At the end of this week I’m going West Coast so I can finally immerse myself in the land of red carpets and SUNSHINE. In order to remove myself from the grey, hoard bitch mentality that I have as a New Yorker and really get into LaLaLand mode, I decided to create a kickass California-themed playlist. And since my life is also content for the internet, I wanted to share these Gold Coast Grooves with you! (If I’m going to LA, I’ll need to play the part of influencer and that’s pretty damn obvious.) So even though you won’t be joining me on my journey across the country, you can MUSICALLY! *It is important to note that it must be REAL nice to live in a state where every musician on this earth wants to write songs about it because it’s just so warm and fuzzy and beautiful. Look up songs about New York and you’ll find gems like THIS:
God, Californians are lucky. Alright you scumbags and maggots, let’s transport ourselves to a better place, shall we?!
- Party in the USA – Miley Cyrus. I will absolutely not for a damn second apologize when I inevitably film myself getting off the plane to the beat of “hopped off the plane at LAX.” Miley Cyrus may have foam fingered her way out of America’s hearts with her tongue wagging loosely but she created a national treasure with this song. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to listen to it and not immediately be in the best mood so this is the perfect song to get my California party started. And guess what, I’m gonna wear the hell out of my kicks, because I AM from out of town.
- Beverly Hills – Weezer. CURVEBALL. Just trying to not get a big head right off the bat on this trip. California may be home to zillions of celebrities but I need to remember that I’m trash and I’ll never afford their lifestyle. In fact, I spent weeks bargain-hunting just for an economy flight to visit their state. Even though I’m the opposite of famous and basically live in a dumpster, I’ve learned from Weezer how to be aspirational and wish for the finer things. Shoe-in for instagram caption: Take my picture by the pool, cause I’m the next big thing.
- California Dreamin’ – The Mama’s & The Papa’s. Gotta keep it real here and say that I put this at the top of the playlist mostly to get it out of the way. It’s one of those songs that can get a liiiiiitttle annoying (a little annoying) but also hits the theme right on the nose and it would’ve been criminal not to pay my respects to my elders and include it. Also, “all the leaves are brown & the sky is grey” has never more perfectly summed up living in New York. When I was supposed to be in California this time last year (thanks Covid) it was snowing…so yeah…really dreaming it up about being safe and warm.
- All I Wanna Do – Sheryl Crow. Inject Sheryl Crow yapping about how this ain’t no disco, this is LA right into my veins. I love a good anthem about day drinking, especially because since this is my vacation, much day drinking will be accomplished. If I haven’t had at least one adult bevvy before noon each day, I’m not doing it right. Did I just confuse traveling to California with a literal bender? Yeah, I guess so, but I really wanna watch the sun come up on the Santa Monica Boulevard through boozy eyes. Just kidding, if I’m drinking during the day there’s not a chance in hell I’m awake past 8pm. Sheryl’s an animal.
- California Love – 2Pac, Roger, Dr. Dre. We’re bringing it back to another west coast classic. I know it can seem like somewhat of a betrayal to shout out 2Pac when I’m obviously an East Coaster/Team Biggie, but this song slaps so pls don’t put a hit out on me, anyone who still might be harboring rap gang rivals. I believe in world where we can love Biggie and 2Pac and also, 2Pac is 90000% in the witness protection program so, sup.
- Hotel California – The Eagles. REALITY CHECK TIME! Taking it down low for a hot minute to remind everyone that California is a beautiful wasteland of famous people that are stuck in a prison of their own twisted troubles. BUT OH BABY IS THIS SONG SUH GOOD that I don’t even care about the dark contextual undertones. Good news for me, I’m very much NOT famous so I can check out anytime I like and ALSO leave.
- California – Phantom Planet. Hi, I’m a millennial and therefore all of my preconceived notions of what it’s like to grow up in California came directly from Saved by the Bell, 90210 and The OC. Every week when I heard this anthem, I knew I was in for a whole lot of hot rich teens banging each other in mansions. I assume that’s how everyone is raised in California. I can only hope at least one person shouts right in my face, “WELCOME TO THE OC, BITCH!” If not, this trip will be a giant failure.
- California Gurls – Katy Perry. This song is SO incredibly stupid. Like next level idiotic. I had a random moment where I was listening to the radio in the car the other day (shout out B95) and this song came on and I burst out laughing. It was meant to be that I was reminded of this awesomely bad Katy Perry joint a week before I go. It’s a good thing too because if I wasn’t, I might’ve forgotten my bikini top and daisy dukes and then much like Miley in her kicks I REALLY would’ve stood out like a sore thumb. Can’t wait to melt mad popsicles. (The Snoop cameo on this is a cherry on top.)
- Hollywood Nights – Bob Seger. Alright, back to quality music. BOBBY SEGES giving us the wiggles on the tale as old as time, midwestern boy being enchanted by a California hooch. I don’t think I’d ever heard this song before I started looking for more songs to add to this playlist and I’m mad that I’m just now discovering it. Will for sure be grooving my face off to it to make up for lost time.
- Hollywood – Madonna. Maintaining that Hollyweird theme here’s Madonna’s take (I’m not a fan of hers but this song is catchy, so sue me.) Basically more riffraff about how no one ever leaves Hollywood and everyone wants to be a part of it. YEH NO SHIT, MADONNA. HOLLYWOOD IS GLAMOROUS AS HELL. I’ll report back if it also smells as good as she says it does. After my friend told me under no circumstances were we to visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame because it’s tourism trash hell, I’m going to venture a guess it probably smells pretty rough too. Jus sayin.
- Dani California – Red Hot Chili Peppers. RHCP has created an entire music library of love letters to California. I had a very hard time narrowing it down to just one, so if you fancy yourself a real California freak–check out the UNCUT version of this playlist also on Spotify. If you just fancy yourself a freak, feel free to sing “getting boned in the state of Mississippi” like I have for the past 12+ years this song has been out. No joke, had no clue he was saying, “getting born.” So yeh, I’m a dirtbag. Either way, top notch tune.
- Going To California – Led Zeppelin. A slow jam to be plopping on a list of party hardy beats about the best coast but it’s here for selfish reasons. I’ve always been a super geek fan of the Led Zeppelin WAIL and therefore this made the cut. Plus, I love the idea that so many people just go to California to start over. Hey my life sucks, maybe I should just move across the country to where it’s warm and try to become famous. It’s such a fascinating (and bold) life choice to me and one that I’ve definitely considered. Until I see reports about how half of the state is in flames and also the actual earth is moving and I’m like nah, I’m good. Realistically, if I had to watch awards shows in the middle of the afternoon or on a delay from the East Coast, I’d probably kill myself. Not that I’m dramatic or anything. Anyway, we got real off course there. Excited to stand on a hill in the mountain of dreams, soak it all in, and then come back to the comforts and ‘tude of good ole NY.
- Baby Got Back – Sir Mix A Lot. I took an artistic liberty with this one. One of my AWL TIME favorite lines is “LA Face, Oakland Booty”…not only because Blake Lively used it as an Instagram caption once and ruffled everyone’s feathers but also because I have the most BACK of anyone I’ve ever met. I’ve busted through more pants and dresses with this dumptruck than you could even dream about. I remember when this song came out, I was in middle school, taped it off of the radio, printed off the lyrics and then sang along with passion. I didn’t know it at the time (puberty hadn’t turned my ass into a round juicy bubble yet) but I had found my future King and his name is Sir Mix A Lot. Holla atcha gurl, Sir. JK you’re like middle aged with kids now probably and this turbo tush is still in its prime.
- Holiday From Real – Jack’s Mannequin. Andrew McMahon of Jack’s Mannequin/Something Corporate has been my favorite singer for-ev-er and back when Covid didn’t cancel live music, I used to try and see him live every year. The last time I saw him, I bought the tee with lyrics from this banger “F*** Yeah we can live like this” and now I feel like that needs to make the pack list. I’m a horrific over-packer so I’m assuming I’ll bring at least 35 outfits and wear about 4. ANYWAY, Andrew is a homegrown California boy and the uncut version of the playlist features many of his songs but this one was the vibe we were looking for here, folks. 0 F’s Given in the sunshine on vacation. I’m SUH ready to fry my brain, BAYBAY.
- Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield. You’re a total moron if you didn’t guess that this was how I was going to end this California musical snack of an adventure. Is there one single thing about the state of California in this song? Abso-toot-ley not. And yet, it is the ONLY score a bitch like me needs to immediately picture LC cruising in her black BMV convertible (top down, obvi) down the coast highway and directly into our hearts. The Hills is PINNACLE LA and as someone who still owns the seasons on DVD, I plan on channeling my inner LC for this entire trip. S/O to my girl Kat for putting up with my constant pop culture references while planning this vizzy. Will I smooch Brody? Will I tell Heidi I want to forgive her but I want to forget her? Who knows…because xx tHe ReSt iS sTiLL UnWriTTeN xx