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Spotlight in Stereo

September 4, 2023

Spotlight in Stereo

It may not have been the hottest of summers here in the UK, but we’re still holding out for a sizzling September and enough of a vitamin D boost to see us into Christmas smiling. To get through the sunshine and into the earthy tones, here are five tracks we’ll be playing in the office all month long, perfect to send you into autumn in style.

Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa – One Kiss

This seismic collaboration between two of music’s brightest stars was undoubtedly the sound of the summer in 2018. The tracks spent eight weeks in the number one spot in the UK and was praised by music critics for its summertime aesthetic. If you want a song that keeps the heat, then One Kiss should be top of your playlist.

Written by Calvin, Dua and Canadian singer Jessie Reyez, the song was named Single of the Year at the 2019 BRIT Awards, while at that year’s GRAMMYs, Dua Lipa performed a mash-up of the track with US musician St Vincent, incorporating her indie anthem Masseducation for a raucous show.

With its simple chorus, 90s house beat and hedonistic vibe, it blasts as easily from a speaker on the beach as a club PA. You won’t find many songs that embody the sound of the summer quite so perfectly.

WHAM! – Club Tropicana

We’ve been celebrating forty-years of WHAM! all summer in the office, so we can’t make a stereo playlist without including one of their tunes. From the opening buzz of crickets, the song radiates summertime with light percussion and a dancing bassline.

Club Tropicana was an important moment in WHAM!’s creative evolution, leaving behind politically-charged social commentary to write a pop song in homage to their favourite nightclubs. It proved a successful move and sent their debut record Fantastic to number one in the UK.

You can’t listen to this song without picturing George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley in the swimming pool at the legendary Pikes club in Ibiza, sipping cocktails and soaking up the sunshine. Press play and let them take you to the place where membership’s a smiling face.

George Ezra – Shotgun

Once all the kids are back to school and the seaside towns have calmed down, nothing beats a road trip, and this is the perfect anthem to throw open the sunroof to. “I’ll be riding shotgun underneath the hot sun, feeling like a someone,” croons George in his rich baritone with a smile, and suddenly you’re right there in the passenger seat.

Released in 2018 and taken from George’s second album Staying at Tamara’s, it was his first ever UK number one and has been certified quintuple platinum! After it was released, rumours began to spread online that he burped on the recording a minute in, but George later revealed he was simply saying, “Well.”

He did however credit the song’s success with the number of people who listened just to check. But we all know the real reason for this song’s anthemic status is it’s utterly addictive. A true serotonin boost of a tune.

Sade – Smooth Operator

For every sun-kissed day, you need a balmy night, and Sade’s Smooth Operator is the perfect soundtrack for soft sunsets and shimmering starlight. With its swooning saxophone and bossa nova beats it tells the story of an elite con-man, embracing the spirit of blissed out, elegant evenings.

Taken from their debut record Diamond Life, the track was released as a single in 1985 and became their US breakthrough, reaching number five on the Billboard Hot 100 while in the UK it was certified gold.

“Diamond nights and ruby lights high in the sky,” sings Sade, painting a picture of luxury and grandeur. While the band were from Hull, this song instantly transports you to a holiday in heaven.

Mr. Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra

“Sun is shinin’ in the sky, there ain’t a cloud in sight,” goes the opening line of this 1977 classic. Just as the lyrics paint the picture of a perfect day, so too does the upbeat, bright and bouncing melody.

Taken from the band’s seventh album, Out of the Blue, it peaked at number six on the UK singles charts but has since gone on to be their most recognisable song and has been certified platinum three times in both the UK and the US.

Perhaps because of its use in countless TV and movie scenes, but pressing play on this song makes you feel like you’re the star of your own story. Whether you’re driving to the beach, walking with an ice cream or playing in the park, it has main character energy.

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