• Synched: A Playlist to Soundtrack Your Next Vacation
  • 1 Synched: A Playlist to Soundtrack Your Next Vacation
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  • Synched: A Playlist to Soundtrack Your Next Vacation

    In 2015 you’re only a phone, some earbuds, and a few clicks of a button away from literally being able to create and listen to the soundtrack of your life, as you live it.

    But finding that perfect song for that perfect moment is easier said than done. That’s where our new series “Synched” comes in. We’ll suggest five songs to help get you through some of the hallmark moments of your day, and since not all days are created equal—a summer afternoon in L.A. calls for much different music than a winter night in New York City—we’ll provide playlists for every combination of location, mood and situation we can think of.

    Can you hear it? That sound. That faint but growing hum. That, friends, is the sound of your vacation quickly approaching. And not just any vacation, we’ve got a feeling it’s going to be one of those vacations you’ll look back on for the rest of your life. And if you’re going to wring every ounce of fun from your days away, you’re going to need some great music to guide you. We’re more than happy to oblige.

  • 1. Waking Up: DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, “Summertime”

    We know what you’re thinking: it’s so predictable to start off a vacation day with a song like “Summertime.” But let us ask you something. Is it predictable to have some delicious, cold lemonade on a hot day? Is it predictable to dig your fork into a fluffy piece of chocolate cake at a beachside restaurant? Is it predictable to catch the perfect tan laying out by the pool?

    Sometimes there’s a reason something is predictable—because it’s perfect. More than 20 years ago DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince would lay down the greatest ode to the glory of the summer in hip-hop history, and it still holds up as well in 2014 as it did the first day it was released. If you can listen to this song first thing in the morning and be in a bad mood all day, if you can hear that perfect beat and Will Smith’s beautifully nostalgic lyrics and somehow feel anything but absolutely ready to have an amazing day…then we’re sorry, there’s probably something wrong with you. The rest of us will be listening to “Summertime” as we eat our breakfast and preparing to have a thoroughly awesome day.

  • 2. Getting Out: Sam Smith, “Money on My Mind”

    Sure, “Money On My Mind” is a generally up-tempo, very enjoyable, easily sing-along-able song. In other words, a great vacation jam. But while Sam Smith’s musical skills are a large reason his song is on this list, there’s a deeper reason we chose it. While navigating your way through an adventure day it may be tempting to think you need the right car to turn heads at the beach, to hit that one newly popular restaurant for lunch because you think it’ll look good on Facebook. But that won’t give you the perfect day. The perfect vacation day can happen on your friend’s back porch just as easily as it can on the French Riviera.

    So as you’re going through your day, in every decision you make, remember: don’t do it for the money or how cool it will look on Instagram or anything else; do it for the love.

  • 3. Mid-day Picnic: Grouplove, “Let Me In”

    You’re out and about doing the things you truly love with the people you’re traveling with. You can already tell that tonight’s going to be epic, but you don’t want to get burned out too early. What you really need to do is get a cold drink, maybe an awesome sandwich, and find a great beach or park spot to just sit back and soak the day in.

    And while you’re soaking, you need a song that’s energetic enough to keep you from slipping into a nap, but isn’t so energetic that you can’t just chill. Enter “Let Me In,” a song with enough breathing room to let you stop and appreciate how beautiful the day is, and enough energy to propel you into your next adventure. Go ahead, let those good feelings in.

  • 4. Party: Capital Cities, “Safe and Sound”

    That epic night we mentioned earlier? It’s here. You’re in it, right now. Maybe it’s a beachfront party packed with people, you’re dancing and covered in sweat and having way too much fun to care. Or maybe you’re simply sitting around a bonfire with news friends, trading high school stories. You might not think there’d be one song to cover both those situations, and more, but you’d be wrong.

    “Safe and Sound” has enough electronic pop to get even the most dance-resistant wall-gazers moving their bodies, but you could also easily throw it on in the background and still have a conversation (maybe even a conversation about how amazing those trumpets in the chorus sound). No matter where you are or what you’re doing, everyone just wants to be safe and sound. And if you’re having fun at the same time? Now that sounds like a perfect night.

  • 5. Going to Sleep: Ellie Goulding, “Starry Eyed”

    When you’re thinking of the best song to close out a perfect day on vacation, you’re probably thinking about something slow and relaxing, and you’d be right. You do need something to unwind after that party. But that’s only half the battle. The last thing you hear will also set the tempo for the next morning. So a true holiday veteran knows that they need to fall asleep to a track that’s both dreamy and will have you ready to roll as soon as your eyes open.

    Yeah, you’re right, Ellie Goulding’s “Starry Eyed” is the perfect song for the occasion. We agree completely. When you’re adventuring and exploring new places you feel alive and free, you feel like wishing these days would last forever, you feel a little starry eyed. Enjoy it.