It’s still August, but I listened to Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” several times the other day, thanks to a reader email proclaiming it “hands down the best feel-good song.” It appears on The Morning Summer 2022 Playlist, a collection of songs we put together based on reader suggestions. These songs have made you dance while driving, gotten you through breakups, soothed your crying babies and reminded you that this, too, shall pass.
I’m nostalgic for the mixtapes my friends and I made for each other in elementary school, with songs recorded clumsily off the radio. They were time capsules of feelings and moods, of semesters and seasons. I’ve always found the playlist a little too easy compared with the painstaking work of making a mixtape: trying to keep the clicking of the “record” and “stop” buttons between songs as unobtrusive as possible, the handwritten liner notes I inevitably smeared and had to do over (the lefty’s curse).
But as much as I miss mixtapes, I’m deeply in love with one innovation of the streaming era: the collaborative playlist. It’s an art project with limitless contributors, a way to easily gather the enthusiasms and inspirations from people all over the world. More than just a soundtrack, the collaborative playlist is an engine for discovery. (And rediscovery: I’d all but forgotten about They Might Be Giants’ “Birdhouse in Your Soul.”)
We received hundreds of readers’ contributions to our feel-good summer playlist. Lizzo’s “About Damn Time” was popular. For Crystal Hannan from Cornelius, Ore., it’s been her anthem during a challenging year. Joanna O. from Washington, D.C., loves “Silk Chiffon” by MUNA, featuring Phoebe Bridgers. “It’s a breezy, queer romantic bop that evokes summer and the excitement of meeting someone new,” she wrote.
Michelle Higgins in Haddon Heights, N.J., recommends “Don’t Wanna” and “Now I’m in It” by the Haim sisters. “These ladies are my yes vibe for the summer,” she wrote.
For Ridwan Khan in Houston, it’s “Music,” by Erick Sermon, featuring Marvin Gaye. “It lifts my spirits and takes me back to a simpler time in life, when all I had to worry about was having a fun-filled summer before I start college,” he wrote.
Kyle McVicker, a carpenter from Newport, R.I., listens to the mandolin compilation “Trattoria Italiana” on Spotify while he works. “The gaps between power tool screams are filled with something soothing and beautiful, gently guiding my adrenaline back down to earth,” he wrote.
Ashley Song from Lexington, Mass., shared “This Is A Life” by Son Lux, Mitski and David Byrne. It’s “quenching my summertime existential crisis as a rising high school senior,” she wrote.
And Jim Lin in Richardson, Texas, wrote, “When nations have summits or negotiations, ‘You Make My Dreams’ by Hall & Oates should be playing in the background. You can’t help smile and/or bop along joyously as it plays.”
My contribution to the playlist is “That’s Where I Am,” from Maggie Rogers’s recent album, “Surrender.” It’s the song I’ve listened to most this summer, easy to sing along to, with the refrain “It all works out in the end.” The whole album is irresistible. I agree with what Rogers told The Times last month: “Right now, the joy on the record feels like the greatest form of rebellion.”
THE WEEK IN CULTURE
Slow wage growth among middle- to upper-middle-income workers, like pharmacists, points to a larger shift that has made once sought-after jobs less rewarding.
A pregnant woman in Louisiana was told her fetus had a fatal condition, but doctors fearful of violating new bans would not perform an abortion.
Congressional districts in Manhattan and Brooklyn are holding an unusual August primary, but the voters are in the Hamptons.
The killing of Freya, a walrus who had gained fame this summer, polarized Norway and threatened to blight its nature-loving image.
Doctors are prescribing a cheap, longstanding baldness treatment in a new form: low-dose pills.
📺 “House of the Dragon” (Sunday): Three years have passed since we last saw King’s Landing. And whether or not you were satisfied with how “Game of Thrones” ended, you’re probably more than a little curious about the prequel series, which debuts tomorrow on HBO. Set almost 200 years before the time of Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen, “Dragon” focuses on a budding war of succession within the Targaryen family over who might assume the Iron Throne, that most uncomfortable and lusted-after piece of furniture. (Here’s a primer, if you want to brush up.)
🎧 “Cheat Codes” (Out now): The math is not particularly difficult: Take two great artists, put them together, magic. Here, you have the prolific musician Danger Mouse — half of the group Gnarls Barkley as well as a producer on albums by Gorillaz, the Black Keys, MF Doom and Adele — and the incomparable Black Thought, frontman for the Roots, delivering a late-summer gem of an album.
RECIPE OF THE WEEK
Peaches (white, donut and yellow), little green plums, purple pluots, freckled orange apricots and a whole lot of nectarines. That’s what’s on my kitchen counter right now, after an overly enthusiastic trip to the farmers’ market. I will eat through most of it standing over the sink in the next few days. Whatever’s left will find a happy home in pastry dough, baked into a gorgeous fruit galette. My favorite recipe is supremely adaptable. Just use whatever fruits you have on hand and adjust the sugar depending on how sweet they are. A mix of stone fruit is my favorite (which is how I justified my recent shopping spree), but late-summer berries are another terrific option. Then, save the recipe for winter; it works nearly as well with frozen fruit.
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Getting the timing right: Should renters move now, or wait?
Accusations of undervaluing: A home was appraised at $472,000 with a Black owner. With a white owner, it was valued at $750,000.
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GAME OF THE WEEKEND
New York Liberty vs. Chicago Sky, W.N.B.A. Playoffs: Early in the season, these teams were on opposite trajectories. The Sky, last season’s champions, were one of the best teams in the league; the Liberty started 1-7 and looked like one of the worst. But the Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu started playing like a superstar, and a late-season hot streak carried them into the playoffs. Now, after an upset win in Game 1, the Liberty have pushed the defending champs to the brink of elimination. Noon Eastern today, ESPN.
For more: Liberty fans explained why they stick with the team during hard times.
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