Growing up in Puerto Rico (also, Los Angeles, Miami, and Tampa, wait, what the hell am I doing in Maryland again?), I was lucky enough to have my choice of great beaches to enjoy the long hot summer daydreaming, lounging, swimming, snorkeling, playing volleyball, partying, BBQ’ing and many more (insert own favorite beach activity.)
Flamenco, Playa Sucia, Crash Boat, and Icacos Island, (to name a few) were my backyard during that season, and looking back, I am thankful that I was able to experience some of the very best beaches in the world. The beach has a stranglehold on my life. I long to journey to its shores, bask in the warmth of the sun, hear the crash of the waves, cool off in the salty water, party with my friends, and end the night with a great bonfire, sitting around, listening to great music, and enjoying the peace and comfort of, after a long day, laying out underneath a starlit night sky.
Unfortunately, I don’t get to the beach as often as I would like. My hunger for the beach and the idyllic state of mind it immediately instills in me grows year by year. I feel free and relaxed. It feels like home. It is a cliché, but all my worries are cleansed from my soul as quickly as my first foot feels the heat baking from that hot white sand. There is no therapy greater for me than swimming in the crystal blue waters of the ocean, feeling refreshed, flowing through life unimpeded with the current. I hear the siren call of the shore beckoning me, seducing me, and pulling me whenever I hear the following songs. I will always ache for those beach trips every summer, but these songs help pacify me, and alleviate my desires. I hope they will bring the comfort of the beach closer to you as well.
These songs are all about my experiences. Therefore, I have tried to stay away from the ever popular Beach Boys/Jimmy Buffett/Marley canon, as well as other notoriously famous beach type songs. A couple may have slipped through, but overall, the songs on my list represent my emotions and my thoughts as I head to another luxuriously lounging beach vacation. Below you will find a playlist of all ten songs, click play to hear the list. Thanks for listening, and read on to hear my reasons for including these 10 songs.
Phil Vassar’s “Six-Pack Summer” starts things off. It’s the ideal opener for me as it evokes that passion when winter is finally over, spring has reared its head, and summer is days away. The perfect song for your road trip to the beach. The anticipation of packing your beach supplies, filling that cooler with beer, hopping in your car, and driving with your friends blasting the music in the early morning sun. A great start to a great day. “At The Beach” by The Avett Brothers brings that feeling full circle. You have arrived, ready to leave all your stress behind, and smoothly transitions beautifully into one of my favorite beach songs of all time, “Toes” by Zac Brown Band. I couldn’t say it any better. This is what the beach represents to me, toes in the water, ass in the sand, beer in my hand, no worries, damn, life is good today.
Sitting on that beach, there is no greater feeling of freedom for me. “Free” by Donovan Frankenreiter (with a little help from Jack Johnson) is truly my anthem. Nothing in between what I am and what I see. That sensation of freedom, staring at the horizon, feeling the ocean breeze, captured so brilliantly by Jason Mraz in “Summer Breeze” (yes, it’s a cover, but I enjoy his version better than the original, so sue me). I am invincible. I am (to steal Leo’s proclamation), the King of the World. Well, if not the world, at least the “King of the Beach” by Wavves, an up tempo retro sounding ditty that just makes me feel alive. Its a song designed to start the party. Feeling that sun burning down on you, warming your soul, tingling your body, dancing over your skin, and unearthing happy vibes. Life has become a dance. And you are the King (not like Elvis, but you can try). A plaintive yell comes from everyone at this time to play this song or that song so they can dance, or everyone is trying to get their song on the radio, which “A Groovy Little Summer Song” by James Otto reminds me of.
A day at the beach also comes with its share of humor, and fun times, and comedy. John Prine’s “Let’s Talk Dirty In Hawaiian” always brings back those laughing until I cry moments I experience throughout the course of a beach party. The joker who makes everybody smile, the pratfalls while running on the sand, the beach chairs that break, the waves that pound someone into the turf, the long running inside jokes of the day, the moments that make you laugh and stay with you forever.
After a long day at the beach, it is time to unwind and get ready for the sunset, and the beautiful clear night sky that follows. The perfect ending to the day are exemplified by my last two songs. “Burn One Down” by Ben Harper, and Jack Johnson’s “Constellations.” Listening to these make me yearn for the nights where all I did was watch the sun set on the horizon, sitting next to a bonfire, relaxing with close friends, chilling with my girlfriend, and waiting for the stars to come out so we could write our own story across the starlit night. Some of those stories have been written, but hopefully most are yet to come.
So, that is my day at the beach. Summer is halfway over, so plan that trip, feel free to download the songs (right click on the song links above, and save as), and pay tribute to me at your next beach party.