Best Vacation Songs
Nothing beats a vacation … except maybe a summer vacation. Why waste time away from work/school/life in cold, nasty weather when you could be chilling someplace soaking up the hot rays and downing cold brews. Our list of the Best Vacation Songs includes plenty of sun-kissed tracks, but you’ll find some grit in there, too, kicking up like sand in your Corona.
Falling into the first part of Green Day’s rock opera about punk romantics, political maneuverings and dashed dreams, this ‘Holiday’ isn’t exactly fun in the sun. But the song’s spirited melody, fueled by riff-flicking guitar, nearly counters the antiwar message at its heart. It’s the only track on our list of Best Vacation Songs to mention an “Armageddon flame.”
‘Holidays in the Sun’
Like almost everything these controversial punks recorded in their short career (see ‘God Save the Queen’), ‘Holidays in the Sun’ is dripping with spite and sarcasm. The song was inspired by a vacation the band took in Berlin. In addition to making reference to a notorious Nazi concentration camp, ‘Holidays in the Sun’ builds a lyrical hook around Berlin’s infamous city-dividing wall. Probably not the cheeriest way to spend your summer vacation.
Rivers Cuomo kicks off one of Weezer’s most popular cuts with some sun-baked philosophy: “When you’re on a holiday, you can’t find the words to say all the things that come to you.” That pretty much sums up this strolling daydream of a song, which is all about kicking back, taking it easy and turning off your brain for a little well-earned rest.
Along with ‘Love Shack,’ ‘Roam’ is the biggest global hit for the B-52’s. And for good reason: The breezy 1989 song is all about pickin’ up, packin’ up and seeing the big, beautiful world. “Kick through continents, bustin’ boundaries,” they sing on one of their most irresistible songs. It’s vacation song as travelogue, spiked with a shot of soul-lifting enlightenment.
The don of vacation songs, the Go-Go’s’ 1982 hit wraps up summer in a springy three-minute pop nugget that nobody can refuse. From the bouncy intro, which lands in your lap like an errant beach ball, to the sunny chorus that requires at least 70 SPF protection, ‘Vacation’ piles on the hooks. The sounds of summer vacation don’t get much better than this.