Now Hear This: Music of the Beach Party

I went to Mexico last week, which was awesome. The music they played on the beach, however, was not. They insisted on blasting Creed, or Puddle of Mudd, or some other kind of butt rock. I had a [largely alcohol induced] fit. “I should DJ beach parties in Mexico! I could do a way better job than this Ding Dong! Where is my tequila!” My fiancé, on the other hand, insisted that I am too much of a music snob to be qualified for any sort of music playing for public consumption.

I guess the subtext is that I play to much indie rock and folk music around the house and in the car. What he doesn’t know is that I do secretly understand the nuances of time and place. While Okkervil River has no place on the beach, tracks from these four artists would definitely help facilitate a game of volleyball or a cerveza on the beach.

Before you get up in arms, the exclusion of The Beach Boys and Bob Marley from this list is intentional. Those are assumed to be givens.

Miniature Tigers
And so to prove my point, I come right out of the gate with a self-proclaimed “indie rock” band. It’s an unfitting label though. Tracks like “Sex on the Regular” and “Female Doctor,” from their third album Mia Pharaoh, bring an 80’s synth, falsetto vocal line, and a dance-club vibe that are totally sunshine ready.

Looking past the radical politicism in M.I.A.’s tracks, the dancehall meets hip-hop beats, combined with Indian and Sri Lankan influence make for sonic perfection when throwing together tracks for fun in the sun. While her career certainly isn’t as expansive as the Bob Marley’s or Beach Boys’ of the world, I lump M.I.A. in with the ‘givens’ when creating my ultimate beach playlist.

The cartoon band’s “iPad album,” Plastic Beach delivers a few great pop songs perfectly suited for hanging out in the sun sipping a cold beer and watching the waves crash in on the shore. “Superfast Jellyfish” and “Welcome To the World of Plastic Beach” are the stand-outs for our purposes today.


Canada’s land of ice and snow has produced an amazing summer-song talent in K-os. A self described Rap N’ Roller, K-os’s acoustic hip-hop is the perfect sunny beach vibe. Originally from Trinidad, the Caribbean influence in his music is not subtle – clearly influenced by Rastafarian reggae and Spanish guitar music.

What are your favourite summer/beach songs??

3 Replies to “Now Hear This: Music of the Beach Party”

  1. I’m all about Breakfast In America by Supertramp. That album constantly makes me feel uplifted and giddy, just how one would behave on the beach. I start playing that album on May 20th (Everyone should have an album that plays on their birthday) and it stays in regular rotation on my turntable until September 1st (The end of beach season for us school teachers).

    If I must pick one song, I suppose it would be Take The Long Way Home!

  2. When I worked at a radio station in the Caribbean, I hosted a show called “The Beach House” on Sunday afternoons. The concept was exactly that… stop playing the hits from the charts and start playing the songs that feel right for a day sitting in the sand and relaxing with friends. Music is all about the moment, and songs that capture your moment can be magical. That’s why most of us continue to listen to the music we grew up with. The songs that we bonded with while we learned to drive, learned to love, and learned to live are the songs we feel powerfully bonded to.

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