Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Soundtracks For Summer: California Sun

Part 27 in my ongoing "Soundtracks For Summer" series

Holy crap, I've been doing this little segment for five years?! Well folks, it's June, it's hot, and I got the energy to type, let's do this!

This is near the top of my list of "Why the hell didn't I write about this sooner?" songs that remind me of summertime. First recorded by The Rivieras in 1964, it's both a great example from what is known as the "Frat Rock" genre while also being a great Surf Rock song, a genre that Frat Rock of the early 60's was heavily influenced by. Other bands belonging to this genre include The Sonics, The Kingsmen (the guys who made Louie, Louie) and the Trashmen (you know these guys as that band that sings Surfin' Bird).

You know, "Frat Rock" doesn't really do that genre justice. These all sound like Surf Rock songs. You know, lots of guitars, that weird sounding keyboard, and that incredibly vulgar acts come off as sounding like good clean fun. When I think of that phrase, I think of bands like Paramore, Dave Matthews, and Jimmy Buffet. You know, stuff that actual frat guys listen to. My circle of friends have shitty taste in music, guys.

But admit it, this is a song that was written purely for people lazily walking down a boardwalk on a busy summer day, or at the very least an amusement park that recreated a boardwalk for people that don't live near beach towns. Six Flags Great Adventure, I'm looking in your direction. In any case, even if your summer walking doesn't involve going on ferris wheels operated by shady looking men with three teeth, you know that this song will be blared through loudspeakers hidden everywhere and that thoughts of mandatory fun are being implanted into your brain. I've never even BEEN to California, but those subliminal images are making believe that I actually am. Is it weird to suddenly have an opinion about the quickest route down 401?

It'll probably pass, I know. But before I start having a compulsion to get tanned, while I spoke about The Rivieras above, you might know this song better from one of my favorite bands, The Rolling Stones Ramones.

Man, do I love that song. Sure it screams "sellout" with all the cars and crap it must have hocked up in the past, but I love it all the same. This has been fun, I really need to get back to writing, which I SWEAR will be soon enough, folks.

BTW, I'm also taking reader submissions for future "Soundtracks For Summer" entries. If you've got an idea, pop me an email at beamingforbunnies[at] OR comment on this entry OR at the Facebook Fan Page OR tweet me @Galileo908 with the name of the song, and a reason or two why it defines "Summer" for you. You'll be glad you did.

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