In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing. This week, in honor of the actual beginning of the season, we’re picking our favorite summer songs.
This one might be a little on the nose—at least it doesn’t have “summer” right in the title, I guess—but there’s no sweeter summer song than Wilco’s “Heavy Metal Drummer.” It’s a nostalgia trip, but its longing is more than tempered by its joy—a bouncy beat and jangly guitar accompany a simple lyric: “I sincerely miss those heavy metal bands / I used to go see on the landing in the summer.” There’s nothing more at play lyrically than a whimsical thoughts about a simpler time: A girl falls in love with the drummer, KISS covers are played, and things are “beautiful and stoned.” The song sits in the middle of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, the band’s breakthrough album—in, strangely, both a musical and commercial sense—and it serves as a sort of bubbly tonic to what is sometimes a heavy listen. But it works perfectly, both as part of the album and on pretty much any playlist you’d care to make, from “Summer Jamz 2002” to “Smart Jangle Pop From Chicago.” (Lord, I hope nobody’s ever made that one.) Here’s a ridiculous video that some kids made for “Heavy Metal Drummer.”