It’s finally spring, and who doesn’t like a little extra sunshine? Especially if you live in the north and have been using your shovel or snow blower with regularity. This list is literal, but many of the songs have a feel that resembles sunshine and warm weather. Here we go…
“Ain’t No Sunshine,” Bill Withers (Just As I Am)
Okay, right off the bat we have a sad song, but if we’re being literal here, we have to pay tribute to this Bill Withers classic. Many have tried to remake this 1971 classic, and even though John Waite did a super-cool version in the ‘90s, nothing compares to the original.
“Sunrise,” Five Times August (Brighter Side)
This is a slickly produced, breezy pop/rock ditty that is made for film and TV the way mustard is made for a hot dog. The band name is actually the moniker for some dude named Brad who has a last name that is long and hard to pronounce, but who cares when the music is this good?
“Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore,” Jules Shear (Healing Bones)
Jules Shear never really broke out as a solo artist, and he may be better known for writing hits for artists such as Cyndi Lauper and the Bangles. But his remake of this Walker Brothers classic reminds us all how melody was so prominent in the ‘60s, and also that I need to start cheering everyone up.
“Brighter Than Sunshine,” Aqualung (Strange and Beautiful)
Aqualung’s music is tailor-made for what they call AAA (Adult Album Alternative) radio. But pigeonholes or not, this song, especially with the liberal use of string hits thrown in, is a real gem.
“The Sun,” Brothermandude (BMD)
After you get over the cheesy band name and the fact that they sort of sound like Dave Matthews fronting Bush, you realize this: Brothermandude has some really good songs.
“Hurry Sundown,” the Outlaws (Hurry Sundown)
When Southern guitar-army rock was popular in the ‘70s, this band was right at the forefront. But what’s more, these guys could sing, and had beautiful three-part harmonies.
“Waiting for the Sun,” the Shore (The Shore)
For a while there, it seemed like there was a wealth of American bands whose singer sounded British, giving the whole vibe a Brit-pop feel. The Shore is one of those bands, and this flowing track is one of their best.
“Gold in the Sunset,” Bob Schneider (I’m Good Now)
This is an interesting track in which Schneider half-raps, half-mumbles during the verses, then lets the chorus absolutely soar, making it worth the price of admission.
“Waiting for the Sun,” the Jayhawks (HollywoodTown Hall)
Gary Louris’ tenor, the band’s sweet harmonies, and some crunchy, Tom Petty-ish guitars make this one of the list’s best songs. And you gotta love that there are two different songs on here with identical titles.
“Sinking Like a Sunset,” Tom Cochrane
(Mad Mad World)
When I lived in Cleveland in the ‘90s and listened to 107.9 “The End,” which was one of the greatest stations ever, this song and this album were staples. The album’s other hit was “Life Is a Highway,” which country band Rascal Flatts went on to, um, butcher.
“My Sundown,” Jimmy Eat World (Bleed American)
This is an introspective ballad amid a collection of rocking songs from what I’m calling Jimmy Eat World’s best album. And it’s got the perfect title and mood to close things out here.