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Lena Dunham and the Lenny Staff on Their Favorite Summer Music

Six songs to create the ultimate summer playlist.

Lena Dunham and the Lenny Staff on Their Favorite Summer Music

It’s officially summer, and there’s nothing like that special song that brings back the memories of that time at the beach or on vacation or at a barbecue. Lena Dunham and the Lenny Letter team dish on their favorite summer songs.

“Chaka Khan released new music! The queen of funk is back, with the lead single off an upcoming album, her first since 2007’s Funk This. Chaka’s music is perfect summer music. It always reminds me of a little sweat and humidity, but the good kind — belting ‘Through the Fire’ at a dingy karaoke night or blasting ‘Ain’t Nobody’ with the windows down because the A/C won’t start. ‘Like Sugar’ is just the buzzy, infectious high to kick you out of bed and into the summer heat. Watch the music video once, and you’ll be dancing on your morning commute before you know it.”

—Kristine Mar, editorial assistant

“I’m gonna throw things back to Nancy Sinatra’s 1967 ‘Summer Wine.’ Something about the song’s cinematic, Western sounds makes walking down the street in delirious heat more sexy than sweaty. And against all my better judgment, it makes me want to run off to the desert and be seduced with fruits and libations, too.”

—Molly Elizalde, editorial and creative director

“Imagine it: seven-year-old Liz, looking for all the world like a small potato on roller skates. She wears a pink-lemonade mustache and a fetching lime-green tankini. She’s listening to her favorite song on her Lion King walkman as she skates up and down the driveway. She imagines her crush, Kipp, seeing her and being so enraptured by her charms that he walks into a telephone pole. The song is Mariah Carey’s ‘Fantasy,’ and this is why it’s not summer for me until I hear it.”

—Liz Watson, special-projects editor

“There’s always the dream of driving to the beach, and then the reality. In the movies, driving to the beach always looks so breezy and carefree, a convertible zooming down an empty road toward wide open water. In reality, driving to the beach is usually a chore: you’re almost always stuck in traffic and usually passing really depressing blocks of outlet malls and gray sidewalks. I like the B-52s’ ‘Dirty Back Roads’ because it is the platonic ideal of a beach drive — all lazy guitars and coo-ed vocals. It is also maybe an ode to butts, but the lyrics are clean enough to play for younger family members.”

—Kaitlyn Greenidge, contributing writer

“I’m really high on Feist right now. It brings me back to summer ten years ago, when I was young and newly in love and always wearing a tankini. Canadian heaven!”

—Lena Dunham

“My favorite summer song has got be ‘Girls Dem Sugar,’ by Beenie Man featuring Mya. It sounds like sweat that makes your skin glisten after dancing for hours and the confidence to find your crush at a barbecue after one too many rum punches. It’s on every single summer playlist I’ve ever made.”

—Tahirah Hairston, associate editor