heard this song in Elizabethtown.  A perfect song for that movie.  Actually just a perfect song. It has a twinge of pain and joy at exactly the same time.

Strawberry Wine.

Deanna Carter:

Deanna comes close to matching Summerlong but this one isn’t just about summers it also brings in the aspect of simply growing up. This one doesn’t tweak the painful memory muscle as much as it just brings back a deeper “growing up memory” type of feeling.

Kid in Love.

Mayday Parade:

Mayday Parade doesn’t beat around the bush. Maybe it is the perspective of youth. It isn’t summer love … it is just love.  Crystal clear pure unadulterated love. You gotta respect the ability to live in the moment as if that is all there is.

Boys of Summer (the ataris version not Don Henley’s).


This is a classic regardless of the version.  Henley’s had that casual California good times feel.  The Ataris captures the frenetic feel of summer. Just shows how the same song can appeal to different generations and that the message is timeless. Regardless. This may be the ultimate summer song.

Anything but Mine.

Kenny Chesney:

Kenny is my cool country contribution. Love left behind. What you thought was yours isn’t really.  It was just a moment in time when you had it all … and had nothing.

Last Summer.


To be fair to my younger readers I wanted to include something that had a little more angst.  Lostprophets deliver the angst goods. The pain of lost summers happens every generation.  But each generation expresses the pain in their own words & style.

And, to close, I am going to include a song that isn’t really about summer and summer relationships but for some reason it makes me think of a bar in the summer and the last call.

Closing Time.


While this song could, and is, played pretty much year long it seems to feel like that summer evening when things just seem horizonless and yet the close of the night at the bar is a horizon you just don’t want to face.

Good songs in their own right.  Summer or no summer.

Feel free and add in your own if you can think of any.  Because this was a shitload harder to think up than I thought.  I must have overlooked something really obvious (at least that is what I am thinking).

Written by Bruce