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MoPOP Youth Voices: What's Your Song For Summer 2020?

thom.ko performs at MoPOP's Sound Off! 2020

Ah, the song of summer. It’s now a tradition each year to crown one songusually one that bops or bumps or bounces from out of car windows, from speakers at beaches, and at outdoor house parties. But in 2020, as with all things, we’ve had to adjust our listening significantly and discover the music that moves us in our homes instead of out among our friends, and that has made choosing a song of summer 2020 somewhat challenging. So, we thought we’d check in with some of the youth involved in our programs to see what they're listening to, what artists are moving them, andbesides the sound of handwashingwhat they’ll remember when they look back on the summer of 2020.

Sebastian L. - Youth Advisory Board

Sebastian: "I've been bumping the Lumineers, especially 'Ophelia.' Reminds me of when I was a kid, it's a nice song that takes me back."

YoungDub - The Residency

YoungDub: "I am inspired by J. Cole who really puts his word out about what’s been going on politically. His most recent track is called 'Snow on Tha Bluff.' The song I would say that takes me out of this worldand the song I put on repeat is 'Codeine Dreamin’' by Kodak Black featuring Lil’ Wayne. With all the chaos going on I try to stay as positive as possible. 👍"

Sofia K. - Youth Advisory Board

Sofia: "My song of the summer is Beware of the Dogs by Stella Donnelly. This is one of my current favorite tracks from the Australian indie artist. The lyrics talk about racism in her home country of Australia and how Donnelly, as a white woman, is privileged to have a platform. She uses her platform to speak up against injustice and unjust government policies."

Talaya. - The Residency, Sound Off!

Talaya.: "Nathan Nzanga's 'nobody hurt us.' This song is actually about COVID-19, but I thought it was about police brutality. There's so much duality in it. It gives me peace and I feel like I can relate to it, and it’s just sonically beautiful."

Talaya.: "Moses Sumney's 'Keeps Me Alive' makes me think about death in a very different way. But it's sooo soothing and beautifully written."

Talaya.: "Gaidaa's 'Falling Higher' has so much soul and helps to remind me that even though there's so much going on, I'm still growing and progressing in life and naturally maturing. It's easy to feel stagnant or like you’re not doing enough, but I realized I'm still elevating even if it feels like I'm falling."

Talaya.: "And lastly, Jada Nycole Ellise's 'Comfortable.'"

thom.ko - Sound Off!

thom.ko: "My summer song is 'Polly' by Moses Sumney. This song is so tender and fragile, but at the same time feels as if it is welcoming you into a new day. It is shimmering with hope as the melodies jostle to find their place within the song, yet in the end, settle in perfectly for a sense of completion. There's something that feels timely about this track, something that makes it feel like now is the perfect time for it."

Bonus: Barack Obama's 2020 Summer Playlist

MoPOP youth aren't the only ones compiling some of their favorite songs this summer. This past week, former President Barack Obama shared 53 tracks that are getting him through this tumultuous year, as he notes, "Over the past few months, I've spent a lot of time listening to music with my family." Here's a look at Obama's favorites from summer 2020, which he says includes "a mix of genres that travels through various eras. I think there's something in here for everybody––hope you enjoy it."


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The Museum of Pop Culture’s mission is to make creative expression a life-changing force by offering experiences that inspire and connect our communities.