‘This is one of those song that people play at family reunions, get together, bbqs etc .. never gets old .. this will be passed down from generation to generation’
Yesssssssss. It’s time to play this song. The sun is out, exams are done, nearly done or never started at all, and the beers are here. It is indeed summertime.
Of course, the reason I – and Dj Jazzy Jeff And The Fresh Prince – mention that it’s summertime is because for many people summertime is equal to relaxing. The men themselves couldn’t have put it better: ‘Summer, summer, summertime/
Time to sit back and unwind’. And what exactly is relaxing? Relaxing is, I think, completely turning off the engine. Not giving a shit about anything.
Part of this state of relaxation is that time almost pauses. So, if we want relaxation with a soundtrack (which we do, because music makes everything better), a relaxation soundtrack, we need music which pauses time.
Which music can you honestly say does this? Off of the top of my head, I can’t think of many. Whatever it is, it has to be low tempo, or at least feel as if it has a low tempo.
Perhaps something loose and ambient, almost featureless, like Jon Hopkins or Brian Eno
But something doesn’t feel right about having, say, Apollo as our summer jam. What is it? Probably the fact that it (like most of these two men’s output) is in a minor key. That’s as opposed to a major key. In other words, our summer jam will sound fucking grim. Like this:
That’s not great, because relaxation is meant to be a happy, upbeat and positive process, as opposed to a sad one. Plus, who the fuck is going to take their clothes off to grim death keyboard music. So yes we need music which is at a low tempo, like Jon Hopkins et al, but it has to be in a major key.
The ‘low tempo’ bit discounts (and I’m speaking a bit broadly here) rock and electronic music. But this isn’t really a problem, because we have the perfect genre which fits both our categories.
Nothing fits our criteria quite like a bit of classic, old school hip hop. As there is a perfect example of here, it manages to be chilled and low tempo whilst somehow at the same time remaining upbeat and positive. I reckon it’s probably as hard to make music like that as it sounds.
So yes, just for the moment, fuck ‘all that hardcore dance that has gotten to be’. We need to relax, man, and do it happily. It’s Summertime.