A Spring Soundtrack: Sun Songs
KPSU DJ EZspinz shares a new playlist for spring

Photo courtesy of Chandra Oh

My intention with this soundtrack is to provide songs that honour our special star, Sun. She is something we miss dearly during our cold Winter months, and is something we soak in during our Spring/Summer months. With sunny Spring days hopefully on their way, I wanted to curate a playlist that you could listen to while enjoying your rays. I hope that with the range of different artists and energies—“Pretties,” “Oldies but Goodies,” and “Bump These”—that the soundtrack embodies the ever changing essence of time and season. 

The purpose of the accompanying analyses is to contextualize these songs into a conversation about artistic choice and the impact those choices have on a listener.  

I hope you enjoy listening/reading. And more importantly, I hope you enjoy the Sun.  

Listen to “A Spring Soundtrack: Sun Songs” on Spotify

Scene 1: PRETTIES    

Track 1: “WE SAW THE SUN!” by Lil Yachty 

Lil Yachty released his newest project, Let’s Start Here (a must-listen to if you haven’t already) in January of this year. Sonically, this album has created waves; not only with the existence of Yachty’s new sound, but waves within the music community itself. Musician and music journalist, Questlove, posted a praise of Yachty’s project stating, “after about 3 listens (and I thought I’d NEVER say this—& not because ‘I didn’t expect this from Lil Yachty’—but just in general I didn’t expect this from MUSIC)” and then goes on to claim, “[the album] might be the most surprising transition of any music career I’ve witnessed in a min, especially under the umbrella of hip hop.” Whether if or when you listen to Yachty’s project, you may not agree with Questlove’s assertions; however, opening your ears and expanding considerations holds a vital role in gaining new perspectives. Acknowledging Yatchy’s musical transition allows us as listeners to refocus how we engage with artists and their work. “WE SAW THE SUN!” sounds like a long road trip with the sun shining. The spatial sound elements of the track extend and reflect the possibilities that Spring has to offer. Also, the Bob Ross monologue for the outro perfectly reiterates the importance of opening ourselves up to possibilities/taking chances. Love that.  

Track 2: “Sunshine” by Steve Lacy (feat. Fousheé)

Speaking of making waves, I’m pretty sure when Steve dropped Gemini Rights during summer (July 15, 2022), fans—and those not yet knowing they were a fan—went crazy. I feel like Steve is kind of an underdog, but this project really put him on the map, or should I say the charts, as he lands the No. 7 spot on the Billboard top ten (Folk). Also, extending the notion of “being put on the map,” Fousheé is going UP!! I love that Steve collaborated with her for this single; definitely check out her 2021 debut album “time machine”—tracks 3, 6, and 8 are my favourites.  “Sunshine” feels so soft, and was an absolute staple for my ‘22 Summer soundtrack, which will now continue into Spring. The drum pattern intro—iconic! Side bar: I just saw a comment on the internet that talks about the drums mirroring the drumline intro for Erykah Badu’s “On & On.” What a perfect moment to add to our references. “Sunshine” showcases unconditional love, and the reassurance of always being around for those you care about. So sweet. 

Track 3: “Sunlight” by Your Grandparents 

This might be one of my favourite intros off this playlist. First, I love the distorted vocal— “woah”—that begins the track. Then suddenly the listener emerges into a Spring-sounding setting of birds chirping. This world building evokes such an ethereal moment of engagement; the imagery acts as a lovely reminder of what nature has to offer, both sonically (bird chirps) and visually (sunlight). I appreciate any song that stimulates sensations, and this smooth, subtle track does just that. Another reason why I adore this song and why I chose it for this soundtrack is for the hook that repeatedly sings, “when the sunlight’s peekin thru my window.” This phrase resonates with me because I am a natural-light-in-the-house enthusiast; Springtime calls for blinds up and windows open. As much as I love being outside, days spent inside are just as prevalent. If and when you find yourself enjoying a slow day at home, I hope the sun peeks thru and you indulge in some tunes.  

Track 4: “Texas Sun” by Khruangbin, Leon Bridges 

A Khruangbin x Leon Bridges collaboration never misses! This song is from their Texas Sun EP (2020); they also have their other EP titled Texas Moon (2022). Side bar: my favourite song off the latter EP is “Chocolate Hills.” I specifically chose to place “Texas Sun” before the transition to the ‘Oldies but Goodies’ section of the soundtrack because I think Leon’s voice lends itself to soul singers of the 50s/60s (especially with his debut album Coming Home). Leon’s monologue moment at 3:09 reveals his character and extends notions of storytelling—an element that I think he does very well throughout his work. 


Track 5: “Feels Like the Sun” by Donnie & Joe Emerson 

I recently discovered this duo by finding the song “Baby”—the third track off their 1979 album Dreamin’ Wild. I fell in love with their vocals on “Baby” because of how soft, and emotive they feel. As for “Feels Like the Sun,” the instrumental track does indeed feel bright and lively just like the Sun itself. I associate Springtime and warm weather with fun, and this song embodies the upbeat sensations that both the Sun and Springtime exude.

Track 6: “Sun Is Shining” by Bob Marley & The Wailers 

“Sun is shining, the weather is sweet” 

I think I have a special, personalized attachment to this song because growing up in California, my family raised me on Marley’s music. There is something unique about the specific pairing of reggae and hot, sunny weather. So of course, I felt the urge and need to include at least one reggae track, and this one seemed most fitting due to the title. Threading the previous themes I have mentioned—changing times and taking chances—I think Bob Marley’s persona undoubtedly presents ideas of rebellion/revolution that are rooted in the desire for change. Spring time conjures a sense of awakening, as does Marley’s music. Although not directly in the lyrics of this song, I don’t think the motifs of social justice and liberation can easily be separated from Marley’s performances. His sound and identity forever connects to his ethos.  

Track 7: “Sunny” by Bobby Hebb 

Bobby Hebb released his soulful jazz track,“Sunny,” in 1966. The song then went on to be performed and recorded by a variety of artists. Icons such as Marvin Gaye, Wes Montgomergy, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and Cher all created their own rendition of this sweet sounding song. I have listened to those versions, as well as the plethora of other covers; however, I chose Hebb’s for this soundtrack because of the pioneering role he played in the existence and popularization of the song’s transcendence across genres and subgenres. “Sunny” is an easy and simple listen that reflects gratitude and love—the essence that I find myself gravitating toward during sunny days. 

Track 8: “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles 

This one is a given. A timeless track. I’ll let the energy of the song speak for itself.  Side bar: relating back to Hebb, the 1966 Beatles’ tour included Hebb as an opening act!  

Track 9: “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” by Stevie Wonder 

Stevie’s sincere disposition creates a sentimental song, worth belting to someone you love. The sunshine metaphor exists as a consistent figurative element to the genre of love songs, and Stevie exemplifies this motif in an explicit, affectionate way. His collaborative vocalists—Jim Gilstrap, Lani Groves, and Gloria Barely—enhance the soul of the piece by adding their own distinct sound.   

Track 10: “Everybody Loves The Sunshine – 9th Wonder Remix” by Roy Ayers Ubiquity, 9th Wonder 

Just bees and things and flowers”

Ayers’ 1976 song holds a significant place in pop culture. While most people are familiar with this original version, I chose the Verve Records 2008 release/remix because of the production by 9th Wonder. Recently, I have really been enjoying listening to 9th Wonder beats, and I thought that this remix would be a nice addition to the soundtrack. Hopefully this track will shift your habitual, typical way of hearing the original, and offer a new perspective to accompany the Ayers sound we already know and adore. 

Scene 3: BUMP THESE 

Track 11: “Catch The Sun” from Queen & Slim: The Soundtrack by Lil Baby 

“If we take off now, we can catch the sun” 

This has been one of my favourite songs ever since the 2019 release of “Queen & Slim.” My ideal way to listen to this song is in the car—as that is my preferred way for most songs. I think the setting of a car fits this track’s essence because of the distinct presence of the blue Pontiac Catalina that the main characters ride in the film (Kashema). More specifically, listening to this song would most fit during your drive to actually go catch sunset. Watching the sunset is one of my go-to activities—no matter the season—but when that Spring equinox hits, it hits different. Seeing sunset around 7 or 8pm makes the days longer, which means more time with Sunshine. This song is your reminder to take a drive, solo or with a loved one, and go catch the Sun—preferably with windows down and speakers loud. 

Track 12: “SUNDOWN TOWN” by Vince Staples 

Sunset Season!!!

Play this one after Lil Baby’s song, and keep your speakers bumpin’. Short but sweet, Vince’s 2:30 runtime delivers a nice flow over a steady beat. I adore Vince’s love for California; his past two projects really showcase the admiration/appreciation for his city.  Despite not currently being able to drive the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway), I think PDX still offers its own unique sense of scenery. My go-to “sundown” spot is council crest park—preferably sitting on the grass/benches during the warmer days, but also posting up in the car on colder days. Always have music playing. Sunset and sounds—one of the prettiest pairings. 

Track 13: “Sunshine” by Latto feat. Lil Wayne, Childish Gambino 

Letting the “sunshine” shine on you is so important when attracting metaphysical light and then reflecting that sunshine back into the world. I love this track because of Latto’s expressive attitude toward not letting the bullshit phase her. I listen to this song whenever I need that reminder. Aside from the feeling I receive from this track, the beat’s crazy and the features, fire. A feel good song, for a feel good time(s). 

Track 14: “SUN CAME OUT” by Gunna 

Gunna’s albums have offered Hip Hop culture a solid and consistent release of hits that bump. His 2020 project, WUNNA, includes a range of bangers; some of my favourites being “COOLER THAN A BITCH,” “MET GALA,” ‘NASTY GIRL / ON CAMERA,” and “DOLLAZ ON MY HEAD.” My favourite part of this song is the first part of the chorus; “The sun came out (The sun came out) / I went and bought a drop-top (Yeah) /Party on the block (Party on the block) / Lookin’ like a car lot (Yeah-yeah, ooh).” Anytime anyone mentions a drop top, I’m all for it; it’s a dream to ride in a classic car drop top. My dream car is a 1957 turquoise Chevy Bel Air; although, I feel like a 1970 Eldorado Cadillac may be more fitting for this song and the other ‘bump these’ tracks. 

Track 15: “Sunshine” by Tom Misch 

Tom Misch is so groovy! He is one of my top UK artists in addition to Loyle Carner, Yussef Dayes, Little Simz, and Sam Wise. UK jazz/hip hop/rap strongly makes me want to travel abroad to explore London’s music scene. I feel like Misch’s more recent projects tend to reach audiences more than his earlier work; however “Sunshine,” released as a single in 2015, stands as one of his most fun songs. It’s a bop for sure. 

Track 16: “Island In The Sun” by Weezer 

This song is so early 2000s. It may be too young now to have a huge, lasting impression on pop culture, but I think as a kid who grew up during the 2000s it definitely stands as an iconic track that I associate with many nostalgic memories. “Island In The Sun” draws listeners in with its catchiness, or at least I feel that’s what it did after its release. When I listen to this song, it makes me super grateful that I lived in San Diego for as long as I did, and that experiencing beach days was so easily accessible. I realize much of my listening tendencies rely on the specificity of space—whether it be in the car, at the park watching sunset, or at the beach—I always connect the two entities of sound and space. 

This soundtrack is a compilation of favourites—songs, films, cars, locations, experiences. Springtime exists as a moment of awakening through appreciation. It can and should be a time when we indulge in our favourites. Music is my way of connecting to all that is around me, both places and people.

To listen to a live debut of this soundtrack tune into PSU’s college radio, KPSU.  

WHEN : Thursday 4/13 @8-9PM

WHERE : https://kpsu.org

WHO : EZspinz

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