By Mike Faloon
“This Summer” and “Cruel Summer” download single
“There’s a new Superchunk record.”
It’s a phrase I’ll always be psyched to hear. Though in this case, “There’s a new Superchunk download available” is more apt. (There was a limited number of this single pressed, but I missed out.) The a-side doesn’t move very fast. Nor does it need to. It feels like I did on the 4th of July when temperatures shot to the low 90s and then passed out; I was pleasantly drained by the sunshine, hanging out with friends and family, dashing in and out of the sprinkler. It’s summer. Relish it, right? It doesn’t come around often enough. “This Summer” fits days like that really well. It has a nice hook and shows once again how well Superchunk can exude ample energy even when moving at mid tempo. The lyrics echo some of the same ideas from my favorite song on the band’s last album, “Learned to Surf,” namely recognizing a great time and inviting someone to join in.
The b-side is a cover of Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer.” I can’t say that I enjoy it as much as the flipside but it’s the more surprising of the two cuts. Initially I didn’t get the appeal — Why would Superchunk waste wax on a Bananarama tune? Well, obviously there’s the way the song’s title ties into Superchunk’s new summer tune. Plus, there’s more to the lyrics that I realized. “Substance” might be a stretch, but “heartache” works. (For a brief look at how the ‘80s went wrong compare the 1983 “Cruel Summer” cover art to the sleeve for the 1989 redo.)