Remember those dreamy endless summers? The ones with hot days and hotter nights. Flings and loves. Day boils. Park naps. Beach parties. The feeling of walking out of a club and having the heat hit you like a wave, again. Staying up late with friends until the sun comes up. This playlist is full of songs that make you reflect and hold onto those memories.
With romantic chord progressions, high pitched vocals, and analog synths, synthwave makes for perfect summer soundtracks. The 80s influence implies a simpler time, and similar to Kavinsky’s Nightcall and the soundtrack from Drive, this vibe may just compel you to seek adventure, get into your car and drive off into the sunset.
1. Jai Wolf - Indian Summer
Released in 2015 on ODESZA’s label Foreign Family Collective, Indian Summer got insanely popular over the past few years, with plays on Netflix’s XOXO and various commercials. Jai Wolf, real name Sajeeb Saha, is originally from Bangladesh, and the song’s luring lyrics are in Hindi which roughly translate to “my friends took me to the moon”. With it’s dreamy synth progression and high pitched vocals, it’s the ultimate summer song and a “spiritual anthem for adventure”.
2. PETIT BISCUIT - Sunset Lover
In the same “Indietronica” style as Indian Summer, Sunset Lover leverages high pitched vocal chops and soft synths. Petit Biscuit, a french producer and DJ, was just 15 years old when he released this track. His style is a movement towards melodies and away from the drops we’ve become accustomed to in electronic music. Without set lyrics, the song is up to interpretation by its listeners, taking them on a dreamy journey down a warm coastal path, and encapsulating every pretty Instagram influencer wearing a bohemian blanket and wide brimmed hat.
3. Louis The Child - Love Is Alive (Chet Porter Remix)
The original Love is Alive by Louis the Child, a duo from Chicago, and LA artist / producer Elohim, was released in 2017 and was an instant hit. In 2018 a number of official remixes came out, with this track by Chet Porter hitting all the marks with a synthwave take on the original. Magical keys and energetic synth progressions make this remix a summer anthem to add to the playlist.
4. Kavinsky - Nightcall
You can’t have a synthwave playlist without including Kavinsky’s Nightcall. The title sequence from the soundtrack of 2011’s hit movie Drive, Nightcall is credited with advancing the synthwave genre and popularising 80 synths again. Produced by Daft Punk’s Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and mixed by Sebastian, it’s not surprising Nightcall became an instant hit, with remixes by Robotoki and Breakbot also becoming fan favourites.
5. RAC - We Belong (ODESZA Remix)
Indie synthwave, future bass, chillwave, whatever you want to classify it as, ODESZA’s vibe is unmistakable and infectious. The duo are known for melodic mixes with slow and steady builds that inspire euphoria. RAC, or André Allen Anjos, has always been a remix86 favourite, with over 200 remixes of his own under his belt, so these two groups coming together was a recipe for success.
6. Hayden James - Something About You (ODESZA Remix)
Another ODESZA track but we just couldn’t resist. This remix of Australian producer Hayden James’ Something About You follows the ODESZA style we all love. With melodic vocal builds and synthwave style synths paired with more traditional guitar and piano riffs, it’s a euphoric take on the original, which is already an amazing house track.
7. Shooting Stars - Bag Raiders
When the other half of remix86 and I started our summer fling almost 10 years ago, this was our jam. We would drive around with the windows down, music on blast, go to beaches, and hike to the top of mountains, listening to it on repeat. When we got married 5 years later it was our wedding song, and it still never gets old. Bag Raiders’ Shooting Stars was released in 2008 and was always a popular track with electronic music enthusiasts, but according to Billboard, it only became a “viral hit” in 2017 when it became a viral internet meme.
8. Violet Sands & Justin Faust - What Do You Feel (Jean Tonique Remix)
In 2018 Violet Sands partnered with Munich producer Justin Faust on their new track What do You Feel. Recently remixed Jean Tonique, the French producer delivered an 80s funk nu disco vibe with a touch of synthwave brimming with warm summer vibes. If you’ve been following remix86 for a while, you know that any combination of Justin Faust and Jean Tonique is sure to be a success.
9. Glen Check - Pacific (Moullinex Remix)
This Moullinex remix of Glen Check’s Pacific is the definition of California vibes; you can just hear the palm trees blowing in the wind. While the original is a k-pop track from the South Korean indie band, Moullinex created a smooth dance rendition with masterful guitar riffs layered with synth stabs.
10. Vega - No Reasons
Getting a little more club focused, this 2009 release by Vega features more of the future sounds synthwave is known for, particularly, lazers. While the track is over 10 years old, No Reasons is still a hit on the dance floor, with a melodic chorus, synth builds, and did we mention lazers?
11. Anoraak - Try Me (Jupiter Remix)
Anoraak is known for tracks with synths and future vibes. The group is somewhere between being producers and a band, using electronic and rock sounds in its tracks. This Jupiter remix of Try Me emphasizes the electronic elements while using synths and vocal reverb to increase the galactic sound.
12. Bit Funk - Things I can’t Remember
Things I can’t remember is one of Bit Funk’s older tracks but it still remains timeless. Released in 2008, the track is a reflection of the producer’s earlier sound, with a mixture of traditional riffs, old school synths, and heavy bass. While Bit Funk has gone on to incorporate more emotional vocal depth, hitting the charts with a number of high profile artists, he continues to prove he has an evolving sound.
13. Ercola ft. Annie - Follow Me (Lifelike Remix)
Norwegian singer-songwriter Annie was often featured in the mid-2000s in nu disco remixes heavy with synth. With her own focus in synth-pop, her voice lends to the modern 80s vibe. This Lifelike remix of Follow Me was released in 2009 and continues to be a hype track.
14. Annie - Heartbeat (Alan Braxe Remix)
Further proof that Annie was an unstoppable synth-pop force in the late 2000s, this Alan Braxe remix of Heartbeat continues to be a club-pleaser. Perhaps best known for his club classic Music sounds better with you, Alan Braxe was one of the founders of the french house movement. This remix proves that oftentimes simple is best, and focuses on a straightforward percussive rhythm, chorals, heavy bass riff, and slow builds.
15. Touch Sensitive - Pizza Guy
A perfect track to finish off a synthwave playlist, Touch Sensitive’s Pizza Guy is proof that 80s synths will never die. Released by Future Classic in 2013, the track also features a pretty deadly music video that is worth checking out.
Does this playlist have you reminiscing of summers gone by, or are you listening now getting on your heated summer vibes? If this playlist got you groovin’, take a snap or a video and use #grindancesweat for a chance to win some remix86 apparel.