Got my flip flops on. Margarita in hand. Sunglasses — check. Straw hat — check. Beach chair — check. Smart device — check. Put on a quality pair of ear buds and I am definitely ready for some leisure time!
Now, some people head to the ocean simply to cool off. For me it’s more of a spiritual event. But if it’s 98 degrees in the shade, proximity to H20 is an oasis for the body and the soul. Here on the baking sand, I prefer a soundtrack that reinforces the chill vibe I want to retain. And if I had to pick 10 songs to give me that vibe, these would be the ones I’d choose.
This prayer-like mantra from The Beatles’ Abbey Road album never fails to help me honor and appreciate the renewed 24-hour cycle we so often take for granted. As I listen, I picture the sun sneaking up from the horizon and I remember how grateful I am I get to see another day. (Thank you, George, for showing Paul and John you could write a great song too!) Listen to it here.
If this Sheryl Crow song doesn’t get you in the beach mood, I don’t know what will. Turn up the volume as you settle in and let the rays do their thing — it’ll make you feel like you’re absorbing that vitamin D right into your blood. (Don’t forget the sunscreen!) Listen to it here.
This kooky ditty by Ween gets me out of my hot head. In fact, by the second hook I’m swimming with Jacques Cousteau or meeting future fried calamari with my octopus teacher. Pass the snorkel gear! Listen to it here.
The lyrics have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with surf or sand, but I love this Steelers Wheel song nonetheless because it transports me back to summers gone by. I’m with my girlfriends. Someone’s mom dropped us off at the beach. There we basked, tin foil-lined double album covers turned into sun reflectors strategically angled under our chins, boombox blasting this track. Life doesn’t get much better than that. Listen to it here.
Occasionally, I’m lucky enough to be invited out on a friend’s boat. Looking back at the shore, I consider the opposite perspective, how small it all seems. I take in the breeze, the smell of the salt in the water, the random dolphin chirping a greeting. Like a fine wine, Christopher Cross’s “Sailing” is the perfect pairing for the moment. Listen to it here.
If someone broke your heart last night, the sea can have a mystical healing effect. Go to la mer and confide in her. Have faith in the process. And in the ocean. Then touch your toes to her waves and queue up this cathartic Beach House tune. Listen to it here.
Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak are the fun-lovingest duo ever. This feel-good flirtatious number will put a smile on your face, even if there’s one already there. Trust me, it’ll just get wider. Open the door and let them in! Listen to it here.
I shouldn’t have to even explain this choice. Come on, it’s Bob Marley. He’s jammin’. Put on this track and you can be jammin’ with him too. Listen to it here.
This utterly infectious summer throw-back from Weezer reminds me of my favorite vacation — the one in which I drank too many piña coladas and read that trashy novel. If you don’t have the time to get away for a week right now, this track will make you feel like you’re already in Aruba. And the bonus is you’ll save a bundle in airfare! Listen to it here.
What would a beach playlist be without a Beach Boys track? Most lists would probably include the obvious: “Surfing Safari” or “Surfing’ USA.” But “Good Vibrations” is my choice because even if you can’t surf to save your life, the positive energy you’ll get from this “pocket symphony” (as composer Brian Wilson characterized it) is all you’ll need. Listen to it here.
If you’re heading for the beach, Yamaha TW-E3B wireless earbuds are a great choice thanks to their IPX5 rating, which provides sweat-resistance, protecting them from water activities short of swimming or diving.