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by Philip Sherburne

June 13, 2011

Surf 'n' Seagulls: Beach Pop Extravaganza

by Philip Sherburne  |  June 13, 2011

Nothing says "summer" quite like the murmur of the tide and the shrieks of seagulls wheeling in the setting sun.

In fact, there's a long tradition of pop songs infused with those very sounds, from the rolling waves of Otis Redding's "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" to the electronic birdsong that opens 808 State's ambient-techno classic, "Pacific." Lately, the trope seems to be enjoying a renaissance, as chillwave artists build nostalgic sand castles studded with '80s relics, and house-music revivalists evoke the Edenic splendors of Balearic disco's heyday.

We've gathered a sampling of some of our favorite examples into a 90-minute playlist spanning Metronomy, Quiet Village, Natalie Cole, Kool & The Gang, Procol Harum, M83, The Shangri-Las, The Temptations, Talk Talk, PJ Harvey and more. (We cheat a little bit Don Henley's "The Boys of Summer" may not have actual seagulls in it, but between the squealing guitars and memories of the song's iconic video, it's impossible not to hear at least an echo of the shore in it.)

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