flickr/ jo zimny

As the last days of August dwindle by, there seems no better time to reflect on the songs that have seen the Varsity team through the holidays. Such a list ended up being rather more eclectic than anticipated, covering everything from the classical greats, to art-pop, to Swedish dance music. However, we hope that such a range will suit whatever mood is needed for your own personal soundtrack of the summer.

“[the] refrain speaks to the desire to throw off bodily constraints during these somewhat warmer months”

Maddy Fisher [Music Editor]

Caroline Polachek - “Bunny is a Rider”

Given my strong distaste for whistling in songs (I blame Jason Derulo), I was originally apprehensive about this new track from experimental pop singer Caroline Polachek. However, it is quirks like whistling, along with baby gurgles and staccato vocals, that make this latest single so charming. In particular, the repeated ‘I’m so non-physical’ refrain speaks to the desire to throw off bodily constraints during these somewhat warmer months and live a true transcendent girl summer.

Caroline Polachek's latest offering 'Bunny is a Rider' is an exuberant summer anthemYOUTUBE/ CAROLINE POLACHEK

Tilda Butterworth [Photography Editor]

Black Honey - “Crowded City”

“Crowded City” has been at the top of my Spotify On Repeat for the whole of July and it looks like it’s going to remain there in August. Its sound encapsulates the feeling of summer in a post-lockdown city, and is the ideal accompaniment for both park picnics and solitary nights on the tube crossing London. I particularly enjoy the contrast between the grungy verses and the explosive, catchy chorus, which perfectly balance despondency and euphoria.


Nadya Miryanova [Varsity Writer]

Elgar - “Chanson de matin”

Originally composed for violin and piano, “Chanson de Matin” was later orchestrated by the English composer as a brighter companion piece to his more sombre “Chanson de Nuit”. The piece’s beautiful, memorable melody makes it the ideal accompaniment to a morning cup of coffee.


Joe Bray [Music Staff Writer]

Björk - “Unison”

Revisiting an artist’s discography is always something I’ve found somewhat difficult, the thrill of a fresh era having passed. That being said, the closing track to Bjork’s Vespertine (2001) has been an obsession this summer. Very rarely do I feel a song is perfect. Yet the innocent melody, intricate production, soaring vocals and expansive strings leads to one conclusion; this song is a masterpiece.

"Unison" is a haunting tour de force from BjörkYOUTUBE/ björk

“the song... has a way of making me feel safe”

Lotte Brundle [Deputy Features Editor]

Elbow - “Mirrorball” and “Grounds for Divorce”

I’ve haven’t been the biggest fan of new music that’s been released over the past couple of years, but these songs take me back to a simpler time in my childhood. I remember hearing them played often in the long hot summers I spent as a child at the local hockey club with my family. The opening chords of “Mirrorball” are slow and melodic, and the song itself has a way of making me feel safe. “Grounds for Divorce”, on the other hand, makes me think of late nights working in the summer heat. Both make me feel incredibly nostalgic for summer days long past.

Cameron White [Associate Editor]

Anne-Marie, Blinkie - “Do It Right - Blinkie Remix”

I recently discovered one of Anne-Marie’s first single releases, “Do It Right”, from 2015. The catchy R&B-pop hybrid, in which the young artist ponders embarking on a relationship with an unidentified man, promises development on a lyrical level yet ends up paradoxically stuck in a rut of repetitive keyboard sequences and yeah’s. Enter: Blinkie. Repetition suddenly turns from static to acrobatic in his electronic dance remix, as he breathes life into a version which erupts into a vertiginous beat drop fuelled predominantly by the looped lyrics “on my mind, all the time.” If the 2015 single provides a wholesome anecdote of attraction, then the 2016 remix is the invigorating backdrop to your late summer night bops and club nights in 2021: the musical discovery of my summer by far. Anyway, ciao adios I’m done.

Kadiatou's "One Touch" is perfect for the summer dancefloorYOUTUBE/ KADIATOU HOLM KEITA

Matthew Cavallini [Music Editor]

Kadiatou - “One Touch”


Mountain View

Varsity's Music of the Month: May

One of the most frustrating things about following other countries’ local music scenes is hearing songs with the potential to be international hits that don’t get the chance to be. Take “One Touch”, for instance – an astoundingly slick piece of club-dance that would be destined for a UK number-one if it ended up in the hands of Mabel or Becky Hill. With simple lyrics but massive production, Swedish Idol runner-up Kadiatou provided one of the most compelling pop songs I have heard this year. Not an evening has gone by in the recent months where I haven’t put this song on to hype me up before heading out. When I think of “song of the summer”, it has to be this one; the immense joy this song has brought to me makes me realise that music doesn’t need to be deep to spark emotion. If only someone could get this tune in the hands of the Love Island music execs.