The Search for Summer’s Song: Wide Awake

The Search for Summer’s Song: Wide Awake

Or perhaps this is summer’s song: “Wide Awake” by Parquet Courts. And not the recorded version on their newest album Wide Awake, but their performance on the April 24 episode of Ellen’s eponymous daily television program.

Maybe summer is the convergence of irony and earnestness, heat and the protection from it. I used to hate the beach like I used to hate daily television talk shows, but now I love the beach and I love daily television talk shows because I have always loved Ellen.

In what is probably now refurbished and made into another Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, there was once a ride at Disney World’s Epcot Center, a science-forward ride with a long, inert, chatty intro featuring Ellen Degeneres and Bill Nye The Science Guy.

It was called “Ellen’s Energy Adventure” and it was boring. It was not kinetic. But it served a purpose: to be boring and to be a respite from the endless sensory assault of Disney. I was very young when I first experienced Ellen’s Energy Adventure but I understood its importance as a break from the din and the shadow of Spaceship Earth, the geodesic centerpiece of Epcot. I knew I was sensitive, and Ellen accepted me for my sensitivity.

Perhaps this is summer’s song: a performance by one of my favorite bands in the unlikeliest of places.

“Wide Awake” by Parquet Courts is the penultimate result of my search for summer’s song. Last week’s result was “Magic City” by Gorillaz.

The Search for Summer’s Song: Magic City

The Search for Summer’s Song: Magic City

Perhaps this is summer’s song, when the varnish has come off your seasonal gig, when the latest in subhuman offal has demonstrated his inability to order a sandwich during the lunch rush.

“What can I get you today?” you ask.

And he says, “First, I’d like mayo.”

Perhaps this is summer’s song, when the rain comes and stays, when the million tourists of coastal Maine forget basic etiquette, when someone will start an order with a condiment instead of the goddamn protein or vegetable that anchors the sandwich. Even if they started with the bread—though incorrect—that would at least be forward movement.

Perhaps this is summer’s song, when your life has come to this: another BLT ordered with no tomato, another reuben on white bread instead of rye, another gluten free wrap dissolving into dust at the slightest touch.

“Magic City” by Gorillaz is another result in my search for summer’s song, now nearing its end. The last result was “65 & Ingleside” by Chance the Rapper.