Summer is a perfect time to get outside and hang out by the lake when you’re not working or traveling. But what's a summer hangout without some bangin' tunes?

I’m either sleeping, working or doing anything with music playing in the background. When that gets exhausting, I watch a bit too much television because my mom isn’t here to tell me not to.   

Secretly, not so secretly, I'm obsessed with the latest summer music and the playlists that Spotify feeds to me in my Discover Weekly. I like to create my own mood, commuting or chillin’ playlists in the summer and throughout the year, something for any given moment or feeling.

Here are some of my favorite albums from my daily commute and cooking playlists.

Don’t Forget About Me - Dominic Fike

You probably heard this when it came out in late 2018, but there’s something about the summer that makes it shine. Blasting "3 Nights" on your way to the beach or while hanging out with good company just feels right. The best thing is that Fike put out a whole EP to last you just a bit longer than those sweet three minutes of karaoke with "3 Nights."

Father of the Bride - Vampire Weekend

We thought it would never come to be but it did and it’s a MONSTER of an album and it’s beautiful. Ezra Koenig is easily my favorite celebrity and comes from the late 2000s era of indie bands. I didn’t think Vampire Weekend would make a comeback for their fourth album as they broke off into solo projects after their last album, but out of nowhere busted out "Father of the Bride" to soothe our souls and give us some fresh tunes.

Apollo XXI - Steve Lacy

This guy. Steve Lacy is remarkable. He makes anything sound good, which is probably why he took over on the features on the new Vampire Weekend album. Although it is a summer release, I don’t think it’ll stay in the summer playlist vault for me with sweet tunes like "Hate CD" and "Playground."

Cuz I love you - Lizzo

If you haven’t heard of Lizzo, she is on fire in general and taking over music this summer. She is empowering and the message is strong for young women, but she puts out music for everyone.

RUNAWAY - half•alive

Spotify calls this a single but there are actually three songs. Bonus! This band doesn’t have that much music, but everything they’ve put out has been groovy, pulling me from happy to sad and reflective through really well-rehearsed dance music videos (check out "still feel"). Sometimes I find myself trying to learn some of their moves to pull out at the club. 

Living Mirage - The Head and the Heart

I don’t feel like I have to really recommend this, but The Head and the Heart constantly impresses me. I highly suggest their new album for some summer driving music.

For those times when I just can’t take any more sun, I watch television until my sunburns cool down while in the shadiest corner of the house.

My go-to shows this summer have been anywhere from corny sitcoms to something a bit more established such as Germany’s "Dark," "The Handmaid’s Tale" or "Stranger Things."

"Dark" is in its second season this summer on Netflix, and boy can I tell you I have been waiting too long for that second season. This show will captivate you with time travel in the best way. Between secrets and lies as well as family drama and questionable relationships, "Dark" is a must binge.

Unless you speak German, you are going to need to turn on subtitles, but that should not be a deal breaker. For me, they added a bit more excitement when I had to read a bit faster to keep up with the pace of it.

The others are more obvious for anyone with eyes and ears. Both are killer shows in their third seasons and don’t need much advertisement, but I still feel they need some appreciation.

"Stranger Things" is fully released on Netflix, and I am sure that anyone with a Netflix password has seen it. It was a crazy season. Between friends and family watching it at different times I think I watched it through three times.

"The Handmaid's Tale" is still in the middle of the season and truly keeps me on my toes. The book ended after season one, so everything is really up in the air for the writers. Though it receives a lot of criticism for creating entertainment with the abuse of women, the characters are what I stick around for.

Alyssa Estes is a staff writer.

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