By the time of this article’s publishing, the spring 2016 semester at the University of Texas at Austin will officially be over. Granted, finals week is just around the corner, and most of us will be drowning in work as we frantically try to suck every minute out of dead days as possible. But as soon as those last finals get turned in, it’s party time. Hop in the car, put the top down and drive to the beach, because you’ve earned it. Listen to these songs while you’re at it, and enjoy the soundtrack to your freedom.
Kristin Evans — “Summer Girls” by LFO
If you need a song that sums up all the feelings of a summer romance, while also confusingly name dropping Paul Revere and Alex P. Keaton, look no further than LFO’s “Summer Girls.” The lyrics alternate between l summer fling and dated ‘90s references used for rhymes: “Cherry Pez, cold crush ,rock star boogie / Used to hate school so I had to play hookie.” This song was never meant to be more than a demo track, but it ended up reaching No. 3 on the Billboard chart in 1999. Recommended for fans of girls who wear Abercrombie and Fitch and are in need of a nostalgic summer jam.
Amy Fennie — “Naked Kids” by Grouplove
"Cruisin' down the highway with my friends, top down, and and we’re all on our way to the beach." Anytime somebody asks me for a beach road trip song, this is my go-to. Grouplove effortlessly describes the summer I so desperately need after this hellish week of tests and finals. It's casual, sunshiny, adventurous — and frankly, California should hire them as advertisers, because they make their Los Angeles turf sound so inviting. If you can’t make it all the way out to Cali, take a break from finals for an afternoon and head over to the next best place, Barton Springs. Plug in your headphones, queue this song up and you’ll feel like you’re hanging out on the beach with Grouplove’s very own Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi.
Jim Hampton — “Super Soaker” by Wavves
Listen, I get it. Choosing a Wavves song that isn’t “King of the Beach” probably means I’m objectively wrong, but I had to be at least a little different. So hear me out: This is the most beach-y song off the band’s third record. It’s in the details. “King of the Beach” is a song meant for the drive to the beach, but “Super Soaker” has a touch more surf rock, making it more suited for when you reach your destination. Where would we be without that Ron Wilson ripoff drum fill? (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, listen for it. You’ll know.) What Wavves song climax can compare to the “Stupid!” outro, slowly building in energy until it finally tumbles onto itself and crashes into a mess of synth noise? Hahahaha, wipe out!
Rachel Rascoe — “Someday” by The Growlers
These California garage rockers consistently deliver equal parts grungy and sunshiney vibes. While any of their albums would pair well with a day in the sand, their 2013 song “Someday” is especially fitting, with its wistful, laid-back sound. “Hang on for the ride / I think I feel a change of tide,” the song opens, promising a better future “when baloney turns into steak.” I don’t know about baloney or steak, but I’m definitely down for a change of tide.
Tess Cagle — “West Coast” by Coconut Records
In high school, “West Coast” was always my go-to track on flights to visit my family in Southern California. Clearly, I was a typical angsty teen, because this is by far the saddest song of Coconut Records’ discography. But when I hear this song, I can almost feel San Clemente’s sand beneath my feet and smell the salt in the air. “West Coast” sounds like a chilly summer breeze in SoCal and reminds me of those westbound trips that always ended with bittersweet goodbyes — which is exactly what this song is all about. It may not be your #summer2k16 beach party anthem, but if you’re looking for a contemplative song to play during a long walk on the beach, look no further.