JULY MIX by Amelia Gray

Summertime Never Gonna Die Pool Party Forever Mix

The best pool party I ever attended began with buckets of booze mixed with frozen strawberries, included my buddy Mike trying to find his cell phone in the shallow end, and ended with a group walk to watch fireworks on 6th and Lamar. To reenact this pool party, you’ll need five or six girls in bikinis, four or five bros in board shorts, three small dogs, straw hats, sunscreen, hot dogs, the aforementioned booze, an iPhone you don’t mind destroying, hidden fireworks, and the following mix:

1. In the Summer Time — Mungo Jerry

The ideal summer mix starts by setting the tone: there will be no bitching, either self-directed or directed towards others. Cheap hot dogs taste better off the grill. Women, you are lovely creatures who can express much with a hip shake. Gentlemen, you got women you got women on your mind. Everyone, apply your sunscreen.

2. Lovely Day — Bill Withers

A little breezy, a little funky. A well-iced club soda with a ton of cut lemon and lime in it. Dip your feet in the water, pick your teeth with one of those tiny drink umbrellas. Is there a hammock? Get next-level on that hammock. Realize that Bill Withers holds his notes for eight bars at a time at the end of this song and that’s what summer is: one long, joyous resolved chord.

3. Highway 61 Revisited — Bob Dylan

This mix doubles as a good road trip collection, since even if you’re getting next-level on a hammock, you’re thinking of the open road, bobbing your head, turning off the a/c to get over the mountain passes, taking the car out of gear to roll down into some quiet town, tapping your fingers on the steering wheel.

4. Mixed Bizness — Beck

The dancing portion of this pool party begins. Please believe that Beck will always be a good choice, but you have to be careful not to get too far into nostalgia. Songs like ‘Loser’ and ‘Where it’s At’ could throw your guests introspection. Fortunately, nobody’s got close ties to Mixed Bizness, one of the purest of the Beck party songs.

5. Give Up the Funk — Parliament Funkadelic

A natural funk transition is made into Give Up the Funk. At our never-ending pool party, the funk is given up at all corners. Ladies are encouraged to hold two hands in front of their bodies and perform a shoulder shimmy. The concept of turning this mother out is deeply explored. Things are heating up. Text latecomers to the party and tell them to bring ice.

6. Country Grammar — Nelly

Remember that shimmy the ladies performed in the previous track? That’s what we call foreshadowing. At this point, everyone needs to find a part of their body or attitude that can most effectively shimmy. A finger shimmy is just as effective as a booty shimmy if you perform it with the same intensity of focus.

7. Hello Good Morning — Diddy/Dirty Money/TI

This might be the first song on the mix in a minor key, which I know is a ballsy move for a pool party, but Rick Ross is my sister city and ignoring him on a summer jam mix is like ignoring the fact that your cell phone just fell into the pool. This song has a cool breakdown about halfway through. Literally cold. Has the ice arrived yet? Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen if you’ve been swimming.

8. Just a Little Bit — Kids Of 88

This is the highest intensity moment of the party, which, though it is a summer pool party, should include some intensity. This song is like a popsicle melting on your thigh: very inconvenient during business hours, perfect poolside. As an added bonus, everyone gets a chance to remember that they’re not at work and maybe fantasize about never again returning to work, starting a company that specializes in pool parties.

9. Get Some — Lykke Li

The cell phone is disassembled on a beach towel but things will never be the same. Fortunately, the beat goes on, sex continues to sell, another round of hot dogs goes on the grill, a roommate arrives unexpectedly with a suitcase of beer to a round of applause. Ward off the inevitable feeling of naptime with a little more dancing.

10. Sultans of Swing — Dire Straits

Here’s another road trip song, which features Mark Knopfler offering compliments to musicians real and imagined. Positive vibes and cool guitar riffs dominate this song, keeping you in a fine mood even if you just realized you forgot bug spray and your calves are going to be bite-pocked through September.

11. Magnificent — Rick Ross

We’re stepping back from the dance party a little bit. It’s time to stand waist-deep in the pool, crawl back to the hammock. Party hosts, bring out a bowl of fruit. Party goers, toast to unbelievably opulent futures. On a related note, the video for ‘Magnificent’ is cool because it features Rick Ross talking to a horse and then patting the horse affectionately.

12. Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes — Paul Simon

The rocking hammock, the water under a sun-warmed floatie, the sun hat tipped over your eyes. The flavor of this song is pineapple. Someone lights a sparkler and makes a slow lap around the yard.

13. Cruisin — Smokey Robinson

If your goal as a party host of the never-ending pool party is to get someone pregnant by the end of the day, stop the mix here and just put Cruisin’ on repeat for the next hour. Nobody will notice the repetition. This will absolutely work.

14. Easy — Commodores

Ending is never easy, but ending with ‘Easy’ makes the ending easier. This is the kind of song that gets people linking arms and swaying, or toasting each other in slow motion, or combing their hair and pinning it up. If you took the Smokey Robinson detour, the sun should be setting by the time you get to the Commodores, and it’s time to look for fireworks and a quiet walk home and an early bed.

— Amelia Gray is the author of AM/PM (Featherproof Books) and Museum of the Weird (FC2), for which she won the 2008 Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize. Her first novel, THREATS, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Her writing has appeared in Tin House, American Short Fiction, McSweeney’s, and DIAGRAM, among others. Find more at ameliagray.com or on Twitter @grayamelia.

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