Damn, it's hot. And cold. And hot again. May gray makes you misty, then the sun breaks through, shiny and new and full of promise, reminding you that sometimes, the anticipation of a coming sultry summer can be every bit as delicious as summer itself. Light through yonder windshield breaks, but in May, you can still neglect to put up your sunshade and grip your steering wheel with impunity. That won't be true come July.
Spring fever means feeling anxious to peel off some layers and get reacquainted with the feeling of bare skin under blue skies, but do it slowly. And keep a sweater at the ready, because at any moment, a cool breeze could come along and temper your bit-champing. Spring can feel like a safety zone, but it can also feel like an endless, flirtatious tease. Down, fella. Summer will be here soon enough. Meanwhile, let's just savor the present moment with these Seven Songs for Spring:
Prince, “Purple Rain”
Spring fever is the perfect excuse for fucking up a perfectly good friendship by tacking on a “with benefits” suffix or by messing with someone you know damn good and well is already taken. Prince, if you really never wanted to be a weekend lover, then you wouldn't have packed all those purple condoms in your purse.
Donna Summer, “Spring Affair”
This feather-light concoction of airy album-filler is anything but memorable, but it's a pleasant way to spend three minutes, and sometimes in the spring, three minutes is all you have.
Rilo Kiley, “Does He Love You?”
No daisy petal picking is necessary to answer this song's title query — he loves you not. This tale of an extramarital affair includes a California transplant's lament of our region's alleged seasonlessness: “I guess it's spring, I didn't know, it's always seventy-five with no melting snow.” But people who complain that California doesn't have seasons just aren't paying enough attention. How can you not have noticed the Jacarandas? Oh, it's because you were too busy fooling around with your friend's husband.
Landesman and Wolf, “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most”
Even the anguish of failed romance is somehow made lovelier by spring. Ella is incomparable, but there are many other strong versions of this tune worth looking into, including Rickie Lee Jones' pitch-perfect rendition that serves up all of this song's sweet sorrow on a silver platter.
Simon and Garfunkel, “The 59th Street Bridge Song”
Only Simon and Garfunkel could get away with demanding that a lamppost recite poetry to them, and present that demand in a sympathetic manner.
The Friends of Distinction, “Grazin' In The Grass”
The lyrics to this song are reminiscent of the deep insights comprehensible only to two close friends who've decided to spend a springtime Saturday dropping acid and marveling at the world together. “Everything here is so clear, you can see it? Everything here is so real, you can feel it! It's real, so real, so real, so real, so real, so real!”
Tori Amos, “In The Springtime Of His Voodoo”
Amos' falsetto sometimes makes the lyrics difficult to decipher on the first listen, but if you haven't got a lyrics sheet, just watch her lips and her hips and you'll more than get the idea. Warp speed, Mr. Sulu, warp speed.