The Playlist Challenge:
Hey everyone and welcome to a brand new format I’ve been trying to get on our podcast for months. All of our potential guests for it have fallen through though, so I’m taking it to the website! So, the rules for the playlist challenge are simple. I will give you a 20 song playlist that goes with a certain theme with only one song per artist/band and a brief explanation for why I chose the song. Hit me up on Twitter @digitalmenaudio and give me some feedback. If you want to create a playlist yourself, send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put it right here.
For my first playlist I figured I would tackle the beach, especially since I’m there right now. Beach music is tricky because it seems to heavily lean on only a handful of genres and artists. I’ll do my best to stray outside those constraints though.
- Say Hey I Love You- Michael Franti & Spearhead
Reggae is the go-to genre of beach music to the point of being cliche. Michael Franti & Spearhead aren’t exactly innovators of the genre either, doing much the same things that UB40 and others have done in mixing hip hop, reggae, jazz and funk. With that being said, they have produced some good songs over the years with this one being my favorite. This is a fun reggae-fused love song with a chill beat and a great sing-a-long chorus. All in all it’s a fun chill out song for laying out on the beach.
2. Summertime Girls- Y&T
This song barely requires explanation for its placement on the list. Hopefully, every guy reading this playlist has found themselves on a beach surrounded by super attractive women you either didn’t have the courage to talk to or struck out with. That’s what this song is about and it does it beautifully. Again, hair metal band Y&T isn’t exactly innovating here, but they made a fantastic anthem for summertime lust amplified by beer, sea air, and the sweltering sun.
3. Angel- Shaggy ft. Rayvon
Again I find myself going back to the reggae well, but this song is too fun to not include. It’s yet another chill love song a la “Say Hey I Love You” but this one features Shaggy, the biggest name in reggae rap and Rayvon…who is really only known for working for Shaggy. Sorry Rayvon. Anyways, this song will provide you with some good Jamaican vibes and uses decent samples of “The Joker” and “Angel of the Morning” with some great lyrics about a faithful woman from Shaggy.
4. In The Summertime- Mungo Jerry
That weird jug band song from the 1970’s? Yeah, it’s on here. I love this song and if you don’t then you might just need a day at the beach to relax. This is just a fun, chill song about fishing, day drinking, driving, and, of course, the ladies. This song is as catchy as it is simple and that’s a good quality to have if you’re trying to write a beach party song.
5. Cheeseburger in Paradise- Jimmy Buffett
Screw you all! I LOVE Jimmy Buffett and if I hear a single complaint about one of his songs making the list, I will fight you all. With that said, Jimmy Buffett is overplayed when the mercury rises above the 70’s so I get it. However, this song that is literally just about a really good cheeseburger is too fun to leave off the list.
6. Brandy- Looking Glass
If you or a loved one happen to be named Brandy then you probably hate this damn song and I don’t blame you. Everyone hates songs with their name in them. It’s a natural part of life. However, this song has a good 70’s chill groove to it and great lyrics about a woman so beautiful she could almost tempt sailors away from their lives on the water. I’ve never understood how someone could love a body of water more than a beautiful woman, but hey, that’s what we got here.
7. Raspberry Beret- Prince
Yep. Prince made this list too. He’s a transcendent talent. He also has a fun song about summer love that I think is a great beach song. It’s not about the beach, but it doesn’t have to be for the purposes of this list. It’s a light, fun love song that you could pass out to on the beach after too much Modello.
8. Just Like Paradise- David Lee Roth
Say what you will about Diamond Dave, but he’s released some really good music over the years. This song is no exception as it features one of the greatest rock frontmen of all time teaming up with guitar legend Steve Vai and bass legend Billy Sheehan. Roth’s solo band was absolutely stacked in the early days. The beach connection should be obvious on this one. In fact, it was almost used as the theme song for Beverly Hills 90210. I find it to be a great companion piece to Y&T’s “Summertime Girls” too but that’s probably due to the fact that I first heard them on the same compilation album.
9. Take Me Home Tonight- Eddie Money
Two Tickets to Paradise is too obvious. I’m not putting it on this list. With that said, a lot of you may be noticing that I have a somewhat romantic view of the beach. It’s hard not to when the beach is a combination of a lot of sunlight, a lot of alcohol and very little clothing. Eddie Money’s anthem about picking up a woman at the end of the night plays perfectly over the image of a late night beach bonfire breaking up and young boys and girls going their separate ways.
10. Vacation- The Go-Go’s
We’ve all had one of those experiences with puppy love or love at first sight with a perfect stranger and then had to return to the real world and all of its monotony. Fortunately I’m engaged to the girl that gave me that feeling. Even though cruise lines have used and abused this song, it’s still a fantastic addition to a beach playlist. Especially since, in my opinion, “We Got The Beat” is overplayed. One of these days I might force Brent to let us talk about one of these waitress rock bands.
11. Young Hearts- Commuter
We’ve really got stuck in the 80’s with this list and we seem to be stuck on the theme of young love. To be perfectly honest, that’s what I think about when I think about the beach. I got engaged at the beach. It’s a romantic spot. This song off the Karate Kid soundtrack is a perfect song about young love complete with the second most popular 80’s montage subject, the amusement park montage.
12. Cheerleader- OMI
And just like that we’re back to reggae and we still haven’t left the realm of love songs. Sorry I guess? At least we’ve left the 80’s…for now. This song was originally released in 2012 but a better remixed version came out in 2015. While this song does contain trappings of music I hate like auto tuned vocals and electronic production, it’s anchored by a drum and horn which really give the song a laid-back island feel. I promise that Despacito isn’t on this list though. I wouldn’t do that to you.
13. Steal My Sunshine- Len
This song is weird. I don’t quite know what to make of it. When I first heard it I hated it but I couldn’t get it out of my head. After a few listens, I’ve decided that this song is actually fantastic and it definitely has a summer party vibe to it. Hell, it was written about a rave and a tryst that happened at said rave. It’s an interesting relic of the weird and wonderful year 1999 and it’s a great beach song.
14. When Its Over- Sugar Ray
Brent hates Sugar Ray. Don’t tell him about this or he’ll kick me out and bring in Jerry or Sam to replace me. Personally, I don’t see anything overtly offensive about Sugar Ray. They’re about as middle-of-the-road as you can get. With that said, this is a fun party song from a fun party band. I love it and it’s on my list.
15. Doin’ Time- Sublime
Here’s a weird one for ya. But what else would you expect from Sublime. This is a band that will eventually be covered on the show. I imagine Brent finds them really interesting too, but we haven’t ever brought them up on the show. Anyway, this is an interesting little ska punk number with an interesting Gershwin sample. I like it and I’m sure several people have gotten stoned and drunk to it on the beach since 1997.
16. Stellar- Incubus
Now we’re stuck in the 90’s. 1999 specifically as we’re looking at Incubus’s smash album Make Yourself. The late 90’s alt rock sound is very beachy in my opinion. It’s light, fun, and usually focused on a very special girl. We’re back to girls now. Kathie needs to get here soon. Anyways, enjoy this awesome Incubus track.
17. Good- Better than Ezra
This song came out the same year as me. That’s just a fun fact. I recently got to see BTE live a couple weeks ago when they opened for Barenaked Ladies and I’ve really been on a kick recently. This is a good time fun song of the highest order. Not much to say here. Just enjoy it.
18. Analog Kid- Rush
You didn’t think I was gonna go through a playlist without a Rush song, did you? Of course I’d get one in. It’s me. With that said, Rush isn’t exactly known for their beach music. Analog Kid has a certain youthful energy to it though and is definitely indicative of a more innocent time in life. It’s a great song about youthful summer and definitely good for reflective time sunbathing.
19. Valerie- Steve Winwood
And just like that, the 80’s are back! Steve Winwood’s 1982 single is yet another fun romp about summertime and love. It’s the 1987 remix that gets the nod though. I just like the production more.
20. Summertime Blues- The Who/Anyone you want.
The ultimate summer song. Hands down. There have been several good versions of this song, including ones done by The Who, Rush, Alan Jackson, and many more. Everyone has a favorite genre and there’s more than likely a version that you’ll enjoy. My pick for this list is The Who though.