Thank you, Snowy Owls. I needed this.
Have you ever noticed how summer is filled with false endings? It keeps trying to end before it’s supposed to. Stereogum declared a “song of the summer” just 11 days after the season started. 11 days. What the hell? Can’t we get a little actual summertime to test drive a few? God forbid we agree on an anthem retrospectively. You blink your eyes and peaches are disappearing, Sam Adams Octoberfest is popping up at Kroger and — worst of all — department stores start running back-to-school sale commercials. Those hapless meter maids of advertising. Nothing pissed me off more when I was a kid. They’d always show up when you were trying to wring the last drops of freedom out of summer break, folding a bitter future in with the sweet, fleeting present. Assholes.
In between, annual traditions come and go, making room for the special emptiness that moves in when there are too many days left to start counting down until next time. That feeling washed over me this past Saturday when Mrs. YHT and I started our traffic-doomed drive back from beach week. Those seven days offer a crucial counterbalance to all sorts of weightiness that builds up during the course of the other 358, and leaving the Outer Banks always feels like I’m starting over from scratch, no matter how many long, sunny days are left before fall starts killing all the bugs, green and daylight.
And don’t get me started on turning 30 in less than two weeks.
So. With all that going on, you can imagine my excitement when I came back from vacation to find that The Snowy Owls were about to release something called the Summer EP, which featured songs called “Feels Like Summer,” “What Summer Is For,” “All Summer Long” and “Next Summer.” Now that is what I’m talking about!
The EP hit the interweb on Tuesday, and ever since, it’s been reminding me that summer’s not done until we say it’s done. From the breezy hopefulness of the season’s start to the sober resignation that comes with its conclusion, the Summer EP covers the whole enchilada — like a fuzzy, distorted Vivaldian cycle that spends all its time on the best part of the year.
Most remarkable is how I gravitated toward the last song, “Next Summer.” That’s the one I should want to avoid. It’s the darkest — the one I see as representative of the post-beach void and those days in September that are summery in name only. Nevertheless, the resolute, repeating guitar riff, optimistic lyrics — “There’s always next year/And better luck” — and bonus chords at the very end all make me want to hold my head high and venture forward, regardless of what the calendar says. And that’s the real gift of songs that capture a particular season or feeling as well as these do. They’re always there. It can be the middle of February, you put in your earbuds, and BAM — it’s summer again. They’re like precious ammunition you can use to fight whatever it is you need to fight in order to get through the seemingly endless hours, days, weeks and months that separate you from your own version of the Outer Banks.
Like I said — thank you, Snowy Owls. I needed this.
Listen below to “Next Summer” and click here to buy the Summer EP over at Bandcamp.