The Song of the Summer

Mike’s Pick: “Hey Mama” by Mat Kearney
My music taste changed slightly over the past year. No longer do I look to the past — filled with relational hangovers and idolized heroes — to form meaning but embrace the present with optimistic hope as I make the transition from grad school to my new job. This song personifies that paradigm shift. Kearney is a songwriter based in Nashville, known for his simple riffs and honest lyrics. The creative beats of “Hey Mama” communicate that light but energetic mood experienced by many on a warm summer afternoon. Enjoy!
Michael L. Avery is an intern at America Magazine and a recent graduate of Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.

Allison’s Pick: “Jungleland” by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
No other recording artist can epitomize hot, humid summers like Bruce Springsteen. That capricious feeling of the season is portrayed perfectly by the Boss, particularly on his breakthrough 1975 album Born to Run. The music and lyrics of this song drip with the sweaty allure of a summer night while telling an epic story of love, lust, cars, freedom, heartbreak and youthful indulgence.
Allison Dilyard is a Busted Halo® intern.

Phil’s Pick: “Video Games” by Lana del Rey
Songs of summer are usually up-tempo megahits like Gaga’s “Just Dance” or Katy Perry’s “California Gurls,” but 2011’s crop from these hit makers and others just doesn’t reach that level. Summer songs can be slow too, though, and there’s a sultry single I’ve been humming since I first heard it. My pick is this exquisite tune by New York’s own Lana del Rey — a super-talented and beautiful young singer whose voice has plenty of smoothness cut with just the right amount of edge to make me swoon. As if the song wasn’t silky and summery enough, the video takes that vibe and doubles it.
Phil Fox Rose writes the What Works personal spirituality column at Busted Halo.

Annie’s Pick: “Honey Bee” by Blake Shelton
I fell in love with country music back in the summer of 2009 when I visited Nashville for the first time. Since then, CMT is always on (much to the chagrin of my roommates) and I forever crave sweet tea. Thanks to Blake Shelton’s current hit, sweet tea and Nashville continue to be always on my mind. From all my spins this summer, I now have every word memorized. The video shows the tale of a budding romance and it is, overall, an optimistic, feel good song. Perfect for listening to while in the car or at the beach, and it’s hard not to feel a little nostalgia for that first love.
Annie Reuter contributes to Busted Halo®‘s Girls Meet G-d blog.

Vanessa’s Pick: “Fred Astaire” by Lucky Boys Confusion
This song is 10 years old and I first heard it the summer right before my senior year of high school when college applications were starting to roll in. It’s the perfect mix of pop-punk-angsty-fun and somehow still maintains a tinge of melancholy, which is basically all you feel throughout high school. The song is about parents who put too much pressure on their kids to be exactly who they want them to be. And for some reason hearing about parents putting too much pressure on their kids makes you feel really free, and during the summer that’s exactly what you want to feel — free.
Vanessa Gonzalez Kraft writes the La Lupe blog for Busted Halo®.

Joe’s Pick: “The Mysterious Ticking Noise” by “Potter Puppet Pals
I hate to say it, but with all the Pottermania going strong this summer, I had to choose a Harry Potter-related number as my song selection. Gimme a break — this will certainly be the last summer I’ll have the chance! This song captures the fun, danger and zaniness of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry perfectly, boiling it down to a two-minute puppet show. And if you like this video, then you’ll almost certainly enjoy this very clever video remix using clips from the actual movies.
Joe Williams is the production editor of Busted Halo®.

Marcella’s Pick: “Raise Your Glass” by Pink
I couldn’t decide which summer song I liked better; from Beyonce’s “Best Thing I Never Had” to Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory,” my mind was going in circles as to what my favorite song was this summer. So, I finally decided on this song from Pink. It talks about having a good time whether you are an underdog or popular. It’s not about who you hang out with or how many friends you may have; enjoying your life is all that matters.
Marcella Shamblee is a Busted Halo® intern.

Tom’s Pick: “Verdi Cries” by 10,000 Maniacs
It’s hard not to be grateful for the gift of a summer to stop and rest. In a little over a month, I will be making my final promises to the Missionary Society of St. Paul (God willing). Natalie Merchant’s admonition that “holidays must end as you know” takes on more resonance now. It is true that “with just three days more” I would not have learned the entire score to Aida, but I too have places I could have visited, people I could have seen, additional moments with my journal that I could have taken but didn’t. Read more about Tom’s pick in the Kicking and Screaming blog.
Tom Gibbons is a Paulist seminarian and writes the Busted Halo® Kicking and Screaming blog.

Helen’s Pick: “For Good” from Wicked
For whatever reason, when summer comes I get on a musical theater kick. Right now the song I most look forward to hearing is this one from the musical Wicked. This summer is a time of dramatic transition for me. I’ve graduated college and have accepted a job in a brand new city, and so my life is now one of goodbyes and new beginnings, and a whole lot of reflection on the people who’ve gotten me here. Part of that reflection means looking forward to the future, and part of it means accepting the reality that there are probably some people with whom I will lose touch and never see again. This song reminds me that there are people who are like handprints on my heart — corny, I know, but true.
Helen Lee is a contributor and former intern at Busted Halo®, and a recent graduate of Fordham University, where she studied Theology and Communications.

Barbara’s Pick: “Friday Night Lights Theme Song” composed by W.G. Snuffy Walden
I have loved Friday Night Lights from the start for its real portrayal of life in Middle America — in this case, a small town in Texas — with compelling characters who face racism, drugs, economic hardships, personal tragedies and relationship struggles. The theme song is as much a gem as the show. Composed by W.G. Snuffy Walden, the song is performed by Explosions in the Sky, a talented Austin, Texas-based instrumental rock group. The song captures the mood and intensity of the five-season series in 44 seconds. The band, the theme song, and the show are all worth checking out. Texas forever.
Barbara Wheeler is editor-in-chief of Busted Halo®.

Mike Hayes’ Pick: “Get It Right” performed by the Glee cast
This year I had the privilege to be a “support person” for a Catholic Charities volunteer group. Honestly, it was a rocky start for the group. After months of hard work, housemates began to form better friendships and the four pillars that the community believes in — spirituality, social justice, simplicity and community — began to blend together. It’s summer and time is short. I sheepishly wondered about my own role with them. Do they know how much I care for them? Do they know that I ached for them when they struggled, and rejoiced with every success? At our final meeting the group provided me with a thank you gift of a homemade comic book based on our adventures together. Their last line said it all: “The real story that Mike helped us create was our own.” As summer fades, it looks like we finally got it right.
Mike Hayes is co-founder and senior editor of Busted Halo®.