More than 20 years ago, a friend made an unexpectedly reassuring comment during a game of pickup basketball. He mentioned that The Cars' "Magic" was his "song of the summer." Now, the tune opens with the Ric Ocasek singing "Summer. It turns me upside down. Summer, summer, summer. It's like a merry-go round." So maybe it's an obvious choice. But what was reassuring was that I had been selecting my own "song of the summer" for years, but felt the process was a little, I don't know, nerdy? Ah, but now I had at least one comrade. I also used to make a mix tape of fun, up-tempo tunes to play while driving during the summer months. The list rotated from year to year, but always included this.

This time of year, lots of arts lists give you stuff "of the summer." Movies, books, CDs, concert tours. instead of focusing on stuff that'll be new this summer, The Beat is going to get to work on a CD-length list of "song of the summer" worthy tunes. We've got work to do.