It’s a weird seasonal affliction—I can’t go near this blow-it-out issue of Seattle Met without having the lyrics to a song of yesteryear lodge in my brain.
In this month’s exploration of nautical life (“A Shipshape Guide to Boating in Seattle”), senior editor Allison Williams examines yacht culture and daffy Lake Union sailboat races—she even tracked down an attorney who commutes via kayak. What she did not do was include any references to “I’m on a Boat,” the viral SNL video that celebrates (I mean, really celebrates) the exhilaration of leaving shore. As references go, it’s a wee bit on the nose and more than 10 years old. That sure didn’t stop me from singing it to myself on repeat.
In my defense, a reliably sun-drenched stretch in Seattle can inspire similar levels of euphoria. And society’s collective triumph over the bleakness of winter is the stuff catchy anthems are made of. Back in the late ’90s, the season inspired pop trio LFO’s hit “Summer Girls,” its lyrics equal parts cliches of adolescent lovin’ and non sequiturs so catchy you can’t unhear them: “New Kids on the Block had a bunch of hits. Chinese food makes me sick.”
This gleefully banal earworm lay dormant in my brain, until our guide to reveling in the season (“78 Ways to Make the Most of a Seattle Summer”) dislodged it. I hummed those stupid verses while reading drafts. I hummed them unloading the dishwasher at night. I hum them still, and fear I won’t stop until the rain sets in this fall.
Mercifully, our summer compendium includes associate editor Stefan Milne’s playlist from local artists; Tacocat’s joyful melodies can override even the most persistent ’90s chestnut. Failing that, enough frozen rosé (“In Seattle, Frosé Is Here to Stay”) should obliterate those couplets, posthaste.
This issue’s biggest lesson on the life-altering power of music doesn’t come from an ode to girls that wear Abercrombie and Fitch. Editor at large James Ross Gardner’s story about the Tacoma Refugee Choir (“A Song of Shadow and Light”) and its members’ journeys through loss and unrest to perform at citizenship ceremonies and civic events, will stay with me long after whatever song proves the summer jam of 2019 has faded into memory.