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February 18, 2009 |

By TK Burton | Music | February 18, 2009 |

Hi everyone! How are you all? Good? Glad to hear it. Yeah, it’s a bitch about the cold, isn’t it? I know New England’s been having a bastard of a winter, and my friends in the Midwest are saying that’s been no picnic either.

What’s the weather like today? Well, I imagine it’s cold and unpleasant, as usual. Honestly, I have no fucking idea, because Mrs. TK and I finally said, “fuck this noise,” and we are in the Caribbean as you read this. In fact, I wrote this last week, before I even left. I suppose if I had to hazard a guess, I’d suspect that as you read this, I’m sitting on a beach, basking in the sun, half-to-three-quarters drunk on rum.

But since some of you aren’t busy sunning yourselves or swimming or enjoying room service, I figured I’d give you all a little taste. As a result, I came up with this playlist — I should probably note that one of my compulsions is the need to have a playlist for everything. Mowing the lawn, driving to Maine, rush hour traffic, shoveling snow, grocery shopping — separate playlists for every activity. So, a Vacation Playlist was inevitable. However, I’ve always thought that the key to a good playlist is that it doesn’t have to be subject-specific. It just has to get you in the right mood, the right frame of mind. So don’t expect 10 songs about sunshine and playtime. Of course, there will be some shameless sentimentalism — it’s a trip to the Caribbean with the wife, not Vegas with the boys.

Anyway, here you go. Be careful out there — that ice can be dangerous! And don’t forget your mittens, suckers.

weezerblue.jpgWeezer, “Holiday” — “Island In The Sun” seemed the obvious choice at first, but while that has perhaps the most adorable video in history, I prefer the lyrics to “Holiday.” Not to mention that I prefer the harder punch of the instrumentation here, and it features a great little finger-snapping and sotto voce interlude that explodes into crashing cymbals and wailing guitars, only to return to the melodious, gleeful singing. It’s just a great song, and I can totally see barreling around with it blasting out the windows on a sunny day.

dks.jpgDead Kennedys, “Holiday In Cambodia” — OK, so I’m not going to Southeast Asia. And this is definitely not a fun-filled vacation song. But goddamn if Jello Biafra and company didn’t know how to turn shit upside down. This song, a brutal piece of satire about the ubiquitous traveling abroad liberal arts folk, as well as a scathing criticism of despotism, always brings a smile to my face. Fortunately, I don’t think there’s a chance I’ll have to deal with issues like this: “Well you’ll work harder / With a gun in your back / For a bowl of rice a day / Slave for soldiers / Till you starve / Then your head is skewered on a stake.”

nodepression.jpgUncle Tupelo, “No Depression” — OK, first things first. No Depression? One of my favorite albums of all time. I think I probably like March 16-20, 1992 (ironically, the dates I’m gone for) more, but this one definitely had more of an influence on me. Second of all, this is a song about death. The chorus, “I’m going where there’s no depression / To a better land that’s free from care / I’ll leave this world of toil and trouble / My home’s in heaven, I’m going there” are not meant to bring a smile to your face. It’s about the final escape from a life of pain and suffering (so very, very Tupelo). But I’ll be damned if it wasn’t one of the first songs that popped into my head. For whatever reason, in my twisted mind, it fits. It just does.

zero7.jpgZero 7, “Somersault” — Now this is more like it. Shamelessly sentimental, gorgeously sung by the diving Sia Furler, this is one of those songs that I am helplessly enthralled by. It’s a couples song, a breezy, schmaltzy bit of romanticism, and as soon as I heard it, I began thinking of how to introduce it to my wife. It will forever make me think of her. Yes, that was lame and cheesy, but screw it. “You would somersault / in the sand / with me.” You bet your ass I would — and will. And yes, “You feel like home.”

shattercreek.jpgSummer At Shatter Creek, “I Need A Vacation” — Sometimes, you need a reminder of why you left in the first place, and this gentle, bitingly frustrated song by the eclectic, insanely clever Craig Michael Gurwich, who is basically the entire band. (“I need a vacation, some relaxing time / Because I don’t want to be angry and stressed all the time / I hate my neighbor. I don’t want to feel that way, but it drives me nuts when he plays Elton John all day”) Yeah, that’s the stuff.

koop.jpgKoop, “Come To Me” — To be honest, this playlist could simply consist of Koop’s Koop Islands album in its entirety; it’s smooth, escapist daydream of a record. “Come To Me” features the Swedish band at their swinging, lounge-tastic finest, with Yukimi Nagano as the vocalist, singing dreamily over hi-hats, clapping, and an easy brass section. If ever you need to escape the winter, in your mind anyway, just dim the lights, put Koop Islands on, and sit back and enjoy.

lemonjelly.jpgLemon Jelly, “Nice Weather For Ducks” — It’s got nothing to do with vacations or holidays, and in fact, other than “All the ducks are playing in the water,” it doesn’t have any lyrics at all. But this track by British electronica weirdos Lemon Jelly is another one of those don’t-look-back, carefree songs that makes me think of sunshine, bodies of water, and staring into a glorious nothingness. It’s one of those smile-inducing tracks that features great use of horns, guitars, and has a maddeningly addictive rhythm to it.

lyricsborn.jpgLyrics Born, “Hello (Remix)” — Every time I wake up, jump out of bed, stretch and throw back the curtains to remind myself that I’ve (at least temporarily) escaped the harsh New England winter, this song will be playing in my head. I’ve seen Lyrics Born in concert, and let just say this: despite some relatively intelligent, progressive-thinking vocals, the dude is basically a great big party on two legs. His album Same Shit, Different Day, is required summer listening.

arular.jpgM.I.A., “Sunshowers” — Because you always need a song to shake your ass to, and frankly, who better than M.I.A.? “Sunshowers,” off of 2005’s Arular, is just one of the several thumping, dancetastic tracks she’s put out. Much as I enjoyed 2007’s Kala, Arular appeals to me more (though unlike many, I really don’t think I’ll ever get sick of :Paper Planes”) In any event, M.I.A. shimmers with energy — hell, if you saw her at the Grammys this month, you know that even when she’s nine months preggo, she can still rock your shit.

bigcalm.jpgMorcheeba, “The Sea” — I honestly can’t thin of another song that puts me more at ease than this one. Off of their breakthrough album, Big Calm, Morcheeba has created the perfect summer chillout song. It’s the last song on this list, simply because of the mournful lines about the inevitable return from your escape from the real world (“I’d love to stay / The city calls me home / More hassles fuss and lies on the phone”). The rest of the song, though, is a gentle, soothing oceanside lullaby.

TK is currently sitting on the beach, not doing a damn thing.

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Music | February 18, 2009 |

TK Burton is the Editorial Director. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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