A Playlist of Our Favorite Summer Grilling Tunes

The seasons are changing and so are our playlists. We asked our writers and editors to share what summer jams they’re sharing and compiled a Spotify playlist of everything from the Pixies, J. Cole and Belgian electronic music. What would you add? Let us know by leaving a comment and we might just add it to our list.

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Ariel Lauren Wilson: “ave cesaria,” Stromae
Finally a public forum other than my Twitter feed where I can extol Stromae! The Belgian EDM star is an international sensation who’s making some strides in the US (Kanye recently joined him at Coachella and he was on Kimmel last month). I think I’ve memorized several of his francophone tracks backwards and forwards, including his tribute to Cap Verdean legend Cesaria Evora entitled “ave cesaria.” Like the video depicts, the song evokes some hot weather celebration somewhere, and that’s enough to have me cranking this every chance I get. It’s a pretty versatile song for pairing, but I think it’d go especially well with grilled fish tacos and a cold margarita.

Claire Brown: “Coming Home,” Leon Bridges
I know I’m late to the Leon Bridges game, but I can’t think of any better grilling soundtrack. I discovered him over Memorial Day weekend and played his music ad nauseum until my friends intervened. His first album drops on June 23, and he’s playing at the Bowery Ballroom that night. His 60s-inspired soul tunes have already drawn favorable comparisons to Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, and there’s a sweetness to his music that goes well with a gin and tonic and charred garlic scapes.

Jesse Hirsch: “Evil Friends (Jake One remix),” Portugal. The Man with Danny Brown
This one just shot to the top of my summer jam list. Sharp flow meets a beautiful, vaguely sinister chorus. Picture this song floating through a dimly lit backyard, when it’s too hot to dance or exert any energy. Sitting and sipping and nodding your head.

Talia Ralph: “Nothin For The Radio,” Fashawn, J. Cole
Summer, for me, equals J. Cole. I can’t explain why; it’s just one of those things. I’ve fallen in love and cruised with all the windows down to his bouncy, sultry, devil-may-care beats, but this socially conscious push-back against Top 40s hip hop is a far cry from his usual and much more my speed this summer. Maybe Fashawn brought it out of him? Though it came out in 2011, this song rings especially true in the context of the current movement around civil rights, while still managing to make you want to nod along like the best summer jam.

Yvette Cabrera: “Time of the Season,” The Zombies
This song always makes me feel like a badass. I can grill to it, drink to it, eat to it or simply do nothing while listening to it. There’s something about the background “Ahhh” that makes me think I’m cool, no matter what. Also, I don’t think anybody can disagree that summer is “the time of the season for loving.”

Lori Azim: “Thrown Out The Way,” Green Mohair Suits
I live with a music hoarder and can hear tunes from any country or any genre whenever I want. But last fall at a gig during a trip to Sydney, I fell in love with the Green Mohair Suits and have been addicted to them ever since. The guys call their musical style “garage-grass” but if they lived in the States, we’d maybe say “bluegrassy roots rock.” Regardless of how you classify their unique sound and energetic harmonies, the sometimes dark, sometimes hilarious, often bouncy tunes are perfect for summer when all you really want to do is listen to four good friends sing about their hangovers and the women that caused them.

Acacia Nunes: “So Close,” Tom Misch & Carmody
I was introduced to this blend of acoustic-and-electronic-beats-meets-hip-hop a few weeks ago on the kind of hot day when you can feel your pores opening. As I listened to Carmody’s harmony over Tom Misch’s echo, I wanted nothing more than my feet in some flip flops, a cold glass of lemonade and a burger. I got home, turned on the speaker to “So Close,” and gave myself exactly that.

Gabrielle Langholtz: “Dig For Fire,” Pixies
When fanning the flames and coaxing the coals, it makes sense to turn up “Ring of Fire” or “Light my Fire,” but perhaps my favorite song with a searing title is the Pixies’ “Dig for Fire,” celebrating its 25th birthday this year. The fire in these lyrics means the thing that ultimately drives you in life, but if you want to chill over the grill while waiting to flip that Delmonico, you can ignore Black’s meaning and let those quintessential Pixie guitars transport you back to the nineties. Just don’t let the time warp turn you back into a vegetarian and murder your appetite for steak.

Featured photo credit: Flickr/nicholasputz

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