Time to celebrate! It’s finally spring break! So you’ve defeated winter quarter, taken all your tests, and now you have one week to relax. Whether you’re taking a road trip to Vegas or heading to Cancun, Nat & Becca’s Finite Playlist is here to provide you with some tunes for the trip.
Natasha: “Rental Car” by Beck is one of my personal favorites, especially for those long drives through the desert on the way to Las Vegas. Imagine yourself driving a beat-up old Thunderbird convertible, the sun shining and the wind in your hair, ready to escape the worries of school! This groovy number is the perfect accompaniment to any road-trip leading to a weekend of debauchery.
Rebecca: With its slow build-up, Dinosaur Jr’s “Feel the Pain” takes a while to take off – but when it does, its adrenaline takes it to a stratospheric level. It catches your attention with its modest little guitar riff and steady beat. Then the voice of J Mascis comes in: “I feel the pain of everyone, then I feel nothing.” The words are raspy and even a little vulnerable, one of the trademarks of Dinosaur Jr’s unique contribution to early ‘90s rock. Just wait for the chorus, where the drumbeat charges forward, the guitar wails on, and the melody catches on fire.
Natasha: It probably sounds a little cliché, but Sublime’s “Santeria” is the perfect beach song. It instantly takes me back to Venice Beach day-trips and Corona del Mar cookouts. For those of you more likely to head for the sun and sand during your break, this song is an obvious favorite. Throw in any Red Hot Chili Peppers songs (I recommend the track “Wet Sand”) and Weezer’s “Island in the Sun” and you’re set.
Rebecca: How about “Hey Sandy” by Polaris, a.k.a., the theme to “The Adventures of Pete & Pete”! Coincidentally, also a great song; it always puts me in a good mood. “Hey Sandy” is a great introduction to Polaris, who had a modest output of jangly jams (mostly for the kid’s show on Nick). But just like Pete & Pete, they’re smarter than they seem, with just the slightest bit of quirk to set them apart from the rest of the ‘90s indie scene.
Natasha: “Single Fins and Safety Pins” gets you in the mood for a vacation. “So come on down / to the beach where the summer shines / kick your shoes off and drink some wine / oh where the sun is shining / in the summer, the summer time;” could there be any song more quintessentially spring break than this? Japanese Motors have a great retro sound to a lot of their songs; their whole album is practically a narrative of the surfer dude life, transporting you back to the days of the Beach Boys. You don’t have to own a surfboard to enjoy these songs.
Rebecca: In California, summer starts so early we almost forget about spring. “Springtime Blues,” a 1920s-style blues song by Micah Blue Smaldone, will put you in the mood for both flowers and showers. It’s a succinct little tune, and perfect for the wistfully lonely. “Everybody’s got a sweetheart,” Micah croons, listing the animals he sees in pairs around him, “except for me.” Bittersweet.
Natasha: I throw around the word “catchy” a lot when talking about pop songs, but “Bulletproof,” by the English synthpop duo La Roux, takes the cake when it comes to being infectious. There’s a raw intensity in the words and a strength in lead singer Elly Jackson’s voice that is totally unique. This song is like musical candy, sugary sweet, and if you eat enough, you’ll get dizzy from the rush. The rush of La Roux’s music is enough to keep you going through a long night of dancing and partying. If you’re heading out for a night on the town and want to pump yourself up before you depart, blast this song as loud as you can and sing along.
Rebecca: I love wrapping up good times with “It Was a Good Day” by Ice Cube. What makes a good day? According to the former NWA rapper: “No barking from the dog, no smog, and Mama cooked a breakfast with no hog.” That’s just one of many quotable lines from this ‘93 classic. Listening to this song instills a sense of instant nostalgia; even if you’ve never heard it before (– really?), the echoey guitar weaving in and out of the beat will transport you back into your best memories. Before Ice Cube was babysitting kids in a minivan, he was really legit.