I’m pretty attached to the platonic ideal of the summer road trip. My dad has never been a big fan of air travel, so when I was a child our family summer vacations were often spent, at least partially, in the car on the way to a destination. We took in much of Canada this way; I’ve seen the East and West coasts of Canada as part of summer car trips that stretched up to four weeks in length. My family, however, are not big music fans, so this time spent in the car, gazing at mile after mile of highway, was also used to listen to a lot of audiobooks and children’s tapes (does anyone else have fondest memories of the Classical Kids series? My favourites were the Tchaikovsky and Vivaldi stories!). Nowadays a road trip for me is not complete without a pile of CDs, an FM transmitter to connect my iPod to the car’s stereo, or even just the radio, but the way I listen while driving hasn’t really changed. Music still seems to sound more transcendent on the road, so much so that I have been know to occasionally drive the car (I don’t own one, but I sometimes borrow them from family) around parts of town I’m unfamiliar with, especially if there’s an exciting electrical storm happening, as a soothing way to spend part of a summer evening.
In my mind, summer songs, too, are slightly different from other songs. The ones I’ve chosen for this week’s mixtape are sweetly happy, nostalgic, loose and casual, or even just best enjoyed during some time outdoors with friends and drinks. I picked these songs because they sound to me like the hopefulness of spring dissolving into summer, the promise of more time spent in the company of friends, more moments shared, fewer stresses, and feeling things more intensely. While I actually am emphatically not a fan of the heat or sun, there’s still something about this season that smacks of freedom and well-being, especially after coming off an infamous Winnipeg winter. Please enjoy, and maybe under a dusky sky while driving.