Summer has a dark side. For every heavenly tan somewhere lurks a sunburn. For every burst of summer love comes a heartbreak. Somewhere sits a family with an air-conditioner that has become irretrievably broken. They sit unable to defeat the heat or humidity, forced to confront their voluminous sweat and horrific body odor until the season mercifully relents. These are the stories you don't hear about. These are the people whose lives are kept from view. Because an evil entity - usually referred to as "THEY" - don't want you to know.
So, keep on believing that summer is an endless gorge of weenie-roasts, stylish surfing and perfect-bod lifeguards with lite-beer and fruity alcoholic drinks at your beck and call. The truth is so much darker. And these five songs speak to that truth. A few of them have even been kept off the radio because "THEY" don't want you to hear them. Because knowledge is power. And armed with this knowledge, you might refuse to celebrate summer, you might refuse to throw a Frisbee, and you might begin rethinking everything about your life and discover that life is an insidious lie that no one can escape without serious repercussions.
Have a nice day!
Perhaps the finest example of what "they" don't want you to hear. I've never heard this song on a commercial radio station. College radio only when the authorities have gone on vacation and righteous students take over the airwaves. To summarize, Jonathan Richman recounts all the things that make summertime such a wondrous event for a young person. He remembers the smells, the excitement, the anticipation, the car, the girl, the boy, the promise! And then he lets you know that once you're older, this all stops. Life becomes a horrible, inescapable grind and when that familiar summer feeling comes around it is only there to mock you, to remind you of your failed ambitions and deserted dreams. And that this "summer feeling will haunt you the rest of your life." Or as our friends in Slayer might say, Welcome to hell.
Don Henley can always be counted on to bring a little grim to the party. Yep, he goes and visits the beach in the dead of winter and remembers the better days. Except that the poor chap wandering around in an ill-fitting parka has to accept that he's only likely to get the girl if ALL THE OTHER GUYS ARE GONE. Yep, those Boys of Summer with their perfect six-pack abs, who sit and wait for the perfect moment to kick sand in your face and steal your woman out from under you. They go away once the weather turns sucky. But they'll be back. And again you'll be stuck whining about how you'll be there for her once they take off for Key West come September. Get some pride! Do some sit-ups!
This song has "Back to School Sale" written all over it. Start playing this and get out the razor blades - along with some swell notebooks and ballpoint pens. Jim Morrison doesn't even allow for Fall. He just sings "the winter's coming on, summer's almost gone." And this boozer was living in L.A. where they don't have winter. Imagine what this song does to the fine people of Wisconsin. This song is the march of doom pure and simple. No one can stop Father Time. What a jerk.
You can always count on geeky, ugly dudes to find the downside to every happy occasion. And no one's a better party-pooper than Elvis Costello. Imagine what his life could've been like if he'd been given contacts! Instead, he obsesses on "the burning forests in the hills of Astroturf," "the pop princess is downtown shooting up" and "kiss goodbye to the earth." Gee, I wonder how many party invitations regularly get "lost" in the mail to this guy? No wonder so many people jam in their earbuds and pretend they can't hear their fellow subway riders. If they're anything like this ray of sunshine...
Rockabilly great Eddie Cochran proved one thing about people: They'll complain about anything! This tune manages to find the dark cloud in the silver lining. Instead of rejoicing in the extra free time of summer vacation, Cochran, through poor financial planning and an ill-chosen job, damns the entire season for his own stupidity. Too lame to quit his dead-end job with an unfeeling boss who makes him work late and underpays him, Cochran blames everyone else - his parents, the world, that boss - for why he's so bummed out at a time of the year when he should be having the time of his life. He wasn't even old yet. No arthritis, no gout.