In my last post here I mentioned that an inordinate number of people I care about live in California. I also promised you a playlist of songs about California, which I have been curating and listening to during those rare moments when I am a) not busy, not stressed, and not exhausted and b) when there is no World Series game on TV.
I initially had about fiftten California-themed tracks but narrowed it down to ten that I like. There are certainly more famous tunes I left off the list, like The Doors' "L.A. Woman", The Mamas and The Papas' "California Dreamin" or LL Cool J's "Goin' Back To Cali" .. but I just couldn't get into them. These are tracks I would blast out my car window if I ever took a road trip to the "best coast". Enjoy!
1. Phantom Planet - "California"
A song I never listened to from a show I never watched (The O.C.) Almost forgot how whiny and repetitive this song is; it's only on the list because it's a halfway decent opening track. I guess. (Useless fact: Bill Simmons once predicted that Olivia Wilde would be more famous than the show's lead actress: “I will bet anyone $100 that she’s a bigger star than Mischa Barton five years from now.” Someone pay the man.)
2. Everclear - "Santa Monica"
I had completely forgotten this song existed until I heard it on the radio last week. Shame on me. Everclear were one of my favorite bands in high school; I even saw them play a radio festival at a Six Flags back in '95.
3. Hole - "Malibu"
I am no fan of Courtney Love but this is one of a few Hole songs I enjoy - "Doll Parts", "Miss World", and their cover of "Gold Dust Woman" are the others.
4. Red Hot Chili Peppers - "Dani California"
The Chilis' love to write songs about the Golden State; "Under The Bridge" was a classic, "Califonication" was kinda meh... by the time this track dropped I had California fatigue and didn't really give it a chance. Now that I have, I'm enjoying it a lot more than "Californication."
5. Weezer - "Beverly Hills"
Weezer videos are the best. From "Buddy Holly" to "Perfect Situation" to this party at the Playboy mansion. Rivers sings that he's not cool enough for this scene, but the 'beautiful people' seem to be enjoying themselves.
6. 2Pac f/Dr. Dre - "California Love"
I'm not usually a fan of hip-hop tracks (especially 'gangsta rap') but this is a must-play for any trip to Cali. Bonus for the shout-outs to every frickin' California city you can think of at the end. (Useless fact: this has been parodied by Chris Rock and South Park.)
7. Best Coast - "California Nights"
Not sure where I first heard about Best Coast (music choice alternative channel maybe?) but I'm always open to discovering new female-fronted bands. This has a very ethereal, calming beat - which I'd definitely play while relaxing on a beach or exploring Big Sur.
8. Thirty Seconds To Mars - "City Of Angels"
30STM is an amzing, amazing band - if Jared Leto would drop the acting thing (which he is also really, really good at) and concentrate on music he/they could absolutely be The Biggest Band In The World. I'm not sure why I don't listen to them more, perhaps they are too 'epic' for me to handle on a regular basis. (Useless fact: girls I crushed on in 7th grade constantly drooled over Jared back when he was on "My So-Called Life".. 20 years later, I think I understand why.)
9. My Chemical Romance "We Don't Need Another Song About California"
This is a bonus track off My Chem's final album Danger Days. I'm so mad that these Jersey rockers broke up - f*cking love this band. Fall Out Boy got back together and they're killing it. What's your excuse, MCR?
10. The Beach Boys - "California Girls"
MCR might have the better closing track but no California playlist would be complete without The Beach Boys. "California Girls" would fit in pretty much anywhere on this mixtape - and yet it stands out as the only true California classic. Personally I don't wish they could all be California girls - I'm overwhelmed enough with two of them!
Have you ever been to California? Do you have a favorite California-themed song? Let me know in the comments below.