12 Songs of Summer

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, deep within me, an invincible summer” +Albert Camus

I have longed loved this quote because he was absolutely right, an invincible summer does indeed lie within all of us. From the early morning light to the lazy, late sunsets to the field down the street from where I live where, for just a few magical nights, you can find yourself surrounded by thousands of fireflies, I’m all about summer.

There’s a hopefulness to summer. There’s a childlike excitement with thoughts of popsicles and sandy feet. There’s the distant roar of 4th of July fireworks and the smell of neighborhood barbecues.

And best of all, there are windows rolled down and tunes blaring from cars and people singing along with reckless abandonment, as they damn well should be.

As for me, I do a heck of a lot of walking, especially to and from work. I walk over gorgeous Casco Bay by way of the Casco Bay Bridge that takes me from South Portland into downtown Portland, Maine.

I walk year round and I love it because I listen to music, grab a coffee and it’s my favorite part of the day, especially in the morning. Even when it’s hovering around zero.

winter alp
Trekking to work selfie . February 2017.

But you know what’s even better? Walking when it’s glorious out. Walking when the birds can’t contain their joy. Walking when the breeze is warm, the grass is extra green and the sun holds you with the gentlest and yet surest of embraces.


That said, here are 12 of my absolute favorite summer jams.  Some are obvious and some are a bit off the beaten path but they all say summer to me. Want to tell me what some of yours are? Comment away good people. Now get out there and give summer a high-five, one that you’ll feel all the way into October.

  1. “Summertime” by The Sundays. Instant happiness with this one.

2. “Summer in the City” by Regina Spektor. Snapshot of a night, a season, a love affair.

3.Nightswimming by R.E.M. I feel all the things every time I hear this song and it will always be this way. The hallmark of perfect song.

4.  “Summertime Blues” by The Flying Lizards. I adore this cover of the Eddie Cochran classic because it’s hilarious and feels like it’s being performed by a band that’s in a studio with a broken air conditioner that stopped giving any fucks quite a while ago.

5. “Redondo Beach” by Patti Smith. Because it’s Patti Smith. No other reason needed. Obv.

6. “Mimi on the Beach” by Jane Siberry.  Because, IMHO, she’s one of the greatest songwriters ever to walk among us mortals. A three minute video does exist, but the better version is this full-length album version.

7. “Too Darn Hot” by Ella Fitzgerald. A Cole Porter classic as sung by Ms. Fitzgerald. Yeah!

8. “Indian Summer Sky” by U2. A lesser known track from an album sacred to me: “The Unforgettable Fire.” “To flicker and to fade on this the longest day…”

9. “Once Upon a Summertime” by Blossom Dearie. There’s just something about this little song that makes me grin.

10. “Summer’s End” by Ashtar Command with Sinead O’Connor. Granted, this song is all about summer coming to and end BUT it’s Sinead O’Connor singing and is actually one of my favorite songs of hers.

11.  “Summer Wind” by Frank Sinatra. I love this song so much I can’t even deal.

12. “Rain in the Summertime” by The Alarm. There’s something about this song, a kind of magnetic pull and energy that draws me in.

14 brutally sad – yet fantastic- songs for Valentine’s Day

Charles M. Schulz got it right with this 1967 gem of a book which, thanks to a yard sale a couple of years ago, I am the proud owner of. It’s true. Happiness IS a sad freakin’ song, especially one that is well written and sung with just the right amount of desperation and sincerity.


I don’t mean songs like Erin Carmen’s “All By Myself” (with all due respect). I’m talking about ones a bit off the mainstream path that pack way more of an emotional punch for this gal.

So in honor or the 14th of February, let’s celebrate Valentine’s Day with this collection of 14 brutally sad yet outstanding songs about love, the human heart and the various forms of related suffering.

Ready? Set? Heartbreak!

ONE: “1000 Oceans” by Tori Amos. Gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous. But my oh my.

TWO: “Somebody” by Depeche Mode. For no other reason than the longing in Martin Gore’s voice. This song has been making me feel all the things for decades.

THREE: “I Know It’s Over” by The Smiths. Frankly, Mr. Shankly, I don’t think this one needs an explanation. And let’s be honest, this entire post could be ALL Smiths songs. God I love them. Oh well…enough said.

FOUR: “The Power of Love” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. This song slays me. It’s not specifically “sad” but just so overwhelmingly powerful and emotional. Frankie say tears! p.s. listen to the song with your eyes closed. The video’s kinda nutty. “Love is like an energy…rushing inside of me”

FIVE: “The Blower’s Daughter” by Damien Rice. There is literally nothing I can say about this. Nothing.

SIX: “Never Be Mine” by Kate Bush. She’s a goddess. This song’s insane. Meaning perfect.

SEVEN: “This Year’s Love” by David Gray. Because “when you kiss me on that midnight street, sweep me off my feet” is one of the greatest lines ever written. Oh and the entire song will rip your heart out.

EIGHT: “A Soft Place to Land” by Kathleen Edwards. Kathleen Edwards is one of my reasons for living. This song. The violin, the words. All of it. Take a whole lot of deep breaths before listening to this extra amazing live version.

NINE: “You Left It Up To Me” by Indigo Girls. Achingly sad and therefore I love it  And the harmonies are really great.

TEN: “The Last Day of Our Acquaintance” by Sinead O’Connor. This one will rip you apart at the seams but will also remind you of HOW SPECTACULAR Sinead is.Extra great live version for added Sinead bliss.

ELEVEN: “That Wasn’t Me” by Brandi Carlile. If you know it then you probably already love it and if it’s your first time hearing it then get ready to have the wind knocked out of you.

TWELVE: “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt. Excruciating. But I’ve also heard it entirely too many times so it doesn’t kill me nearly as much as it used to.

THIRTEEN: “Crying” by KD Lang. I know, I know. It’s a Roy Orbison classic. But this one kills me more than even Roy’s version. Just listen. Especially when Lang’s vocals really get going.

FOURTEEN: “Monoply” by Shawn Colvin. I love every single song on her “Fat City”album and this one is devastating. Every single second of it. Sheer perfection.