The Sound of Music

June 2018

Little girl is listening the music and dancing on the beach

Image: iStock

Many, many years ago I befriended a disc jockey and requested a song on his popular radio station. It was October and the disc jockey’s response when rejecting my request: “That’s a summer song.” This was in the days of vinyl, when FM radio ruled. Now the music industry is highly fragmented and increasingly dependent on internet streaming services. But still the concept of the “summer song” endures. There’s that one piece that earworms its way into our collective memory and instantly reminds us of warm weather and vacations and young romance regardless of actual lyrics.

More broadly, music plays a key role in today’s visual media. It subtly dictates the tone, voice and pace of a video. It also can elevate an otherwise pedestrian podcast. There’s also scientific research showing music can positively impact our productivity and information retention. With that said, my recommendations for what to read, watch and listen to this month revolve around music.

[watch/listen] Taking a big hit worldwide. This is pretty cool: The folks at The Pudding, creators of visual storytelling, recently came up with a music map showing the No. 1 song in any given area during specific times of the year. You can listen to each song too if, like me, you’re a bit behind on what’s hot. So which one of these songs will become the song of summer?

[read] Speaking of which. . . . Can you tell me what was the big summer hit in 2008? You could if you’d checked out this website. It runs through the one song everyone knew after months of heavy radio rotation. It’s fun to remember what you were doing when this song was everywhere. (And the answer to that opening question is “California Gurls” by Katy Perry.)

[read] I got the blues and the booze. Quick! What musical genre is most likely to include drugs or alcohol in its lyrics? If you said rap, you win. Now, a bit harder is what ranks No. 2, with 36% of its songs referencing drugs or alcohol. R&B? Nope. Pop? Hardly. No, it turns out country music fans are lapping up lyrics about drinks or drugs, according to a 2008 New York Times column (since we were momentarily in a 2008 state of mind).

Thank you for reading this,

Anne Saita