Summer is getting its boots on, and soon we’ll be either basking in the warmth of the sun by the beach, or quietly cursing it while in the house with the aircon on full blast. Whichever way your summer tends to sway, a top-notch playlist is always needed. That’s why we’re taking you through our writers top beach-side tunes to play with the mates, that you’re also more than welcome to blast while at home taking refuge from the scorching sun and reading the special double-length issue of Rolling Stone Australia (dropping on the 6th of December) that is counting down the 200 Greatest Australian Albums of all Time.
As the past two years have seen us sadly shy away from the music scene due to venues being shut amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, this is the summer to celebrate our home-grown music, really revel in the musical delights that our local artists bring us, and for us to gear up for a brilliant new year of 2022 where we are vaccinated, moving past the pandemic, and are ready to hop into some good gigs. On top of that, with Rolling Stone Australia, in partnership with Sonos, hosting a livestreamed countdown the day before the mag hits shelves, this summer will be a music-filled one to remember.
The stream will be a perfect opportunity for fans of Australian music to come together and celebrate the best music this country has to offer. Sonos, leaders in home audio technology, will be powering the livestream and thereby reaffirming their place as the leading sound experience brand among music fans. And, if the weather is your cup of tea that day, what better time to hit the beach with your mates whilst bringing along your waterproof Sonos Roam speaker for the occasion?
All in all, whichever way you feel about the summer-time weather, good music always provides a good time, and that’s why our writers have put together their picks that they’ll be blasting on their Sonos Roam while catching up with all the friends and family they’ve missed for the past two years.
“Scar” by Missy Higgins
Her 2004 breakout hit “Scar”, for all its tightly wound tension and moving storytelling, couldn’t have been more polarising to radio hits like Outkast’s “Hey Ya!” and The Pussycat Dolls’ “Don’t Cha” at the time. Now, the opening lyrics of the track, “He left a card, a bar of soap and a scrubbing brush next to a note”, can be easily summoned by any Australian who had a radio in the mid-noughties. – Poppy Reid
“Weekend” by Birds Of Tokyo
Released as a standalone single in late 2020, “Weekend” felt exactly the sort of song that we as a collective of music-lovers needed following the year that was. “After the year everyone’s had I think we all felt like making music that’s just kinda summery and light-hearted,” Birds of Tokyo explained upon its release in November of 2020. Though its optimistic and positive outlook arrived just in time for summer last year, the following year wasn’t quite what we had hoped it to be. Thankfully though, the influence and power of “Weekend” continued, giving us something to look forward to, and something to soundtrack the good times that are undoubtedly coming. – Tyler Jenke
“Take Me” by RÜFÜS DU SOL
With constant references to the ocean, it’d be amiss to not put a RÜFÜS DU SOL track on any list of beachside favourites. Add to that their smooth electronic textures, catchy hooks, dreamy melodies, and overall effervescent sound, and you’ve got the perfect track for summer-time fun. – Mairéad Bilton-Gough
“Sometimes” by Miami Horror
It’s hard to put into words just how perfectly this song encapsulates the feeling of sitting with friends and looking out over the ocean as the sun sets. “Sometimes” is a masterpiece. – Sam Bowmer
“Adore” by Amy Shark
With an opening line that feels a director narrating their own movie, “Adore” is a spell-binding confessional that only a vulnerable young woman with nothing to lose could write. It almost pains one to think that prior to being awarded the career-changing music grant that funded “Adore” into fruition, Amy Shark had planned to give up on music altogether. – Poppy Reid
“Sunscreen” by Ball Park Music
From its title to its video, “Sunscreen” feels custom-made for long summers spent by the beach. Whether it be how its lyrics evokes memories of looking “through the windscreen over the people covered in sunscreen”, or the unifying “aaah-ah-aah” singalongs, “Sunscreen” is the sort of song which one day will be viewed as a perfect example of anthem Aussie songwriting, and Ball Park Music will likely be inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame – presumably wearing boards with zinc on their noses. – Tyler Jenke
“Friends” by Empire Of The Sun
What’s better than a day at the beach with your best mates? Although this Empire of the Sun song is actually about not being able to trust your friends, it’s upbeat nature and electro-pop groove makes the perfect fit for a beach day. – Mairéad Bilton-Gough
“Hello” by The Cat Empire
A wonderful blend of Australiana with ska and jazz, “Hello” is unapologetically rambunctious and the perfect mood-setter for the summertime. It’s impossible to be in a bad mood while listening to this song. – Sam Bowmer
“Chandelier” by Sia
“Chandelier”, nominated for four Grammy awards, could easily be mistaken for a party anthem. Sia’s voice soars with impossible abandon, hurdling over key changes and taking your heart along with it. But listen closely and you’ll discover a woman amidst a ferocious battle with addiction—”Keep my glass full until morning light / ‘Cause I’m just holding on for tonight”. The single became one of Sia’s most recognisable calling cards, and in turn, publicly cemented her ambition to reject the spotlight and preserve her privacy. – Poppy Reid
“No Plans To Make Plans” by Lime Cordiale
When it comes to laidback vibes and breezy songs that feel like they might have been recorded upon the beach itself, Lime Cordiale are undisputed masters. Hailing from Sydney’s Northern Beaches (of course), the Liembach brothers definitely know their way around a smooth song and a lyrical hook. On their 2020 track “No Plans To Make Plans”, they effortlessly capture the vibe of the lazy afternoon spent in the salty air, as we wile away the days with – you guess it – absolutely no plans to make plans. It’s slick and it’s catchy, and above all, it’s a visceral reminder to us all of those hazy days spent with mates in the warm sun. – Tyler Jenke
“Ice Cream” by Muscles
Beach, ice cream, singalong-able electronica. Need I say more? – Mairéad Bilton-Gough
“My Flowers” by Tkay Maidza
Tkay Maidza is easily one of the best hip hop acts Australia has ever seen, and this track is one of my personal favourites of hers. The smooth, cruisy production combined with Maidza’s excellent flow make this a great listen, especially when the sun is shining. – Sam Bowmer
“Four Seasons In One Day” by Crowded House
The glorious “Four Seasons In One Day”, which tips its hat to the weather and the oft-used phrase in its inception city of Melbourne, was penned during Neil and Tim Finn’s exalted home studio sessions on Murchison Street in 1989. The song also described the emotional rollercoaster the Finn brothers had been on since Neil, then a teenager in awe of his older brother, joined Tim’s band Split Enz in New Zealand back in 1977. Neil went on to not only write the band’s biggest hit, “I Got You”, but also eclipse his brother’s musical success when he formed Crowded House in 1985. – Poppy Reid