One of the best summer activities out there, and my personal favorite, is stargazing. The nights are cool after hot summer days, yet still warm enough to stay out all night, and the season has some of the best astronomical features of the year, including the famous Perseids meteor shower in August. If you want to really enjoy your night of stargazing, however, you need to prepare ahead of time and gather some things, like a telescope (if you want to really explore the sky), snacks (a must — I recommend popcorn and gummy bears), and of course, an awesome playlist. Here are my current top picks for stargazing music (which may or may not be intentionally space-themed).
“Love Runs Out” – OneRepublic
I know, “Counting Stars” would’ve been the more obvious pick from OneRepublic, but there’s just something about “Love Runs Out” that feels more natural when I look up at the night sky (not to say you can’t have both on your playlist). Even when I’m not stargazing, this song makes me want to. The echo of the vocals and the tribal themes scream “camping out on the desert plains under a huge open sky,” so that it’s just you, the music, and the whole entire universe.
“Kaboom Pow” – Nikki Yanofsky
Like the song says, “tonight we’re going 24 hours.” I only discovered “Kaboom Pow” recently, but now it’s usually the first song I hit “play” on when I go outside. It’s such a fun, jazzy song, and its ideas about superheroes and comic books blend well with ideas of space, since the two go hand in hand quite often. (Really thinking about that makes it fun to imagine satellites or meteors are superheroes flying across the night sky, especially if you have kids with you.) Plus, it’s also a great song to dance to if you’re having a stargazing party, or to wake yourself up a bit.
“Space Cowboy” – *NSYNC
“Space Cowboy” is, in my opinion, timeless, and very appropriate for stargazing. Of course, it is literally about and infused with outer space themes and that NASA radio voice sound effect, but it’s the specific combination of those things and the beat that make you feel like you’re flying through the universe and observing planets, stars, and nebulas up close. It elevates your stargazing to the next level and makes you feel like you’re an astronaut (or a really badass astronomer out for a night of discovery).
“Classic” – The Knocks
I don’t know of a better song dripping with summer vibes, but “Classic” is definitely, well, a classic. It’s a perfect match for warm summer nights, especially if you’re on a date or with friends. The slow, steady rhythm helps to relax, and the mix of bass and the echo of the vocals creates a magical, space-y feeling that makes you feel in tune with the night sky as well as that the summer will never end.
“Victorious” – Panic! At The Disco
This song definitely has the cool summer party vibe going for it, yet it also makes you feel powerful over the cosmos: you’re not just a dot on a tiny planet, you’re the master of the stars. And similar to “Space Cowboy,” “Victorious” has a mysterious, edgy beat that makes you feel like you’re floating through space on an epic adventure. Plus, it’s perfect for a meteor shower, since those celestial events are basically space’s way of “shooting fireworks like it’s the Fourth of July.”
Hopefully, this list will help start or inspire you to make your own summer stargazing playlist, because good music is just as essential to enjoying the night sky as clear skies (and those snacks). Happy gazing!