Soundtrack to the end of the world: If I can’t have good times and bad times in the summer in the city

Graphic by Derin Savasan

Is my arm sore from my first dose of Pfizer or from getting sunburned at every available opportunity? Is the end of the world beginning to return to “normal” times, or are we all delusionally optimistic? Is summer around the corner, or will this godforsaken state treat us to another April snowstorm? This week, Tuna Margalit offers a fitting end to our regularly scheduled programming, imagining a near-future of summer and celebration. 

A constant topic of debate in my household is to what extent things will be normal next semester. Ever the optimist, I have stood firmly since the initial vaccine authorizations with the belief that we will be living like it’s pre-pandemic.

Obviously, I intend to follow whatever guidelines the CDC or Massachusetts outlines but if I can’t spend my first summer in Massachusetts livin’ it up in the city, I don’t know what I’ll do.

I write this on an abnormal day — white builds up in the corners of windows that should be refracting April yellow-red-orange glow —  but I know these days of light and sunroof-down drives with Spotify are near. My weather app says so. 

The return of the sun will clear the sinuses of snow, as summer hovers on the horizon. Play these songs as you learn to live again. 

‘If I Can’t’ by 50 Cent (2003)

In the late ’90s/early 2000s, 50 Cent, Eminem and Dr. Dre ran hip-hop. Eminem was known for his unique rapping voice and disturbing, though often funny lyricism, while Dre was known for his world-changing production. What 50 Cent brought to the table, then, was an incredible ability to match hard-hitting rap with melodic hooks.

Songs like “In Da Club,” “21 Questions” and “P.I.M.P.” from his iconic debut, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” (2003) may have topped charts, but “If I Can’t” is arguably the best on the album. If this song isn’t blowing your car speakers out the second you press play, you’re not playing it loud enough. 

‘Good Times Bad Times’ by Led Zeppelin (1969)

One minute into the first song off the first album of the greatest hard rock band ever and you’ve already heard enough to know that the combination of Robert Plant on vocals and harmonica, Jimmy Page on guitar, John Paul Jones on the bass and organ and John Bonham on drums is the stuff of legends. Take Plant’s advice when he sings, “I don’t care what the neighbors say,” and turn the volume up even more for this one. 

‘Summer in the City’ by The Lovin’ Spoonful (1966)

Not quite getting into the swing of things as abruptly as the other songs, “Summer in the City” works as a bit of a cool down. Maybe you just pulled up to your first downtown Boston red light and you’ve become slightly self-conscious of how your preferred music volume level may not match that of other people. 

Just kidding. F— that s—. It’s summer, you’re in the city and you’re (likely) celebrating the demise of COVID-19. Turn it to the maximum volume level, and take heed to the chorus’s advice: “Come on, come on, and dance all night / Despite the heat, it’ll be alright.”

You’re alive. You made it this far. You’re (hopefully) fully vaccinated. You deserve this. 


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