We all have our own go-to music. Music that whenever it comes on–no matter where you are in life–your face lights up, and you’re like “Yes! I love this song!” For me, this music is ’90s alt-rock and early ‘aughts teenaged angst. If you were to peruse my playlists, you would find a lot of Third Eye Blind, Good Charlotte, Blink 182 and New Found Glory. My most frequently listened to Pandora station is called “Summer Hits of the ’90s.” And I don’t care if I was born in 1987, ‘What Is Love’ and ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ are my jams. I mean that in a completely un-ironic way, by the way. Totally serious. My jams. I don’t know what it is specifically about this sort of music, but it may have a lot to do with the fact that it’s what I listened to when I was in junior high and high school. That time is so formative, and I don’t think those attachments you develop to music during that period ever really leave you. Just ask every person in their 50’s who turns the volume up on the Oldies radio station and screams, “This was one of my favorite songs in high school!” while their children roll their eyes and plug their ears in the back seat. It’s still their jam.
But I think I’ve gotten a little side tracked here. Am I always in the mood for ’90s alt-rock and early ‘aughts teenaged angst? Most definitely. 100% true. Despite my emotional attachment to and my deep love for my go-to music, when the temperature hits 75 and I’m driving down the street with the windows rolled down, I’m not blasting Good Charlotte. I’m blasting Country radio.
I don’t know what it is. I mean, it’s not like I ever hate country. But when it’s cold outside, I never listen to it. Never. If a song comes up on shuffle, I almost immediately skip it because I’m just not in the mood. Because I’m only ever in the mood during one particular season: summer. It may be about content. Why would I want to listen to “Summertime” and be taunted about activities that I can only dream about when I’m sitting smack dab in the middle of a polar vortex? I wouldn’t, and that’s the major problem with wintertime country listening. Think about every country song you’ve ever heard. They’re about drinking beer around a bonfire, denim cut-offs, heading down to the river to skinny dip, sunlit hair flowing out the window of a pickup truck, backyard parties, laying in the grass looking up at the stars and a million other things you can’t do in the winter.
But from June-August, these activities are suddenly possible. I can sit on the patio at a bar and have a few beers after wearing shorts to a baseball game. I can drive up to a friend’s lake house and spend all day on the water. I can sit in my backyard at night, curl up in front of the fire pit and look at the stars. So if you look at my current favorite playlists, you won’t find The Ataris or Weezer or Green Day. You’ll find Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, The Band Perry and Luke Bryan. My Pandora is locked on “Today’s Country Hits,” and I hang my left arm out the car window while I sing “Riverbank” by Brad Paisley at the top of my lungs.
Well, for now, at least. Talk to me again in October. I’ll probably have Yellowcard on repeat.
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