July 6, 2009

Summer Songs: #10 "Good Guys & Bad Guys"

There are mixes for all sorts of occasions—birthdays, dance parties, halloween, the new year—but there's really only one season that deserves the many hours of song searching and shuffling: the summertime. Whether you're drinking a cool beer on the beach or by the pool, driving down the highway with your windows open, or sitting on a rocking chair on your porch, summer beckons for songs seemingly wide open with loose rhythms, casually picked guitars and melodies suited for humming or singing along to.

Camper Van Beethoven, an underground college-friendly alternative rock band from the 1980s, released one of the most simplistic and pleasing songs of the era with the ska-inflected folk tune "Good Guys & Bad Guys." Off the band's 1986 self-titled album, the song shuffles along a comical narrative filled with simple observations ("If you didn't live here in America / You'd probably live somewhere else") that culminates with an American pastime:

So let's get high while the radio's on
Just relax and sing a song
Drive your car up on the lawn
Let me play your guitar

The chorus, part nostalgic for older listeners and part instruction for younger ones, is best with the dial on 10 and a caravan of voices singing along. Road trip anyone?

Camper Van Beethoven - "Good Guys & Bad Guys" (from Camper Van Beethoven)

Camper Van Beethoven

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