After a year of suffering the Miss Togars and Miss Trunchbulls of the world, ditch the Trapper Keepers and detention slips and celebrate your survival. This is your essential playlist for making off with your diploma or coasting on seasonal autopilot.
1. “Here Comes the Summer”, The Undertones
The Irish purveyors of teenage kicks capture that adolescent anticipation of everything summer promises, complete with Coney Island organ.
2. “School Is Out”, Gary U.S. Bonds
Every Gary U.S. Bonds stomper sounds like a party-already-in-progress. The good news is everyone’s too far gone to care that you’re crashing.
3. “Learned to Surf”, Superchunk
Part pep rally, part pep talk: “I stopped sinking and learned to surf.” Because brevity is vital, the thrill fleeting, the life-affirming guitar solo is tucked underneath the second verse.
4. “School Days”, The Runaways
The Runaways’ hat trick remains underrated. Perhaps if Mercury would’ve released Waitin’ On The Night in the Spring fever of ’77, this killer cut would have graduated at the top of the charts. As it stands, it’s still made our Honor Roll of Rock.
5. “Summertime Blues”, Guitar Wolf
Because not everyone is a trust-fund kid who summers in the Catskills. Bonus: Guitar Wolf phonetically conquering the English language.
6. “Summer Wine”, Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood
It’s bewildering that Ol’ Blues Eyes let his daughter run with Lee. But here we are, hungover, pockets empty, still thirsty.
7. “Pacifica”, Los Straitjackets
Surf music at its most understated and gorgeous. The genre is synonymous with reverb and tremolo picking, but the surf drumbeat– this song’s hook– is just as crucial. The fill at 2:20 might be music’s greatest non-Hal Blaine/Earl Palmer drumroll.
8. “Three Months To Kill”, Huelyn Duvall
June, July, and… Oh, wait.
9. “Summer Fun”, The Barracudas
What’s left to do after signing yearbooks and taking finals? Dropping out with The Barracudas.
10. “Sealed with a Kiss”, Brian Hyland
This swirling, disorienting plea asks its recipient to remain faithful over summer break. We know better.