With the arrival of Labour Day, no doubt many of us will be spending the long weekend in a state of grief. Mornings are now crisper, the sunsets come far too early, and you never did get out for that wild weekend at the lake. What the hell happened to summer?
Cases upon cases of Molson Standards and Labatt 50s are unable to turn back the hands of time, so we’ve assembled a short playlist to help you navigate your way through the Kübler-Ross stages of grief over the end of a summer that we barely even got a chance to know. From denial and anger though bargaining, depression, and finally into acceptance, we hope these tunes will help you through this trying time.
“Party at Greg’s” – Greg Macpherson
It’s the Labour Day long weekend, buddy. Let’s get into it! “We’ll pour ourselves a hundred drinks and dance away the floor.” What better way to keep the blues away, for just a little while, than this fun little rocker from G-Mac. The impending “world of grey” can indeed be paralyzing. So invite everyone you know and let’s get into it, one more time for summer.
“All Summer Long” – Kid Rock
The drinks are flowing fine. Hell yeah. What did you say? Summer, over? Summer ain’t never gonna end, bro. Fuck that. Just crack another cold one, crank up this “classic” jam from Michigan’s partier laureate, and forget about tomorrow, yo. Endless summer, y’all!
“Summertime Blues” – Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
Workin’ all dang summer trying to earn a lousy dollar, and what do you have to show for it now that Labour Day’s here? Likely more credit card debt than you had before Victoria Day (if you’re anything like me). While Eddie Cochran’s original is the benchmark for this classic summer tune, Joan Jett’s cranked up, pissed off version is the one you should be blasting this long weekend as the sun sets on all your best laid summer plans. Play it loud and blast those blues away.
“Snowbird” – Anne Murray
Crank this classic piece of Canadiana up, the lure of a winter spent down south seems downright irresistible. Maybe it’s time to finally backpack around Australia? Or maybe you should visit that small Mexican village that bartender keeps talking about? You could probably totally afford it, right?
“Goodbye Summer” – Jonny Fritz
This beauty track from quirky country crooner Jonny Fritz details the blur that life of the road becomes. But in the context of Kübler-Ross, it offers a fine example of the bargaining stage of grief. “Goodbye summer, goodbye fall,” Fritz sings, giving away the passing seasons in exchange for new experience. “Hello people I don’t know at all. Goodbye winter, goodbye spring. Hello woman with a wedding ring.” Not a bad bargain? Well, buddy, we all know the honeymoon period doesn’t last long, don’t we?
“Tuesday’s Gone” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
The keg’s run dry, school’s about to start, and there’s nothing left to do but run home crying like a little baby. While not necessarily a tune about summer ending, after that climactic scene in Dazed & Confused, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s epic ballad will always mark a change in the seasons for many listeners.
“Helpless” – Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
While we’re down here wallowing in self-pity, why not dust this gem off? Nothing’s gonna bring summer back, not for real, so why not pour another and sing along with Neil and the boys? If that don’t steel your heart even just a little against the oncoming grey weather, well … you’re on your own.
“Fallow” – The Weakerthans
The sun has set on the last long weekend of summer, and “winter comes too soon.” Too damn soon, indeed. John K’s downer of a title track to the Weakerthans’ debut album is not only a ode to compromise and lowered expectations, but a beautiful sketch of Winnipeg itself. The playgrounds are empty. It’s time to hang up the swim trunks, and get back to the real work of surviving what is sure to be another godawful winter.
“First Air of Autumn” – Drive-By Truckers
With summer fading, that first air of autumn creeps in on cool mornings. While this is certainly cause for some sadness, it’s also door opening. Harvest, Thanksgiving are around the corner. Mike Cooley’s mediation to aging from the Drive-By Trucker’s latest, English Oceans, is not so much about celebrating but accepting the inevitable change in seasons. The march of time is inevitable, after all. There’s no use fighting or crying over it, and bargaining with time is a loser’s game.
“The Rodeo’s Over” – Corb Lund/Ian Tyson
Finally, once you can accept that the rodeo’s over, it’s time to move on. This original from Ian Tyson and Lund, from Corb’s 2006 record Hair in my Eyes Like a Highland Steer, is a heartfelt song of acceptance. “None of us thought it could end,” these old cowpokes sing (around a campfire, I imagine). “But finish it did, and now I must leave you my friend.” The summer, and the rodeo with it, will come back again, but it’ll be different. That’s just the way she goes, pard. “Take from the lessons and be glad for the memories of the days that we road in the sun.” Until next summer, good buddy. It’s basically just right around the corner.