By Kevin Rutherford

Thinking about summer songs—whether they’re “songs of the summer,” the tunes we bump once the weather gets warm, or simply tracks explicitly about the season—invokes good vibes, that’s for sure. They’re the peppy, skip-in-your-step songs that soundtrack trips to the beach, evening bonfires by the lake, Fourth of July fireworks, or lazy days spent on summer vacation. They get you on your feet, out of your house and into your car, or onto your bike—just to go somewhere.

But it ain’t all flowers. Not every song of the summer is particularly cheery, nor is each composition with the season in its name going to necessarily speak highly of the weather. We don’t all get our first real six-string, fall in love under the boardwalk or sip on gin and juice, laid back with… well, you know. What about the summer flings that end without another word, the warmer months spent alone while everyone else seems to have someone to share it with, the times it seemed like everyone in your friend group was invited to an amusement park trip except you?

We’ve all had the summers of our youth that didn’t go so hot. Tthese songwriters didn’t have much nice to say about the season, either.

Rounded up here are some of the tunes you’ve heard blaring through your radio speakers, perhaps at a time when you needed it: the summer boy/girlfriend was gone, a rainy day had spoiled a jaunt to the pool, summer homework was staring you straight in the face from that corner of your shelf you’ve been neglecting since May.

Sit back, relax and get ready to complain about the sun.


1. “Summertime Sadness” – Lana Del Rey

I think I’ll miss you forever
Like the stars miss the sun in the morning sky
Late is better than never
Even if you’re gone I’m gonna drive, drive

Take the Del Rey original or the Cedric Gervais remix that hit the top 10. Either way, the meaning sticks, though the actual mopey part of “Summertime Sadness” is a little hidden: it’s that she lost the love that made her feel “electric” and “on fire,” and we’re not quite sure when or why it ended. The tune’s ascendance to the charts toward the end of summer 2013 was certainly no mistake, though.

Learn the four other songs that make summer a bummer on


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