Here in the northern U.S., winter is (finally) coming. And while the cold weather sets in, it seems like a pretty great time to do some California dreamin'.
Of course, it's always an appropriate time for California dreamin' — but with temperatures outside chilling in the 40-degree (Fahrenheit) range and hovering right under 60 degrees in the house (because we are cheap), it's simply all the more appropriate.
And, besides getting your lazy bum on a plane and flying out there, what could be better for California dreamin' than listening to a California-inspired playlist? While there was no certain criterion other than being a jazzy, uplifting, and sometimes-California-or-travel-related tune, the following selection of songs was created for my trip to Los Angeles in early 2016.
I provide them to you now so that you might caress your ears with them and think some warmer thoughts:
1. Mr. Wonderful — Allstar Weekend (2011)
"You and me and the palm trees, we can lay outside on the beach all night. We can swim with the dolphins, go golfin'; baby girl, you can be my wife...". This one fits into the jazzy category — nothing more, nothing less.
2. Rains in L.A. — Scouting for Girls (2012)
There's a story here: Girl wants to move to L.A. Boy says, "It only rains in L.A." Girl leaves London for L.A. anyway. Boy joins girl in L.A., changes his tune: "It never rains in L.A." That was the pre-280-character-limit tweet version.
3. California Sun — The Ramones (1977)
It's the Ramones!! No more need be said. (But I'd still advise to refrain from wearing a Ramones shirt to a music festival when you hardly know any of their music.)
4. Hello, Brooklyn — All Time Low (2009)
We hit a lot of destinations in this song, L.A. among them. The fast-paced rhythm sets it up as a great road trip song prime for volume cranking.
5. Limelight — Rush (1981)
Rush just kind of makes me think of California. Are they from there? *Checks the all-knowing, universally-trusted source of information for everything ever (Wikipedia)* Oh, they're from Canada.
6. All Night Longer — Sammy Adams (2012)
This is the kind of douche-y, pop song I'd normally try to avoid, but it accomplishes what it sets out to; namely, making you feel somewhat amped and ready to down some mind-numbing beverages.
7. You Could Be My Girl — Shwayze & Cisco (2011)
This song comes from Shwayze & Cisco's album "Island in the Sun" (which is coincidentally the name of a Weezer song that probably would have fit really well on this list). They sing about drinking, feeling the sea spray on your face, and the fact that you, yes you, could be my girl. Good stuff.
8. Summer Paradise — Simple Plan ft. K'naan (2011)
I feel like the title of the song says it all here.
9. All The Small Things — Blink-182 (1999)
It's Blink-182('s most well-known and totally, amazingly awesome song from "Enema of the State")!! Nothing more need be said.
10. Up Up & Away — Kid Cudi (2009)
I still remember this song playing during a Mountain Dew KickStart commercial where this dude had his head phones in and was settling into his morning commute on the bus. I like that commercial.
11. Teenage Dream — Katy Perry (2010)
Almost (almost) embarrassed to include Katy Perry here, but the song is on the playlist. And if you've ever seen the music video for "Teenage Dream," you'd understand why it inspires roadtripping thoughts.
12. Sugar — Maroon 5 (2014)
Remember when Adam Levine and the other random guys who make up Maroon 5 crashed all those weddings in L.A. to play this song? I don't believe that *ish* was real for one second.
13. Ocean Avenue — Yellowcard (2003)
Yellowcard plays the nostalgia card with "Ocean Avenue," a song that has always made me think of running away to somewhere warm.
14. Girls — The 1975 (2013)
I actually like "Change of Heart" and "Paris" by The 1975 a lot more than "Girls" but those songs don't have the same upbeat thing going on as this one. Footloose and fancy-free are adjectives that come to mind here.
15. American Dream — MKTO (2014)
The long-awaited sequel to John Cougar Mellencamp's "Jack and Diane"! Or so this song's chorus seems to proclaim itself anyway: "This ain't the same summer song that you used to know, 'cause Jack left Diane 30 years ago. The world is spinning too fast for you and me, so tell me whatever happened to the American Dream?"
16. Radio — Hot Chelle Rae ft. Bei Maejor (2011)
"Radio" is Hot Chelle Rae's long distance relationship song, so that's certainly appropriate for travel. "No matter where I'm at, no matter where I go, I'll be singing for you on the radio," — like a little bug in your ear to remind you of your significant other, but in a good way.
17. Tonight — John Legend ft. Ludacris (2012)
I picture driving around in a convertible on downtown L.A. streets when I hear this song. I mean, it's obviously about sex, but we all have our own interpretations.
18. Movin' Up — Anthem Academy (2015)
"Mr. Wonderful"'s jazzy and completely-unrelated cousin, "Movin' Up" makes you want to do just that: move! I feel like you could swing dance to this, given that you have quick feet.
19. Let Go — RAC ft. Kele & MNDR (2014)
Honestly, had to be reminded what this song even was, as it had been a hot second since I'd listened to it. RAC and company embrace a carefree approach with "Let Go", Elsa-ing their way to the third song on this list that I'm describing as jazzy.
20. & 21. The Days — Avicii (2014), The Nights — Avicii (2014)
Not so much "The Days" as "The Nights", but both of these songs make you want to go out there and shake life by the shoulders. I figured including both on the playlist was necessary so that all 24 hours of the day would be covered.