By Séamus Smyth

Although a year-end countdown would be more appropriate, the songs of everyone’s favourite season must be declared. Before the summer is forgotten and replaced by flurries and misery, it would be wrong to neglect the fact that some terrific music helped set the mood for frosty Bud light limes and a handful of beautiful days between May and September.

3. Fragile Bird – City and Colour

Dallas Green finally drops the sappy love song routine for four minutes and turns up the crunch on his amplifier for this lead-off single.   “Fragile Bird” is a track that his male audience can proudly blare from their radios without sensing glares from those who demand at least three guitars hammering away in unison in order for anything to be considered from the rock gender. His voice is an exquisite double-dutch of pain and harmony and choosing to juxtapose it with a wickedly redundant guitar hook made this song a worthy summer jam.

2. Young Blood – The Naked and Famous

It could have easily been dubbed a single from mega-hipsters MGMT or the squeaky-pitched Passion Pit, but it was a group from a country that no one was sure even knew how to produce music worth listening to.  Of course this group is New Zealand’s The Naked and Famous whose thunderous synthesizers roared on repeat the minute this song was greeted at the door by eager rock n’ roll radio producers praying for something fresh. The video is an Urban Outfitters wet dream, with more “Young Blood” consciously showing off their naive genes and sporting more second-hand clothing decors than a Value Village.

1.You are a Tourist – Death Cab for Cutie
Death Cab captain Ben Gibbard made it no secret that their latest work on Codes and Keys was hands down their most upbeat material by a Pakistani landslide. When asked if he felt his fans would be disappointed by the lack of melon collie material, he replied there is a whole back catalog for them to root through if that turns out to be the case.  The man has clearly changed and arguably for the better, as Codes and Keys and certainly “You are a Tourist” take Death Cab to heights that probably weren’t possible when they were previously constantly slinging mud at exes and other antagonists. “You are a Tourist” is a fine demonstration of why Gibbard is one of the finest writers of his genre. Its haunting intro leading into Gibbard’s refrained echo act as a rising action to the perfectly executed blend of “This fire…” and raucous guitar noise. Now a married man and proudly training for long distance running competitions, this invigorated spirit seems to have led to a plethora of new material with smiley faces and lollipops sprinkled all over the once deeply self-conscious Seattle group.  “You are  Tourist,” is a single most bands dream of having their entire careers, yet Death Cab has been writing these sort of intricate, sparkling gems for years.  It appears that the summer of 2011 was finally the time where the mainstream audience was able to pull their wafer sunglasses down for a minute and tour the soul of Death Cab for Cutie.