Welcome to Two for Tuesday, an ongoing series where Consequence of Sound writer Henry Hauser takes two “unlikely pairs” in music and compares, contrasts, juxtaposes, and evaluates the commonalities between both parties. Last time, Henry got lost in a daze with Led Zeppelin and Kurt Vile. This week, he ushers in summer with The Head and the Heart and Chad & Jeremy.
With Independence Day right around the corner, summer is in full swing. Better break out your sandals, sunscreen, and sweatbands. For many of us, summer means feverish passion — it’s the season of fiery affairs, balmy rendezvous, and flagrant necking. Yet all too often, the love we stoke across June, July, and August gets doused by the approach of autumn. Summer love, while intoxicating, leaves a bittersweet aftertaste when our affairs are exposed as ephemeral. Let’s face it, abundant sunshine obscures our perspective with rose-tinted glasses. That’s certainly the case for folk-pop outfit The Head and the Heart, who champion the amore of summer on their sprightly ditty “Summertime”. Chad & Jeremy, on the other hand, present a broader perspective on “A Summer Song”. While the English folk duo sets off celebrating the idyllic bliss of a summer fling, they eventually face the facts: summer loving is rarely built to last.
According to Chad Stuart, he penned “A Summer Song” while “sitting around jamming on four chords.” Off Chad & Jeremy’s ‘64 debut, Yesterday’s Gone, the track peaked at No. 7 thanks in no small part to the deft hand of producer Shel Talmy (The Who, The Kinks, and Cat Stevens). Leading with crisp, acoustic strumming, Stuart and Jeremy Clyde harmonize to evoke a sense of bucolic serenity: “Trees swayin’ in the summer breeze/ Showin’ off their silver leaves.” Between “sweet kisses on a summer’s day” and the “sleepy warmth of summer nights,” the folkie longhairs are downright euphoric. But alongside a swell of strings and horns, the duo warns that “all good things must end someday/ Autumn leaves must fall.” Forced to bid adieu to their summer sweethearts, Chad & Jeremy contemplate lost love amid tear-jerking violins and forlorn cellos.
The Head and the Heart fully enmesh themselves in the thrill of summer. “Summertime”, appearing on the Seattle sextet’s sophomore album, Let’s Be Still, is snappy and coquettish where “A Summer Song” is wistful and nostalgic. Atop Tyler Williams’ punchy percussion, brusque electric guitar licks, and soaring synths, Charity Rose Thielen promises to brave the coal mines for love with her smoky, soulful vocals: “I will sing as your canary bird/ Take my soul and bury it in the earth.” Yelping and shrieking as if to prove her resolve, she declares that summer means seizing the object of your desires, whatever the cost: “Suh-muhh-tiee-mahh!/ I’ll make yaaaaaah mine!”
We’re more than a week past the solstice; the days are getting shorter, and summer is rapidly ticking away. You’ve only got about 1,750 hours before fall rolls in, so get out there and enjoy the warmth while it lasts. So what if summer romance begets fall heartache? At the very least, you’ll have some fond memories to keep you warm while the autumn “rain beats against [your] window pane” like Chad & Jeremy. Just following Charity Rose Thielen’s lead: carpe aestas.