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Album of the Summer: Poolside "High Season"

Though the song of the summer has become a very large cultural phenomenon, the actual definition of it is quite vague. While Billboard has decided to use metrics and crown it based on streams, the fact that they, along with MTV, decided to give it to the BTS song “Butter” shows the lack of understanding for the nature of the award because no sane person was throwing on “Butter” as they rolled down the windows and headed to the beach. The tough thing about awarding the song of the summer is that it really is subjective to the person. Looking through a list of what are considered some of the former songs of the summer (I picked the least official list I could find:, some were obvious like Nelly’s “Hot In Herre” or “Crazy in Love”, some were cheesy like “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)” or “Despactio” and some were songs I can’t help but admitting to love like TLC’s “Waterfalls” or 2010’s “California Gurls”. The fact is, despite all these songs being true songs of the summer there were definitely some WTF’s like Matchbox Twenty’s “Bent” and “(Everything I do) I Do It For You” by Bryan Adams (I guess 91’ was a sad year) and more importantly, years where I had a differing opinion. Like in 2011 when “Party Rock Anthem” ruled the airwaves, “Pumped Up Kicks” was making its run and a song I remember much more that summer than the LMFAO wannabee EDM track. It’s the same thing with the 2017 summer where I was all about Portugal. The Man’s “Feel It Still” when people couldn’t get enough of “Despacito”. To each his own I guess.

So when Kenny and I got to talking about naming a song of the summer, we really didn’t have a good answer. It obviously wasn’t “Butter”, some publications were suggesting Olivia Rodrigo’s “Good 4 U” or “Leave the Door Open” by Silk Sonic. Stereogum went underground (at least for song of the summer) with Japanese Breakfast’s “Be Sweet” but all these songs were honestly not the best song by any of these artists this year so I think it really is just one of those years where it isn’t clear.

Oddly enough though, in our conversation, Kenny mentioned the new Poolside album as what he thought could be considered the album of the summer and I had to agree in the fact that I’d had the same thought before. Now, the main issue I have with designating this album the “Album of the Summer” is that I can’t honestly say that I’ve listened to it more than five or six times and the song/album of the summer is usually something you’ve had drilled into your brain over the course of three months but the radio is dead and I think that is an old definition because High Season has summer vibes for days. It’s a blend of disco beats and trippy samples that makes you want to chill by a pool or go for a sunset boat ride. It’s an album that makes Don Johnson look like an Eskimo. It’s an album that makes me think of the beach and those long summer days we endure in the sun because we can wash the taste of salt from our mouths with a beer and just be by the water. It’s an album made for back porches and open skies.

Now, summer is over, but there are still some last glimpses out there, so give yourself one last chance, to experience this album like it’s meant to be. Maybe it’s a car ride to the coast or a lake, maybe your buddy takes you on his boat and gives you the aux cord, just give it the right setting, throw on Poolside’s High Season and enjoy the last bit of the summer of 2021 to the perfect sonic experience.

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