Playlist: Summer Destinations

We’re well into summer, which means it’s prime time for a vacation. Whether you’re flying out of the country or just exploring your own city, everyone deserves a break. Even musicians want to get away sometimes. So, here are songs named after or about prime summer vacation spots. If you’re still planning your getaway maybe these tunes will inspire you.

“Beverly Hills” – Weezer

This song makes you forget about the vapidity and snootiness of Beverly Hills, that is until you watch the video. Rivers Cuomo sings about all the great things in Beverly Hills and how much he wants to be a part of it all. While some thought the song was supposed to be some dig at the community, Cuomo stated he was genuinely thinking about how nice it would be to marry an established celebrity and settle in Beverly Hills. As far as Weezer songs go it’s not their best, but it was their most commercially successful until 2008’s “Pork and Beans.”

“Rio” – Duran Duran

Okay, so maybe the Duran Duran boys were talking about a girl instead of the place, but it’s still a pretty hot vacation spot. This one of the band’s most popular and successful singles from their 1982 album of the same name. Even if you think the band was just mindless pop, you gotta admit that stark synth riff is pretty cool and will get you singing “Her name is Rio/and she dances on the sand” in no time. The music video looks like a glamorous vacation since it finds the guys chasing a buxom lady across the Caribbean Sea in a yacht.  Hey, it was the 80s after all.

“Vegas Lights” – Panic! At the Disco

As far as newer P!ATD songs go, this one is pretty good. On this track, Brandon Urie sings about the carefree, fun nature Las Vegas has to offer, which includes “swimming with the sharks” apparently.  The song sounds like an 80s anthem with larger than life synth and the pounding bass gets you jumping. If you’re heading to Vegas you may want to pump this song all the way there. Just make sure you don’t gamble away too much money.

“Panama” – Van Halen

So, this is another song that’s not actually about the aforementioned place. According to David Lee Roth, the song is actually about a car, which he wrote in response to critics who claimed he only wrote about sex and partying. Still, you can’t deny it’s an upbeat and rocking beach jam. And you know traveling agencies took advantage of the song when it was vacation time. It’s still one of Van Halen’s finest and shows why they were the penultimate party band.

“Wannabe in L.A.” – Eagles of Death Metal

This upbeat rock track makes one of the undisputed phoniest places on planet sound pretty cool.  Written by Jesse Hughes, the song was inspired by drummer Joey Castillo who he met in L.A. and found the city to be a positive influence on his life. With so many people heading out to Cali for the summer, this is a must on your playlist. This is the perfect track to blast driving down the California highway with the wind whipping your hair and the sun glaring on your forehead.

“Miami” – Will Smith

This was one of the ultimate party jams of the late 90s. This is just one of the many songs celebrating the beauty, heat, and style of Miami, but Smith’s is one of the most popular. It’s upbeat, fun to dance to, and so catchy you’ll find yourself wanting to fly to Miami with the rapper. Listening to it now, it’s kind of cheesy and definitely not the greatest rap song out there, but it’s still a lot of fun and will get you in that summer mood. Unless it’s over 100 degrees; then it’s time to run inside and hail the air conditioner god. For more tunes devoted to Miami, check out The Foals‘ track too.

“California Sun” – The Ramones

Even punks need to get out in the sun sometimes. The Ramones dedicate three minutes to the warmth and the girls that can be found in California. The guys talk about frisky girls from San Francisco and even spending some time fishing. Just like most of their songs, this one is fast and easy three chord punk that’ll get you moshing and rushing to the beach. The Ramones sound like they’re having so much fun you can’t help but have a good time with them.

“Paris” – Friendly Fires

If you’re lucky enough you’ll get to travel to Europe for the summer, maybe even Paris as this track from Friendly Fires suggests. With bright, dreamy music and flowing vocals, the band talks about moving to Paris when the money is right and watching the stars every night. It’s a song for anyone who’s ever dreamed about packing their bags and flying out of the country without a care in the world. It’s a nice, feel good track that makes you want to get a plane ticket and head over to the country as soon as you hear it,

“Holiday in Spain” – Counting Crows

This wouldn’t be the first choice for a vacation playlist, but most of the lyrics have the right mindset. In this song, Counting Crows frontman talks about a girl that’s driving him crazy and how he’s ready to take a holiday, have a few drinks, and get away from it all. It’s a really slow, laid back song, but it’s actually pretty nice. It sounds like the perfect track to end a day of beach partying and swimming.

“Out in L.A.” – Red Hot Chili Peppers

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are always good for a song about California since so much of their music features the place, but this track from one of their earlier albums captures the excitement and party spirit of L.A. With their classic blend of funk and rap, the band waxes about a cool place called L.A. where things are always hopping. Depending on your taste of RHCP, it’s not one of their stronger songs, but it has a frenetic, chaotic pace that’ll get you jumping all over the place. As long time fans know this isn’t the last time the band would dedicate a song to their hometown.

“New York City” – The Cult

Sometimes you don’t want to leave the country for a summer vacation. In that case maybe a trip to the Big Apple is all you need. There are many songs dedicated to the filth and glory of New York City, but this one by The Cult kind of combines both. Ian Astbury said he was inspired to write the song after a visit to the big city. He said “New York City, of course, is famous for it’s 24 hour, nonstop activity, of course it’s high crime rate, high buildings, intense living are something we experienced for quite a while.” This is why the lyrics mention John Lennon getting shot. All of that aside, New York remains a hot spot for most travelers, especially since there’s always something going on.

“Barbados” – Typically Tropical

This is a super cheesy song from the 70s. Just hearing it you can picture the terrible outfits and awful hair the band must’ve had, but the song is completely saturated in tropical vibes. The music sounds like every tropical vacation jingle ever and the lyrics talk about getting away and seeing their girlfriend. It captures the carefree vibe that comes with lavish getaways, but it’s not the best vacation song out there.

“Take Me Back to Chicago” – Chicago

If you’re someone who dreams about running across the beach in 90 degree weather, then Chicago is a summer spot for you. Not to mention there are tons of summer events that attract people from all over, such as Lollapalooza, Riot Fest, and Taste of Chicago. This native band talks about some of the city’s finer points like visiting Lake Shore Drive and hitting up the Tastee Freez. These are things that make the band want to return to their home town. If you’re planning on visiting, just make sure you do it before September hits.

Which is your favorite summer destination song? Let me know in the comments!


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