Nothing says summer like a white-hot playlist. This one’s an ode to UW–Madison Summer Term, from the sights and sounds of campus to the activity and discovery that define summer. With pop, indie rock, hip-hop, EDM, country, and more, you’ll find songs for dancing, studying, and relaxing.
Summer in the City
Spending the summer in Madison? This breezy Freedom Fry tune could be your anthem.
Your speakers will sizzle when this summery track by Sinkane comes on. Its combination of free jazz and funk can help you get focused for a big test—or relax after taking it.
This tune by Michael Franti & Spearhead will make you feel like you’re at the lake no matter where you are.
This track by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince (aka Will Smith) was the summer party jam back in 1991. It does a great job of setting the mood today, too.
Babcock ice cream is what Badgers want, especially on hot summer days.
Opposite of Adults
You’re young, it’s summer, and your future awaits. Revel in it with this Chiddy Bang track.
This reggae tune by the Movement could be about a Hoofers sailing experience—or sailing toward the goals you set for this summer.
Around the World
This Daft Punk song captures the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea: taking the university’s knowledge to every corner of the globe. Whether you’re on campus or far from it, you can have a Badger experience this summer.
Feels Like Summer
Featuring a boy with his computer and a bathrobe-clad singer, this Weezer song sounds like a tale from a UW–Madison residence hall.
This Imagine Dragons hit celebrates the power of thunderstorms, a fixture of Wisconsin summers.
The Mowgli’s performed at the 2013 edition of Revelry, a music festival UW–Madison hosted for a few years. Here’s one of their sunniest tunes.
I Get Around
Summer Term can be a juggling act, especially if you’re taking courses, working or interning, and building friendships. Here’s a Beach Boys tune to help you to embrace it all with positivity.
Can I Kick It?
This ’90s classic by A Tribe Called Quest embodies summer’s good vibes and laid-back feel.
My Sweet Midwest
This twangy Fruit Bats tune is a love letter to the geographical region UW–Madison calls home.
Even if you’re not on the UW–Madison campus at the moment, you’ll feel like you are when you listen to this song by Bastille.
Brighter Than the Sun
Iced coffee not working its magic today? Try this instant pick-me-up by Colbie Caillat.
This track by Jake Owen and Florida Georgia Line will put a little bit of country in your summer.
This Dylan-esque Jake Bugg song uses a summer weather phenomenon to talk about falling in love.
This beat-tastic track by Poolside is ideal for a pool party or a trip to the beach.
House of Pain? Check. You’ve got to have Camp Randall’s favorite hip-hop jam on your summer playlist.
Summer is famous for rain showers, which are a focus of this song by Rihanna and Jay-Z.
Tacocat explore their surf-rock side in this song about swimming after the sun goes down.
Heavy Metal Drummer
This Wilco tune could be about a summer concert on the Memorial Union Terrace. While the song’s about a heavy metal band, the Terrace also welcomes funk and soul bands, pop performers, hip-hop artists, and more.
Light Upon the Lake
Few sights are prettier than a sunrise on Lake Mendota, UW–Madison’s definition of “light upon the lake.”
A Sky Full of Stars
Summer Term can be busy, but be sure to make time for some stargazing. This Coldplay song will get you in the mood.
The Summer Wind
This gentle breeze of a jazz number showcases the beauty of Madeleine Peyroux’s voice. It’s a great choice for a stroll or a study session.
Hasta Que Salga El Sol
This Spanish-language tune by Don Omar is about a summer celebration that lasts for days.
“First it was spring, and then it became the summer,” as Neil Diamond sings in this classic. Good times never seemed so good, right?
The Decemberists break out the harmonica in this pretty tribute to “the summer’s early sway.”
Walking on Sunshine
Need some pep in your step? This sunny ’80s hit by Katrina and the Waves is just the ticket.
Here’s a nod to July 4th and your ability to overcome obstacles, courtesy of pop star Katy Perry.
Dance your cares away to this summer-themed tune by Calvin Harris.
Dog Days Are Over
This Florence + the Machine song is a shout-out to many people’s favorite moments of summer, when relief from something challenging arrives. It could be when the weather goes from sticky to sublime, or when a final exam gets checked off of a to-do list.
The Bike Song
Mark Ronson and the Business Intl put the pedal to the metal in this song about many students’ preferred mode of summer transportation.
This Justin Timberlake song is about a romance, but you don’t need to couple up to fall head over heels this summer. Whether you’re in love with a special someone, an amazing course, or a new favorite ice cream flavor, savor the experience.
James Bay references a classic summer beverage in this earworm.
Share with Me the Sun
You’ll feel like you’re floating on a cloud when you listen to this summery song by Portugal. The Man.
Feel all the feels during this sea-themed track by Frank Ocean.
Dancing in the Moonlight
Your parents or grandparents may have listened to this groovy King Harvest song during a ’70s summer.
Roll down the windows, crank up the stereo, and soak up this summer-ready track by Lupe Fiasco.
Here’s a Shakira and Carlos Vives tune that could be about the many bicycles around campus. If you study Spanish, it’s also a chance to see how many of the lyrics you understand.
Here Comes the Sun
The Beatles welcome the return of sunshine—and happiness after trying times—in this classic track from 1969.
Summer employment is a rite of passage for many UW–Madison students. Art Brut explore the topic with humor and heart in this track.
I Am a Scientist
This Guided by Voices song refers to several popular careers among UW–Madison undergrads: scientist, journalist, and pharmacist. But it’s really a tale of self-discovery, something almost any student can relate to.
Another Day of Sun
Just try not to tap your toes to this shimmering tune from the movie La La Land.
Wide Open Spaces
This Dixie Chicks tune is about people leaving home “to find a dream and a life of their own,” as many students do on the sprawling UW–Madison campus each summer.
Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard
Some songs just sound like summer. This classic by Paul Simon is one fun example.
Under the Sun
The guitars in this DIIV song create a sense of euphoria that’s synonymous with summertime.
King of the Beach
Rock out with Wavves during this tune about a popular summer destination.
Castles Made of Sand
This Jimi Hendrix classic uses a summery image—sandcastles—to explore the concept of temporality. Like summertime, your college experience is short, so make as much of it as you can!