There are few things in the world that can evoke feeling in the same way that music can. And with school just around the corner, whether you’re heading off to college or high school, that anxious back-to-school feeling is probably starting to creep in. But wait! Summer’s not quite over yet. There’s still a little time to bask in the sun and waves before it’s time to hit the books. Here’s a playlist that ticks both of those boxes—it’s got one foot in summer and the other on campus.
These tunes are for those final beach days and the final carefree moments with friends. Throw them on when you’re with friends or just dancing around the house.
Riptide – Vance Joy: A riptide isn’t exactly something that you’d want to find at the beach, but the song fits in perfectly there. It’s partially upbeat, partially melancholy, and 100% catchy.
Left Hand Free – alt-J: Alt-J is gearing up for the release of their new album, This Is All Yours, with the release of their second single “Left Hand Free.” It’s got a retro rock ’n’ roll sound that’s perfect for belting in the car.
From Nowhere – Dan Croll: Singer-songwriter Dan Croll has a knack for creating hazy, upbeat jams like “From Nowhere.” And he’s learned from the best—Croll attended Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for Performing arts in England.
Rather Be (feat. Jess Glynne) – Clean Bandit: “Rather Be” has been getting lots radio play this summer, and with good reason. Clean Bandit takes the popular genre of electronic dance music and does it in a simple, catchy way.
Stolen Dance – Milky Chance: “Stolen Dance” is another beachy tune that’s easy to get caught in your head. It’ll have you clinging onto those summertime memories of warmer days.
Boom Clap – Charli XCX: “Boom Clap” appeared in The Fault In Our Stars, but you should most definitely be listening to it outside of the theater. It’s another jam that’s perfect to blast in the car on your way to the beach.
Gooey – Glass Animals: The lyrics to “Gooey” make no sense, but they don’t need to—the relaxed vibes of this song say it all.
Holdin’ On – Flume: We’ll all be holding on to summer when the end of August rolls around. Australian producer Flume has been on fire lately; check out his remix of Lorde’s “Tennis Court” and his smokin’ good looks.
When it starts to get a little chilly outside, these are the songs you’ve got to have on your iPod. They’re perfect for any time; throw them on during a study break or a quick nap.
Take Me To Church – Hozier: You heard it here first: Hozier is going to be big. The Irish singer’s debut album Hozier drops in September, and he’s sure to release songs that are just as beautiful as this.
Chicago – Sufjan Stevens: Sufjan Stevens is quite the prolific musician—he once stated that he intended to record an album for each U.S. state (but later admitted that he was bluffing). We’re lucky he made an album for Illinois, though, because it brought us this great track.
Down the Line – José González: Fun fact: “Down the Line” appears in the film The Last Song (yes, the one with Miley Cyrus). Whether or not you’re a fan of the movie, you can’t deny that this is a beautiful tune.
Afterlife – Arcade Fire: The word “afterlife” suggests both an end and a new beginning, and that’s exactly what this song sounds like. Arcade Fire always manage to give me feels.
Challengers – The New Pornographers: “Challengers” has been described as having one of the most hopeful melodies out there, and I agree. If you’re nervous about leaving for school, just have hope, because “we are the challengers of the unknown.”
Fireside – Arctic Monkeys: Perhaps it’s a bit premature, but nothing’s better than being cozied up by the fireplace. When there’s a chill in the air, this Arctic Monkeys tune will save the day.
Don’t Wait – Mapei: Let this song be TP’s lesson to you when schoolwork starts piling up: don’t wait. Just do it, as they like to say at Nike.
Ribs – Lorde: This song by superstar Lorde doesn’t have the upbeat hooks of “Team” or “Royals,” but it makes up for that in emotion. “Ribs,” simply put, sounds like growing up.