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The Review

The official student newspaper of St. John's School.

The Review

The official student newspaper of St. John's School.

The Review

Maverick Soundtrack: Top Songs of the Summer

Courtesy Lily Pesikoff
The Backroom Rumors play a gig for the release of their single “Ode to Dave Matthews.”

Another summer has come to an end, and the Mavs are back on campus. Some of us were at the beach, some were in the mountains. Some were in college training camps and some were interning. But no matter what we were doing, we had a soundtrack.

So what were the songs of our summer? 

I consulted Pitchfork, Billboard, and students to pick eight songs. Some are crowd favorites, some are from the depths of my rambling and extensive “driving with dad” mix, but all must have been released or discovered this year and have reasonably school-appropriate versions available. Lil Yachty will be missed. The following songs are, in no particular order, submitted for your approval.


Courtesy of Kylie Minogue (Fair Use)

“Padam Padam” by Kylie Minogue

With what is arguably her masterstroke, Minogue has crowned herself the first woman to have an album top the chart each of the past five decades. Adopted as an anthem of queer nightlife and empowerment, the heartbeat-driven single will continue to live past its bloom in the slang canon. With “Padam Padam,” Minogue epitomizes a movement of women that first gained musical traction in the 70s and continue to wow: Stevie Nicks, Bette Midler, Gina Birch, Diana Ross. We’re holding our breath to see what they’ll do next. 


“Rush” by Troye Sivan

“Rush” is a caffeinated pop canticle whose job is beach. A devoted anthem to summer, it’s a little predictable but still fun. It’s the perfect backdrop for a road trip, and the bass can thump along to your headache after a misguided decision to hit the surf. 


“Not Strong Enough” by boygenius

The supergroup and their album “the record” have taken the emotionally volatile demographic by storm. An aggressive assertion of self-acceptance, “Not Strong Enough” guides the listener through the highs and lows of the summer. Sometimes you feel lonely. Sometimes you feel on top of the world. boygenius is proof you can be both.


“Bad Love” by Dehd

Courtesy of Dehd (Fair Use)

Dehd’s brand-building wailer grew legs in an online movement spurred by the Bad Love Hotline, a feature on the band’s website that allows fans to anonymously record and share embarrassing romantic encounters in the form of a voicemail. “Bad Love” is like that — a greeting to the future that your mistakes are too far away to hear. Though the rest of the season could be called a letdown, the song’s all-too-brief feature in an episode of Outer Banks was representative of what summer should be: a celebration of possibility, and maybe a bit of irresponsibility, too.


Courtesy of MUNA (Fair Use)

“One That Got Away” by MUNA

The contemporary face of vengeful synth-pop has delivered with this single. An 80s groove backs a floaty, runway-style melody characteristic of summer classics like Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” or New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle.” No notes.




“Cruel Summer” by Taylor Swift

Lover has returned better than ever (without Brendon Urie). Feeling “Cruel Summer” was robbed of a proper single release due to the pandemic, Swift re-released the same recording four years later. Appreciated anew in an era defined by Eras, “Cruel Summer” reached No. 3 on June 20. Swifties are obliterating every streaming and spending record. With 146 shows across five continents, she’s earned it.


Courtesy of The Backroom Rumors

“(Did I Say) Goodbye Too Soon” by The Backroom Rumors

Half of Claremont Heir is back. Drummer Lily Pesikoff (‘22), guitarist Bo Farnell (‘22) and vocalist Evan Loftin have promised an album to appease the frothing fanbase they’ve accrued since the release of their first single. “(Did I Say) Goodbye Too Soon,” their second, is a foray into the more experimental. Both the song’s sound and message is distorted; Farnell shreds and screams along to a lament of doors closed and opportunities lost that somehow also makes the listener want to get up and dance. 


“vampire” by Olivia Rodrigo

Rodrigo’s return is more bitter than sour. She continues to admonish her younger self, but her new single is more self-aware than most sophomore projects. It’s worth mentioning that a lot of songs on this list are a little sad for the classic vacation discography. The depressed twinge creeping its way into pop suggests a return to the roots of the word “anthem.” Instead of an attitude of mindless celebration, a new era of feel-good music relies on acid-tongued reflection to call the listener to arms.


The Summer of ‘23 was different for everyone, but one thing is for sure: it’s over. So take whatever lessons you learned, people you met, and things you heard and apply them to the new school year. Minogue herself said what we’re all thinking: “I have had a holiday, and I’d like to take it up professionally.”

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About the Contributor
Lucy Walker
Lucy Walker, Assistant Online Editor-in-Chief
Lucy Walker ('25) joined The Review in 2021 as a freshman. She likes Big Salads and her second favorite animal is a shark.

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