As we wade through August, we re-enact S'wet in the City

The summer amplified to a maddening degree, nappier than Samantha's g-string. Walking down Essex or Ave. C feels more like a swim in the East River, the air gelatinous with exhaust, the asphalt reeking and each crack in the concrete getting a case of swamp ass. I'll politely demure from describing the bouquet of heated dog piss. The merest of exhalations from your lover acts as a wool blanket cast over the feverish body. Nothing can alleviate the heat. The skin overreacts, slickens in the middle of the night as the bathroom's bulb radiates heat more kin to a furnace.

At these brain-baking temperatures, I find that all other genres fall away, and I gravitate to playlists crammed full of nothing but reggae. My room thumps and shudders with its slooooow, lumbering, loping, almost subconscious pulses as if to teleport me and my surroundings, if not to Norway, then at least to the Caribbean side of Prospect Park. The headphones sop up profuse ear sweat and seep out that bass, and I let roots, rocksteady, and early dancehall sway and fan me. On repeat, it soothes and slowly synchs my body's biorhythms with those languorous, potent, overpowering riddims so that I exude less heat. The mental relaxation inherent tricks my heat-addled head, knotting and elongating my short hair into long flowing dreads. It helps me flee the mercury inna Babylon to chill in a slightly more subliminal space. So here are a few of my favorite tracks that have moved me this summer, moving like a midnight wind over the melted tar rooftops... like dear summer breezes (even if it is hot air)... or like ice cubes on Rosie Perez's DDs.

Apropos of little but some late-summer nostalgia: Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me is the first CD I ever owned. My father worked for an electronics company so we were an early-adopting family. We had a VCR the size of a microwave, a microwave the size of a baker's oven, an answering machine with two full-size cassette tapes (and a beeper-like device that let you check messages by pressing it into the receiver of a payphone to check your messages--I was very cool at the mall), and a CD player, the size of, well, a late-eighties VCR. My parents didn't know what to make of it. It sat there for a while in the living room, waiting for one of us to load a CD into it's enormous five-disc cartridge. I was the first to bring one home, this one, in all it's glorious glossy-red-long-boxed-ness. It was a little sad--just this one disc all alone in there with four empty slots above it. But luckily for me, my parents heard a song or two and said, you can take that thing into your room. To them, to all of us, this one album represented all CDs. If this is what's on them, my befuddled parents must have thought, then the whole thing's just not for us.

It took me months to go buy another one-after all they were twenty bucks. But more importantly, I wasn't ready for everything to go this way. I had all their other records on vinyl, and heard all the songs everyone did from Disintegration, but I've put my hands to my ears about anything The Cure has released since then; I'm sure they've gone completely astray. But more than any other band that I feel has gone the way of suck, this is the one I've held the most allegiance to, due almost purely to the fact that they popped my CD cherry. That and the fact that I got into college because of poems I basically plagiarized from lyrics on Head on the Door.