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BettySoo Loves the SUNDAYS “Summertime”

BettySoo Loves the SUNDAYS “Summertime”

Just like you described this really lovely, kind of girly voice. And then what she was saying was not, and I was like, Oh, I am into this. — BettySoo on The SUNDAYS “Summertime”

Think you don’t know The SUNDAYS? Chances are, if you listen to adult album alternative radio, you’ve heard them. Texas singer-songwriter BettySoo shares her favorite one hit wonder, The SUNDAYS song “Summertime,” with its charming vocal delivery yet darkly subversive lyrics. 

So that’s so interesting how, you know, different songs and albums come into people’s lives at different times, but the ones that stick around…it’s like, why does this particular album or song or band stick with me?

On a deeper note, BettySoo and Sloane Spencer get into what makes certain songs, albums, and artists irrevocably linked to someone’s memories at a specific point in their life, no matter the quality or popularity of the music. Plus, they discuss the ups and downs of musicians’ decisions to no longer produce music or be a public figure and how it affects the fans.

Without an external kind of exoskeleton of structure, it’s really hard to know how to prioritize things.

Known for life hacking support for her creative friends, BettySoo has to be so organized that she designs and sells her very own planner system, the Work Play Every Day planner, perfect for planning out Sundays and beyond. 


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Sloane Spencer: [00:00:00] All Sloane Spencer with you. You found us at our new podcast called One-Hit History Today, we’re talking with BettySoo, a Texas songwriter who not only has her own solo albums that you need to check out in a couple of very cool singles out recently, as well also has a trio called Nobody’s Girl, you can find them at We Are Nobody’s Girl Dot Com and a number of other projects and live residencies, online info, all kinds of cool stuff. Welcome. [00:00:26][26.4]

BettySoo: [00:00:27] Thank you. Good to be here. [00:00:28][1.3]

Sloane Spencer: [00:00:29] My pleasure. So what in history is where we talk to music folks about their favorite one hit wonders, and often it leads to some interesting little associations, so I’m looking forward to hearing which one is your favorite. [00:00:43][14.5]

BettySoo: [00:00:45] Well, it wasn’t a number one single, but it was a hit single in the late 90s, and it’s a song called Summertime by the Sundaes. [00:00:53][7.9]

Sloane Spencer: [00:00:54] Oh, so I’ve been working in Triple J radio for the last many years, and this is still a staple of AAA radio playlists. When I pull up the sundaes, it’s going to come up this one, and here’s where the story ends from. Their first record are going to be the top two in those playlists. Absolutely. One you’ll recognize. Even if you say, I don’t know the sundaes, I don’t know that song. Oh yeah. Pull it up. You’ll immediately like, Oh yeah, one that sounds like it’s wonderful Christmas time in the intro. It’s that song [00:01:23][28.9]

BettySoo: [00:01:26] I [00:01:26][0.0]

Sloane Spencer: [00:01:26] never thought about, but that’s really nice. Those first few notes. Here’s where the story ends off of reading. Writing Arithmetic came out in 1990, so that was kind of their intro to the U.S. market and so still a big well-known tune. But as far as like charts go and you know, my definition of a hit is, is this a popularly well-known song within any subgroup? You know, you want to be number one. It’s all good, but it didn’t do well. Number one on the charts, 10 on modern rock, 13 on adult top 40. I mean, that’s a solid, solid hit by any definition. So how did this song come into your life? [00:01:56][30.3]

BettySoo: [00:01:57] Well, I will say I’ve been a lifelong Sunday’s fan and the first record reading, writing and arithmetic. I think I’ve owned it like five times because, you know, one time it was stolen out of my car, one time somebody borrowed it and never gave it back. One time somebody sat on the disc and broke it. I mean, it’s like it’s [00:02:15][18.2]

Sloane Spencer: [00:02:16] gone through all these things, [00:02:16][0.8]

BettySoo: [00:02:17] but I’ve owned it multiple times because I can’t not have that album. And it was a really for me tional album for me. And still, it’s one of those records that I could listen to on repeat and not get sick of. So then Blind came out a few years after that, and then there was like a long hiatus. I want to say, like maybe five years, five or six years between those. And so I was, I think I was like early college when static and silence and third record, third final record of theirs came out. So I had the record and I was shocked to hear them on the radio because this was this group that I obsessively loved. But their lyrics are even though she has the super sweet voice. Their lyrics are really dark. [00:03:01][44.1]

Sloane Spencer: [00:03:03] They really are. She has the delivery not in the same style, but an analogy too. Like early Michael Stipe of Like You can get hung up in the loathing of what she’s saying and totally miss the words. [00:03:12][9.5]

BettySoo: [00:03:13] She’s one of those voices where you could sing along with every word and never think about what you’re singing. Oh yeah. Even if you’re a lyrics person, which is, you know, that’s crazy. But there’s something about their whole sound that I just like I love. But actually, and I love the darkness of her lyrics, like, I mean, to me, it feels so deliciously subversive to have this like, very innocent sounding voice that and I will say, I’m not usually a big, like female baby voice person, but hers is so natural. It’s just so effortless and unaffected that I love it. And yeah, I just loved that. Here is this like hit that was coming out and all my friends were like into this song and I was like, This is the same band that you guys make fun of me loving and. And I loved it because everybody was like, Oh, it’s such a feel good song. And like, there are like some people wind up with the one that they abhor, [00:04:05][51.7]

Sloane Spencer: [00:04:06] you know, like, just to me, it was like, [00:04:09][3.4]

BettySoo: [00:04:10] so great. But I don’t know. I just feel like they’re this band that pull the wool over people’s eyes in this very like charming way. [00:04:18][8.6]

Sloane Spencer: [00:04:19] Harriet Wheeler, the vocalist and songwriter of this particular tune, set in a bunch of interviews. She’s like, Well, we got the idea for the song from the early days of dating online in online dating. [00:04:31][11.5]

BettySoo: [00:04:31] Yeah, yeah, yeah. And and being horrified by the idea that I think I played. [00:04:36][4.8]

Sloane Spencer: [00:04:36] Yeah. So this is funny because this band is a very transitional band for me. It was the first time I really liked female vocals of any kind. It was the first time they really spoke to me since, like Linda Ronstadt days. Mm-Hmm. And here we are. Just like you described this really like lovely, kind of girly voice. And then what she was saying was not, and I was like, Oh, I am. Into this. [00:04:59][23.1]

BettySoo: [00:05:00] Yeah. Yeah, exactly, because the lyrics are so punk, you know, it’s like when the weather’s fine, when it’s sunny outside, I remember I kicked a boy until he cried and it could have been wrong, but I don’t think it was. He’s such a child. Like, That’s messed up. That’s so punk. [00:05:17][16.6]

Sloane Spencer: [00:05:18] You know, that is exactly what was the appeal for me. And so I, because of life changes, I have this whole gap of music from like ninety one ish till about 2001, I was just basically working myself to death in that time frame. And so I totally missed the fact that they had two more records after reading, writing and arithmetic. And so it wasn’t until I was working in radio and we were playing this one song summertime all the time that I was like, What record is this like? I recognize who this is, but just simply cultural cultural gap completely. [00:05:47][29.7]

BettySoo: [00:05:49] The record in between blind was like, I think it did really well in sales, and probably it was all folks like me who are obsessed with reading, writing and arithmetic, but I didn’t see or hear about it anywhere. Nowhere, zero. And I mean, of course, I was a kid, so I wasn’t reading like music rags or anything. But I mean, just in terms of like popular culture. I didn’t see it anywhere. I mean, it was on Geffen. It was a big thing, but it felt like unless you were already a diehard fan of the sundaes, it didn’t seem like it showed up anywhere. [00:06:21][31.4]

Sloane Spencer: [00:06:21] Yeah, I agree. It didn’t have a lot of chart or radioactivity internationally. Even sometimes there was that time frame where things were getting some European or British airplay that were not in the U.S. and vice versa. But it really just it kind of didn’t do anything. And that led to their not official hiatus slash large, long break until they finally did that third record in 97 did it in, 96 came out in 97. Yeah. So that’s so interesting how, you know, different songs and albums come into people’s lives at different times, but the ones that stick around and it’s like, why does this particular album or song or band stick with me? [00:06:57][35.7]

BettySoo: [00:06:58] Yeah, I don’t know if I can totally put my finger on everything about the sundaes, but they will always like I just know till the day I die. They will be a very special band to me, and I’m like, part of me really grieves the fact that they’ve said so many times. Like Now, really, it means a lot, but you guys want us back, but we’re done [00:07:17][19.1]

Sloane Spencer: [00:07:19] like it makes me very sad [00:07:19][1.0]

BettySoo: [00:07:20] at the same time. I have such respect for that. Mm-Hmm. You know that it’s like, Hey, it’s not about being a quitter. It’s just like we have other things we’re interested in doing in our lives now. And part of that is not being a public figure. And I think that is so brave and so like, self-possessed and beautiful. So I mean, I think it’s something that very few people can really do that it’s not like, Oh, we weren’t successful and we’re quitting or we’re bitter or, you know, like, it’s none of that. It’s like, Thank you so much. We are so lucky we’ve had a wonderful career and now we just want to have this kind of life. [00:07:58][37.8]

Sloane Spencer: [00:07:59] I am one of R.E.M. is number one fans, and so I 100 percent agree with that. I’m not one of those people who is begging them to get back together. I so respect the way they were, like, we have accomplished everything we attempted to accomplish creatively and we are done. Yeah, and we are moving on to other creative projects and thank you so much. I have huge respect for that, you know? I’m not going to knock anybody who is going on their third final farewell tour, you know, because pay your bills, do whatever. But from a conversation, [00:08:27][28.2]

BettySoo: [00:08:28] that is the thing that they are still most interested in doing and that they get the most joy from right and other people. They’re interested in a bunch of different things and they’re like, Life is short. I don’t want to have not pursued these other things I’m interested in totally. [00:08:41][13.6]

Sloane Spencer: [00:08:42] I quit radio like three times because I was tired of being in the public eye, and I’m live in a small town. It’s like a nothing. And so, I mean, I can’t imagine the life experiences that people have. You know, when people started, follow me around the grocery store to see what I was putting in my car. I was like, All right, I’ve had enough of this. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, totally. My husband would purposely like, grab, you know, depends and fill up the cart with a diabolical. Oh yeah, he thinks it’s hilarious. So here we are. But yeah, I have total respect for that, for accomplishing what it is you hope to accomplish and hoping for many more things to be able to do with the rest of your life that fulfill you in whatever way it is you define. [00:09:21][38.9]

BettySoo: [00:09:22] Exactly, exactly. [00:09:23][1.1]

Sloane Spencer: [00:09:25] A little side note for our listeners. You also I don’t know if you’re super organized or not, but you make a fantastic planner. I really like you to tell us a little bit about that. I don’t know if you’re going to do it again or not, but I bought one and it was awesome. And I use it. [00:09:36][11.9]

BettySoo: [00:09:37] I am, and it’s going to be improve. I am not super organized, which is why I have a lifelong obsession with planners and organizing systems because my default mode is chaos. So I’ve always needed good systems, good organizational planners and stuff. And and my whole life, I’ve kind of been obsessed with stationary bikes. You cannot drag me out. The office [00:09:59][22.7]

Sloane Spencer: [00:10:00] supply store, I became a teacher because I like colored pencils, [00:10:02][2.6]

BettySoo: [00:10:03] exactly, I’m like, Oh, I don’t have that kind of colored pen that does a different thing and I need it. So, you know, and so ever since I was a little kid, I was obsessed with organizers and like day planners and things like that. And like, if my parents had an all day planner that they had cast aside, I would like cut my own paper and punch holes in it and try to create my own little thing. And then, of course, I, you know, I’ve tried lots of planner systems from the stores over the years and spent many, many hours in stationery shops like looking at them. But then I never really found one that did everything I wanted. So I started years ago. I started making my own planner every year and especially when I’m on tour, people would peek inside or see me putting stuff in there and they’d be like, Oh my gosh, that’s so cool, will you make me one? And I was like, I don’t know how to make you a planner, like, this is what works for me. But then when the pandemic hit, I was like, Oh, like, now I can be still in one place long enough to think about, how can I make this useful for other people? And that’s what that’s what happened. I like went back. I grabbed like 10 different years of my planner and kind of sussed out, OK, how many pages do I usually devote to this, to this, to this and and created a planner that I call work play every day because my planner always functions as a whole life book. I work, stuff is in there, my creative stuff is in there and inspirational self-help stuff is in there. You know, everything goes in there so that I have this book at the end of the year that chronicles basically anything that I want to look up from that year, anything that I want to remember, it’s in there. And so it was really fun to share that with people, you know, and to see other people like you out of it. And the only thing that I that I was unhappy with was that because I was printing such a small number of books, there was no way that I could get it hardcover and spiral bound. The only way to do it and not cost like two hundred dollars a book was to do and I will say importantly and to have the high quality paper and printing inside that what I could do it inexpensively if I compromised on the paper, but that I was not willing to do that. So I had a paperback binding the first year. But for twenty twenty two, it’s improved in several ways. But the most significant way is that it’s going to have a hardcover and it’ll be spiral bound, so it’ll lay flat on your desk no matter where in the year you are. And I’m really excited about that. [00:12:24][140.9]

Sloane Spencer: [00:12:24] So I’m laughing at myself right now as I’ve gotten a big long desk set up in my studio and I have a weekly vertical calendar that is where I just think things through like that. I have to think on paper. And so that’s like color-coded thought process. Then I have my studio schedule calendar like up on the wall because I have to like visually look at that. I also use my phone. I also use the wordplay play every day. They all work together. And I know that there’s like rules behind like you should only have one planner, but the way I think has to happen separately and then I want it organized when I have it in the actual calendar and for what it works for me. So, you know, everybody find your method, [00:13:05][40.3]

BettySoo: [00:13:05] I’m with you and like, so while this is kind of my whole life book, I mean, I’ve had a desk job in the past where I really needed things in 15 minute increments reading. And so that’s why I mean, I say, like in the intro to the book, like, Hey, look, if you need that, if your work life requires that, then like, here’s this other planner that I really recommend that you use alongside this, just to have that planner just for that super scheduled stuff, you know, and that’s [00:13:30][24.7]

Sloane Spencer: [00:13:30] exactly what I do. That’s exactly what this is. It’s that work studio stuff that has to be organized because that’s other people’s lives matter related to those times. It’s not just me. It’s interesting to hear that you wouldn’t describe yourself as an organized person, because my obsession with planners and organizational systems comes from extreme A.D.D. and my need to have some structure because the main thing I learned in the pandemic is if I don’t have any structure, I will accomplish nothing at all in 24 hours. Nothing, not one thing. [00:14:02][31.4]

BettySoo: [00:14:02] Yeah, I will have been busy all day and I’ll get to the end of the day and go, What did I do? [00:14:07][5.0]

Sloane Spencer: [00:14:07] What I do? I have nothing to show, but apparently I didn’t just sit in this chair all day. [00:14:11][4.1]

BettySoo: [00:14:12] But yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah, I mean, I think what was helpful to me was that there are a lot of people who are super organized who love the planner. But what was more rewarding is how many people were like me who really struggle with organization and hearing that it was helpful to them was kind of the best. [00:14:27][15.9]

Sloane Spencer: [00:14:28] Definitely. So, yeah, it’s really interesting to me that the pandemic being such a strange time to be like, Oh, let me organize my time when I’m literally sitting at home. None of my public life is happening anymore. OK, maybe that’s just me. But yeah, it was a weird time to feel like I need to add some additional structure to what my life looks like, and I found the word play every day system to be quite useful for that. Where can people get it? [00:14:53][25.2]

BettySoo: [00:14:54] The website has work play every day. Oh, that’s exactly. That’s it, and you know, I will say, though, I think, yes, of course, when we’re super busy and when there’s a lot of outside stuff that has to make it onto our schedule, then we need some way to keep track of all of that. But I think maybe even more crucial, but at least as crucial is when we don’t have those outside structures and when we’re kind of in this amoebic void of boundaries and that implementing structure is even more helpful. [00:15:28][34.1]

Sloane Spencer: [00:15:29] Hmm. I had to have it. I literally couldn’t function. I surprised myself at how much I was struggling. Right? [00:15:36][7.1]

BettySoo: [00:15:37] You’re not alone. A lot of people experienced that this past year and a half. They had just as many things to do and maybe more for people who had to be home schooling and all this kind of stuff. But they didn’t have those normal changes of venue and, you know, kind of structural things in place that kind of break up their time naturally. They didn’t have their morning commute, their evening commute, you know, dinner plans, whatever school events like games, you know, just like things that you know, that all the other things have to be done between or with those deadlines, you know, like all of those external things, create this structure, and it’s kind of like a million different deadlines in your life. And for most people, that’s when we take action. That’s when we get things done. And without that external kind of exoskeleton of structure, it’s really hard to know how to prioritize things. [00:16:30][53.3]

Sloane Spencer: [00:16:31] Oh yes. I’m glad you’ve been living in my head for the last two years because a hundred percent on all of that. But yeah, and that’s exactly. And that’s exactly why when you I don’t know where you put something out there in Instagram or something at one point that you were thinking of doing this, I was like, Sign me up, take my money. I need this. It really was. It was like desperation. And then it was like a great system that worked in with laughing that use the word system because the family joke is, I have systems for everything that keeps me. So they’ll be like, Oh, mama has a system for that. Hold on. Yeah, but it’s true. That’s how I that’s how I deal with my aid. And it’s it’s fascinating that other people have ways of putting their life in order that apply for other people. It’s not just a personal thing, even though you know it does [00:17:16][45.4]

BettySoo: [00:17:17] it that way. Yeah, and it doesn’t matter like how smart you are, how skilled you are, how whatever like checklists and structures and systems help everybody. I remember years ago reading some article about how, like emergency rooms, when there’s the same article when they started implementing a checklist like they performed so much better, they had fewer misdiagnoses. They, you know, they had fewer like missed diagnoses, too. And I mean, and these are really smart, skilled people. You know, I [00:17:48][31.2]

Sloane Spencer: [00:17:48] read that exact same article, and they took the concept from pilots who have their preflight checklists. And they it was initially done as a study and the data was just overwhelmingly positive of like checklists work even at high levels, just like you say. [00:18:03][14.9]

BettySoo: [00:18:04] Yeah, exactly. So, you know, I feel like I can’t feel that bad about needing it because I mean, if er, doctors need it, then all right. [00:18:12][7.8]

Sloane Spencer: [00:18:13] And trust me, they’re way smarter than I. So like, I don’t even like blood on TV. I don’t even watch that. Yeah. Thank you for fixing people because I’m just going to call 9-1-1. [00:18:23][10.2]

BettySoo: [00:18:24] Yeah, exactly. [00:18:25][0.5]

Sloane Spencer: [00:18:26] BettySoo. I’m so excited to get a chat with you here about the Sundays summertime, y’all. If you were not familiar with the bands on the Sundays and I’m not sure how that’s even possible, but if you’re not that used to stylize it with all caps pretty full on life in the internet, used to have a lot more visual stylization for band names in particular, that made a difference at the time. That’s right, I had a favorite band out of Atlanta named the Rocket Teens, and their name at the time had a star between Rock A and 18s. And so, you know, the internet, you can’t be rock a teens with stars, the band styled in a different form, but nonetheless, it’s like, you know, those visual funny little things don’t always translate to modern dance. The Sun Summertime, it’s off of their third album. Y’all should definitely find it’s called static in silence from the Sun, as was summertime BettySoo. Find out more about BettySoo music BettySoo b e t y s o o BettySoo dot com and you’ve got a couple recent singles. [00:19:20][54.1]

BettySoo: [00:19:20] Yeah, yeah, I did a couple of covers this year songs about feeling pent up at home. [00:19:25][5.0]

Sloane Spencer: [00:19:26] I don’t know [00:19:26][0.3]

BettySoo: [00:19:27] where that inspiration came from. I did a Richard and Linda Thompson. I want to see the bright lights tonight and Rodney Crowell’s ain’t living long like this. And it was fun to record those. [00:19:36][9.2]

Sloane Spencer: [00:19:37] You can find those everywhere. So definitely check all of that out. Check out BettySoo is Trio Nobody’s Girl, which you can find out we are nobody’s girl dot com. And if you’re in Austin, Texas, Tuesday nights, hit it up at. Nobody’s happy hour BettySoo. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you. My pleasure. Take care. Thanks, Elizabeth Miles. Appreciate you being part of one history. You can find out. More about what we knew at one hit History.com, take it easy one. History is a comedy podcast. We’ve done slightly less research than your average or Wikipedia contributor or loose with the facts, and your mileage may vary. Thanks to Jacob Fervor, our theme music. You can find his catalog at Jacob FIR, not Bandcamp dot com. That’s Jacoby. If you are not Bandcamp dot com, thanks so much for our graphic design and logo from Keith Brogdon. You can find his work and thinking out loud design dot com. Our show notes are crafted by freelance writer April Blake, who you can find at the April Blake NJ.com. [00:19:37][0.0]