Summertime Pre-Game, 2017

Ten favorite non-2017 songs from April to June

For all that I complain about summer, it’s usually the season when I tend to discover a lot of new favorites. Last year’s batch turned out to be great, and looking back at that list brings me some good memories, so I hope I can say the same about whatever summer 2017 brings me. But before we go in, I wanted to share some song obsessions from the in-between months of April to June.

Here’s a list of 10 songs that didn’t make it to this playlist but deserved a mention from the past few months. If you want to see what I liked from the last three months, here’s the list for seasons loves of January–March.

“Akatsuki”

Babymetal (2013)

Su-Metal’s solo cuts remove an air of novelty from her group to deliver deep sincerity as much as honest skill. The latter drives home the former in the chorus of this B-side, where she crosses her heart to protect her love even if her body gives out — a compelling theme of the best Babymetal ballads.

“Unknown Journey IV”

Drexciya (2013)

Helena Hauff played this in her incredible mix for BBC Radio 1’s Essential Mix series this year. With so much subterranean techno queued, it was only a matter of time she played a Drexciya cut, and I had to hunt down which exact record from the Detroit legends was home to this funky melody.

“don’t forget me not”

Gang Parade (2016)

Like “WE ARE the iDOL” in the same album, crushing defeat felt by Gang Parade through their road to achieve their aspirations hits home. Though the group take the brutal experience in stride come the chorus, a cloud of self-doubt never quite clears, casting the song with one bittersweet shade.

“8-Bit Boy”

Natsume Mito (2015)

Bygone video-game flick Pixels might have got more hits in the U.S. had they followed Japan’s lead and hired Yasutaka Nakata to produce a promo single. Mito plays a perfect character in his 8-bit world, bridging the bubbly pop of his kawaii sound and the goofy silliness needed to pull off such a romance.

“Magic Mirror”

Seiko Oomori (2015)

Seiko Oomori’s best songs sing the life of nobodies trying to be somebody. But while she voices their misery in “Magic Mirror” as one of them, the punk-rocker also speaks back in the voice of the very artist they rely on. With a full understanding of the power of song, she hands in one noble mission statement.

“Touch My Body”

Sistar (2014)

It’s no wonder Giorgio Moroder called Sistar to collaborate. The four were responsible for some of the most joyous disco cuts celebrating womanhood on the dance floor. “Touch My Body” is all invitation — but all on their terms. And it’s a brand of self-confidence I’ll surely miss from pop.

“Go! Go! Heaven”

Speed (1996)

The unbreakable optimism carried by these young teens is a quality to envy — and damn, do their vocals possess the intensity to back it up too. They set out to reach the promised land no matter the obstacle. For these kids to even have faith it’s out there give me nothing but inspiration.

“Blue”

Sugababes (2002)

The sense of dread spun by their ghastly harmonies as well as the beat’s computer glitches and dank bass line belong wholly in Sugababes’ England. While the acoustic-guitar chorus and the trio’s hip-hop cadence owe a sum to The Writing’s on the Wall, the dark vulnerability is all theirs.

“Everyday at the Bus Stop”

Tommy February6 (2002)

From the music to her crushes, Tommy February6 writes one vibrant world of a shy teen girl. She opens this particular love letter with a riff that sounds like a toy keyboard’s demo reel of a B-side from Madonna’s self-titled debut, and the cheapness of it all only makes my heart swoon more.

“Twiggy”

Wednesday Campanella (2015)

Kenmochi Hidefumi tries his hand at a more club record, a beat genre Japan’s rich digital underground provides by the tons. With the speedy track lasting barely two minutes, Kom_I, meanwhile, jets out the door, ready to embrace the city in high fashion — just like the song’s namesake.

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