After yesterday’s simmering confessions of lust and temptation by Regina Spektor, let’s visit another song with exactly the same title to see how different it might be. This 1966 hit by John Sebastian, Mark Sebastian and Steve Boone is a much more joyful affair, all about going out, having fun, and looking for a girl. And yet that’s not all, nor is that easy, not because of any kind of inhibition or self-doubt, but because of the urban environment. The New York band might be referring to their own city but it could apply anywhere. At a time when pollution levels in many of the world’s metropolises are getting to dangerous levels, it’s strange out these details stand out when listening to a song that appears to be about having a good time, dancing and waiting for the temperature to drop so the “cat can look for a kitty”. Supremely catchy, there are also unusual elements even in the music – the cautiously odd, slightly sinister intro and the sounds of car horns and sledgehammers. A 60s pop classic with far more to it than searching for love.
Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn't it a pity
Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city
All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head …
And babe, don't you know it's a pity
That the days can't be like the nights
In the summer, in the city
In the summer, in the city.
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