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It's Hot in the UK Again, So What's Your Go-to Heatwave Music?

We stopped a bunch of people in the street and made them tell us about what music they've turned to during this Really Toasty Summer.
Photo by Richard Baker / Alamy 

Hello, yes it has been really hot in the UK. So hot that chub rub left you with sore red patches between the thighs that have to be lubed up with Vaseline. So hot that you stopped mocking the pinkness of Dr Alex on Love Island for a bit because your skin had matured to a withered puce. So hot that, when about two solid days of rain slashed the heatwave in two last week, you cried just a bit in your first non-freezing shower for seven weeks. We were all starting to exhibit extreme Heatwave Behaviour and it’s been out of control. You don’t even care – caring was something that happened before the heat.


That sunshine is back now. If anything can help us through the seismic ecological event which is England’s only good summer since 1976, that thing is music. Intensified weather makes music come into its own. For once, questions about the “song of the summer” have felt relevant in a country where summer normally consists of about eight warm days – weirdly, in May or something – then rain and clouds before a couple of warm afternoons in September. Then winter begins again. So, while the rest of the northern hemisphere would be arguing about whether Cardi B’s “I Like That” soundtracks pool parties or rooftop BBQs better than Ella Mai’s “Boo’d Up,” we’d be muttering to ourselves about forgetting the umbrella in the bath when we get caught in a June downpour. But not this year. All of this is to say, in honour of some actual sun I walked around London asking people about what music they’ve been blasting in these hot hot times.

Henry 23, and Dan, 24: "Britney, for when you wake up with a hangover"

Noisey: What music is keeping you going during this heatwave?
Dan: Niki and the Dove is definitely sun music. They’re a Swedish duo, a girl singer-producer with a guy producer, and their song “You Want the Sun” makes me want to cruise in a roofless sports car.

Henry: I’ve been listening to Horace Andy’s track “Show and Tell” because reggae is obviously made for the sun. Also soul music, like Curtis Mayfield from the era when he was in The Impressions. I hope that’s the right band, I don’t wanna fuck that up because I will get destroyed on the internet.


Dan: Also, Britney’s “Oops!… I Did it Again,” for when you wake up with another hangover after drinking too many tinnies.

What has been your low point during the heatwave?
Henry: Last week, the artist I work for was doing a shoot and it was so hot in there and I had only gotten three hours sleep. The heat was actually making me trip out, I was seeing some dark things. Everything was blurred.

Dan: I went to meet a friend in this super-fresh linen suit. But when I got to the coffee shop my back was soaked. After he hugged me he had a mark of my body moisture imprinted on him – it was lovely.

Have you been drinking a lot more now the sun is out?
Henry: I have been pissed for two months now.

Dan: I stopped drinking for a while, started again two weeks ago, and since then it’s been heavy. Now my hand feels empty without a tinny. Dunno what it is about the sun but it just hypnotises you into thinking you need a drink. The sun is a bad influence.

Have you had to buy loads of summer garms?
Henry: I bought some bright yellow Clarks – ‘cos yellow is obviously the colour of summer – but last night we went out dancing and they got ruined. I had to buy another pair, one for raving and one for being sensible, they were in the sale though so it’s chill. They are my fairy boots.

Tschan, 22: "60s rock, if I'm feeling sunny – but I'm a metalhead, so I rarely feel sunny"

Noisey: Hi Tschan, what have you been listening to to ensure survival?
Tschan: If I’m feeling sunny, then 60s rock, especially psychedelica because it’s funky and sounds like BBQs. But I am a metalhead so I rarely feel sunny. Recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of Black Sabbath and extreme metal. There’s a metalcore band called Silent Planet that I love. They touch on a lot of human subjects: eating disorders, homosexuality, war and religion. One lyric keeps sticking in my head: “praise me for my valor, lay me on a crimson tower, justify my endless terror as my finest hour”. It refers to how soldiers get praised for their bravery, always being rewarded with these medals, but inside they feel crap because they’re losing their minds through all the violence.


Wow… that… doesn’t sound summery at all, if I’m being honest.
When I get out of work and it’s boiling, I listen to that band and it gets out all of my frustration.

Is there anything you like about the sun?
At least this weather gives Londoners something to talk abou. I keep sharing these knowing looks with people like, ‘yeah, it’s too much isn’t it?’

Akos, 25: "Iron Maiden because I get angry and need to grit my teeth to something"

Noisey: What’s the best song to help you through a heatwave?
Akos: Justin Bieber’s “Despacito” – you need a wavering groovy beat.

That’s technically a Luis Fonsi tune featuring Daddy Yankee, where Biebs jumped on the remix but I get you. Sorry, you were saying?
I also keep listening to Spanish music because that’s where I always used to go on holiday. It reminds me of the beach and hot sand between your toes. Or I listen to Iron Maiden because I get angry and I need to grit my teeth to something. I’m honestly just so bored of sweating.

But you’re in a jumper? You need to change it up, where are your shorts?
I never wear shorts, men have the worst legs. I just want to go back to Hungary, it’s actually cooler there at the moment, I’ve heard they have a breeze. I miss those.

Millie, 22: "I need mellow guitars"

Noisey: Hey Millie, what’s your summer anthem?
Millie: I’ve been listening to a lot of the new Arctic Monkeys album. It’s really nice; you don’t want to listen to something hardcore and upbeat in the sun. I am far too sapped for pulsating choruses or dramatic soars. I need mellow guitars so I can mentally take a moment before I lose my shit.


Have you enjoyed the sun?
Everyone puts all this pressure on to enjoy the sun and I’m like, leave me to fester in the shadows. I hate getting a tan, I want to be pale. My nose is red and it’s annoying. I might start walking around with a parasol.

What has been the most traumatising aspect of this weather?
When I put my makeup on it is halfway down my neck in like five minutes. It’s so hard to make it stick to your face when beads of sweat just keep on rolling down. I have produced so much sweat, I feel like a juiced orange.

Carolina, 27, and Rue, 26: "Indie rock from the 90s or something electronic with sexy sax"

Noisey: What music do you both listen to in the sun, then?
Carolina: Indie rock from the 90s or electronic music with some sexy saxophones and a strong bassline. I listen to Kygo in this sort of weather, it’s just so uplifting.

Rue: I like the Teddy Bears. Those jiggling guitars make me want to get my pool shorts out.

What’s the most upsetting aspect of this heat?
Rue: I’ve spent so much time in the shower with the cold smearing down my back but ten minutes later I smell again. I go through T-shirts so quickly; I’ve got to change them two times a day. Give me a release.

Carolina: I have to get on the Central line on the Underground, and it is like the ninth ring of hell. I hate everyone. I stood on someone’s sandaled foot and didn’t even feel remorse when she winced.

Can you still sleep?
Rue: I have been waking up at five in the morning. It’s worse if my girlfriend stays over because then there’s another hot body stewing next to me. I bought two fans to direct towards my face but my girlfriend keeps stealing it and directing it at her. I just lie naked, totally starfished out sweating into the mattress.


Sarah, 24: "The Internet's new album, and lots of Steve Lacy"

Noisey: What music is supporting you through this difficult time, Sarah?
Sarah: I’ve been listening to a lot of The Internet’s new album. I don’t want to be bopping off the floor in this weather, more like subtly motivated. “Roll (Burbank Funk)” is my favourite song on the album: it’s just so summery. There’s a Kaytranada remix of it as well, which is great. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Steve Lacy – he plays the guitar in The Internet. He’s produced parts of Kendrick Lamar’s albums and he’s, like, 20, which makes me feel depressed that he is that talented. Also Blood Orange – he sounds very whimsical and warm.

Thoughts on the unbearable UVA?
The worst is on the tube when you get smushed into someone’s sweaty armpit. But overall, I’m a summer baby. I’m also from Australia – honestly you guys are being so wet, it’s not that warm. The only unbearable bit is how unprepared you guys are. Why is there no air conditioning? Where are the fans? Or beach? Christ I miss the beach.

Has the sun changed you?
I’ve been drinking almost everyday. The sun makes you want to buy rosé and sit in a park.

That is does. Thanks, everyone.

Annie is keeping cool cos now she's learned from the first heatwave and she's also on Twitter.