Superchunk: "This Summer"

Single (2012)

By Maura McAndrew | 29 June 2012

When we were kids taking our regular summer road trip from Illinois to Pennsylvania, my brother and I would often entertain ourselves by trying to determine the “song of the summer.” (This was a pre-teen window when we could stand to listen to top 40; on oldies stations it is always, inexplicably, “Build Me up Buttercup.”) After many hours in the car, flipping the dial to the top 40 stations in each region, it was usually a pretty easy call to make: the “song of the summer” was the one you couldn’t avoid, playing on a seeming endless loop, and even if you hated it on first listen, you’d come around after eight hours in the car. Now that I’m older and snobbier and can’t stand autotune, I’m no longer up on America’s choice of summer song. But I always have my own, in feeling if not in name. Sometimes I know right away what it will be, sometimes it takes awhile; sometimes it’s an old favorite and others it’s brand new.

I have a feeling that the members of Superchunk understand this sentiment, because their new one-off single “This Summer” has “song of the summer” written all over it. With characteristic energy, they pretty much nail it from the exuberant guitar and vocal down to the photo on the 7” sleeve: sunlight reflecting off a leather seat, evoking so many hot, sticky days. It begins with a buzzing guitar, handclaps, and Mac McCaughan declaring, “This summer / We won’t regret what we cannot know.” From there it builds into a full-on sunshine assault of gleeful power-pop, McCaughan’s lyrics capturing the loose, meandering adventures we all dream of when the weather turns warm. “Come and waste this summer with me,” he implores us. And who wouldn’t want to? It’s an age-old formula, but somehow Superchunk makes it fresh. Maybe “This Summer” won’t be playing top 40 stations any time soon, but you’d be wise to add it to your summer road trip playlist.