Aaron Payne went on vacation to Nashville this summer. It was the same time as the CMA Awards. That was an accident. [Aaron Payne]

WOUB Summer ’18 Playlists: Reporter Aaron Payne

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It’s feeling hotter than July here at WOUB, so several of your favorite voices from your regional public media outlet are clueing you in on their favorite tracks of summer 2018. Check out this one from WOUB reporter Aaron Payne, and watch for new installments in the series every Tuesday for the next several weeks. 


Creating the perfect summer playlist is a delicate art. It has to be versatile enough to be the soundtrack for a day at the beach or a backyard barbecue.

That, to me, means songs that are laid back with relaxed beats and smooth melodies. And a lot of synth padding, apparently.

(This playlist was field tested at a high volume with widows rolled down in the author’s Ford Focus.)


“Feels Like Summer” – Childish Gambino

After Childish Gambino (a.k.a. Donald Glover) performed the song “Saturday” as part of his Saturday Night Live episode, I was sure it would be the hit of the summer. (But it was never released.)

However, Gambino released the Summer Pack on July 11 with two track, “Summertime Magic” and “Feels Like Summer.” And both could contend for my song of the summer title.

“Feels Like Summer” resonates with me just a bit more, however.

The lyrics touch on tough topics including climate change and the fear that technology is speeding up the aging process for today’s children. But it still very much feels like a summer song thanks to the underlying track created by long-time collaborator Ludwig Göransson. Soft synth padding the track with a beat that matches the lack of urgency one might associate with a hot, lazy summer day.

“Lovely Day” – Bill Withers

I will always have a place in my heart for fellow West Virginia native Bill Withers. It works out that he is a supremely talented artist.

“Lovely Day” is a song I associate with summertime love. The rhythm bounces to the tune of deep romance while the melody evokes the best sunny, blue sky kind of day that make one feel invincible.

It’s a perfect track to take someone out on the dance floor too.

“High Horse” – Kasey Musgrave

Golden Hour is somewhat of a departure from Kasey Musgrave’s earlier albums in that it brings more of the country star’s musical tastes into the fold.

A pop beat drives “High Horse” but Musgrave’s soft voice dances over the rhythm accompanied by sparse guitar and bright strings make it shine.

The song is perfect for lamenting the loss of summer love.

“Sunlit Shoals” – Louie Zong

Louie Zong is a multi-talented individual.

You or your children might know Zong best from his work as a storyboard artist for the Cartoon Network original series We Bare Bears.

But he also is a pretty accomplished musician, as his extensive Spotify discography will attest.

And much of his music is short songs that seemingly attempt to create a scene in the listeners mind.

In “Sunlit Shoals” the tropical rhythms and  soaring melody transport the listener to walking along the warm sandbanks of a friendly island.

“Sunlit Shoals” is off the Beach album Zong put up on Spotify this year.

“Boat Drinks” – Jimmy Buffett

I did not understand the aura of Jimmy Buffett for the longest time. Why the songwriter of “Cheeseburger in Paradise” merited the devotion of millions escaped me.

Jimmy Buffett just seemed like an extremely chill older man who likes drinking in and around the ocean.

As I got older, however, I realized that’s the point. In this life you can either waste your time worrying about the success of others or you can just relax enjoy your own life, preferably somewhere warm with a drink in hand.

In conclusion: Volcano bangs and “Boat Drinks” specifically slaps in the summertime. Enjoy.