“boys (summertime love)” – sabrina (1987)

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It is now August which means Chicago’s dog days of summer are in full swing.  This is when the city sees it’s hottest days and most epic thunderstorms.  These days are also the best time to go to the beach as Lake Michigan will have adequately warmed up enough to be comfortable.  Patio season for brunch reaches its peak and everyone crams in as much fun before school goes back into session and the temperatures start slowly falling into the crispness of fall.

I have stayed really busy during this summer.  For one, I’ve been playing in a softball league on behalf of the radio station I volunteer with and playing against other media outlets in the city.  I had never joined a league before and had a great time, so I am looking forward to more games next year.  I also go for longer walks and find the best places to read outside; neat park spots with lots of character that are otherwise miserable during the winter time.

There is just so much to do.  I am a busy individual between work, volunteering, errands, and everything else that a big city life demands.  I always look towards summer for things to slow down a bit.  However, the opposite happens.  I get even more busy.  And the reason why is that Chicago summers are way too short.  I feel like I must cram in as much as possible so I don’t feel like I’m taking the fleeting summer days for granted.

To get my going, I spend the late spring putting together an annual summer playlist for me to jam to.  This playlist should be a combination of songs that pump me up, motivate me, are great to dance to, and just breathe life into summer.  While the songs change from year to year, there are a few stalwarts that have made multiple appearance over the years as some of my favorite summer jams.

High up on the list of my favorite summer jam is a catchy Italo disco track by Sabrina Salerno called “Boys (Summertime Love)”.  Released in 1987, it has become Sabrina’s most famous song.  The fame behind the song owes a lot to its own video.  In the video, Sabrina splashes around an Italian hotel pool while her bikini top repeatedly falls down throughout the video.  Needless to say, much of the video’s popularity comes from this.  The video was created for a segment to be included in an Italian magazine show.  This explains why the video is more overtly sexual than typical music videos that would have aired on MTV at the time.

When talking about this song, you have to address the video.  It is all kinds of ridiculous and fun.  It is what contributed to the song’s success.  However, the song’s charm and true appeal shines through in the music.  This Hi-NRG track is highly energetic and impossible to not dance to.  The backing track rhythms are prominent and drives the song.  Sabrina’s vocals are also on point in the song.  Her cute accent is endearing.  You actually concentrate on the vocals because it takes a little extra effort to understand what she is saying through the song.  But doing so, you can hear Sabrina’s talent shine through by giving it the attention it deserves.

I do not remember how I came across this song.  It was around five years ago and probably the product of me going down a YouTube rabbit hole.  Usually, I’ll be amused by what I find during those rabbit hole journeys.  But, I’ll quickly forget about what I saw.  That hasn’t been the case with Sabrina’s iconic track.  It has stayed with me to be one of the finest summer anthems I know.  While the song reached number one in several countries, it didn’t make a splash in the United States.  So, I take every opportunity to celebrate and share this song with friends.  While Italo disco may sound quaint to some considering all the modern electronic dance music that sends vibrating shockwaves throughout your body, there is true appeal in the song for its energy and message; just dance, enjoy summer, and have a summer romance.  What is not to love about that?  Until Sabrina gets the respect she deserves from mainstream American listeners, she will always have a spot in my annual summer jam playlist.

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