Windows are down, feet are in the sand and everyone’s itching to get blacktop gone; summertime is officially here.
Another summer staple, the Scott Fish Bowl (SFB) – the world’s largest and most charity-driven fantasy football league – is also almost here. Nodding to the 12th installment of the tournament (SFB12), this playlist is curated around the tournament’s division theme in cities.
Each artist on this playlist is either from or had their music originate in one of the SFB12 division cities.
Curator Note: The playlist blends from country music to late-2000s/early-2010s rock, alternative and eventually pop.
1. “Almost Maybes” – Jordan Davis (Baton Rouge, La.)
Jordan Davis, a Louisiana State University (LSU) alumnus, is one of country music’s best-kept secrets. His 2020 track “Almost Maybes” throwbacks to a Baton Rouge college bar as he’s getting dumped.
But this breakup, like the other “almost maybes” described in the song, set the course for Davis to eventually meet his wife. This is a feel-good pop-country crossover that is a pleasing listen in just about any setting.
2. “Picture to Prove It” – Tucker Beathard (Nashville, Tenn.)
Nashville, Tenn., native Tucker Beathard is the younger brother of NFL quarterback C.J. Beathard. He also happens to be another of country music’s most underappreciated talents. On “Picture to Prove It” from his debut 2018 album, Beathard shares the story of a summertime getaway with a significant other.
The song’s message comes in the lyrics “I took every bit of that view in / I don’t need no picture to prove it.” It’s a highway anthem reminding us to live vicariously in the moment, not through the camera lens.
3. “Goodbye in Telluride” – Dierks Bentley (Phoenix)
Phoenix’s pride and joy, Dierks Bentley’s best work is arguably “The Mountain.” It’s a 2018 Colorado-influenced album that stands as a shift in Bentley’s music to a borderline folk sound.
“Goodbye in Telluride” is an optimistic outlook on an impending breakup. Its light chord progression and simple lyrics make it a carefree song for the summertime.
4. “Save Me, San Francisco” – Train (San Francisco)
Shifting the playlist to rock and pop comes 2000s rock band Train, with their hometown anthem, “Save Me, San Francisco.” The album-titled track shares the ups and downs of the song’s protagonist, knowing he can always come back to the Bay Area when things get tough.
It’s upbeat and tells us to make the best out of each situation. Lead singer/songwriter Patrick Monahan crafts clever lyrics and allusions, backing them with a piano and acoustic guitar-led beat.
5. “My Oh My” – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (Seattle)
Scenes of the 1995 Seattle Mariners team are shared from the perspective from a young Macklemore in his song “My Oh My.” Beautiful storytelling and a unique blend of piano, drums and brass push the song to be one-of-a-kind.
6. “Our Song” – Matchbox Twenty (Orlando, Fla.)
Every couple needs a song for the summer that they can collectively turn up when they need a pick-me-up. Maybe Matchbox Twenty’s 2012 pop hit “Our Song” can be just that for you and yours. The quick-tempo track reminds listeners that not all relationships are perfect. But the love shared can be healing itself, just like music.
7. “Good Life” – OneRepublic (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
The band that began in Colorado Springs, Colo., put the world on notice in 2009 with their hit single “Good Life.” The opening drums are met with guitars, and a whistling sound, creating an immediate sanguine feeling.
Ryan Tedder’s lyrics reflect on traveling the world and appreciating the journey’s precious moments. This is truly an uplifting song, amplified when enjoying a picture-worthy view.
8. “Sleeping With a Friend” – Neon Trees (Provo, Utah)
Known best for their debut album “Habits” and smash single “Everybody Talks,” Neon Trees is one of the more slept-on alternative rock bands from the 2010s. Emerging from Provo, Utah (also a slept-on SFB12 division), the band had a surprisingly groovy 2014 song, “Sleeping with a Friend.” A catchy chorus and a great backing track come together, shaping this unique song.
9. “Payphone (feat. Wiz Khalifa)” – Maroon 5 (Los Angeles, Pittsburgh)
Completely crossing into the pop genre for this final selection, “Payphone (feat. Wiz Khalifa)” was a 2012 summer hit that still holds as the band’s last truly sensational song. The song’s hook, “I know it’s hard to remember / The people we used to be,” cuts deep 10 years later.
It’s clever because it’s a quick-tempo song, but the further it progresses, the sadder it gets. But, “All those fairytales are full of sh** / One more f***ing love song I’ll be sick” was a sick chorus that let you swear twice. And of course, Wiz Khalifa delivers one of the best verses ever heard featured on a pop hit.
It’s a custom of the “Powerful Playlists” series that the final track is for the reader and listener to select. If you’re playing in SFB12, I encourage you to choose a song from an artist from your division if you so choose. If you’re hitting the pavement this summer, pick a song by an artist from one of your destinations.
Also, thank you to Scott Fish for continuing to host the SFB and inspire so many with what he does for charity and the fantasy football community.