Teen and Young Adult author Leila Sales shares her ultimate track list for summer travel. Her book, "This Song Will Save Your Life", is available now.
As the trainers at my gym who want me to spend more money keep shouting, summer is almost here! And with summertime comes many responsibilities—very few of which, it turns out, are getting “the perfect beach body.”
Some items on my pre-summer to-do list include stocking up on Lactaid pills so I can drink too many milkshakes; throwing away the twelve-foot inflatable backyard pool that I tried to set up last July but couldn’t figure out, so it’s been sitting there in a pathetic twelve-foot rubber heap ever since; and creating my summer road trip playlist. Let’s start with the playlist, because it’s the one that least requires leaving the house.
Making thematic playlists is one of life’s great joys. That’s part of why I wrote my most recent novel, This Song Will Save Your Life, about a teen DJ who becomes the star of the local indie rock nightclub. Music is her passion and salvation, an escape from her day life, when she’s mercilessly harassed and feels almost completely alienated. Music is the thing that makes her feel like she’s not alone, like her people are out there. I got to come up with lots of playlists for the book, and now I get to come up with another, because it is SUMMER ROAD TRIP TIME.
Summer road trip playlist:
“Bang!” by the Raveonettes
The chorus goes, “Kids wanna bop / Out in the street / Fu-fu-fun / All summer long.” That is some Beach Boys sentiment right there. I can’t think of a more summery statement.
“Oh My God,” by Cults
This would be a terrible song choice if you were stuck in traffic, but I can’t think of anything better if you’re cruising down an open highway with all the windows down. Or maybe you’re in a convertible? This song sounds like you’re in a convertible.
“One Kiss Don’t Make a Summer,” by Lucky Soul
Lucky Soul is a British girl group. They sound like the Supremes would if they were recording in the twenty-first century (and were from London).
“Marathon,” by Tennis
I refuse to listen to this song in the winter, but in the summer I won’t go a week without playing it.
“Summertime,” by the Sundays
This one is particularly good for driving at night, like maybe on your way to a dilapidated neon motel in Dewey Beach, for example. Your windows should still be rolled down, though. It’s summer. Your windows should always be down.
“My Friend Has a Swimming Pool,” by Mausi
This was going to be my theme song last summer, for when I got that inflatable pool set up. Now it’s mostly just an uncomfortable reminder of the state of my backyard.
“The Pop Singer’s Fear of the Pollen Count,” by the Divine Comedy
Easily the greatest paean to allergies of all time.
When the Cure’s depressed, there’s nobody more depressed. But by the same token, when the Cure’s happy, there’s nobody any happier. The happiness in this song is almost manically intense.
“The Boys of Summer,” by Don Henley
A classic. Not to be played in July, clearly. Listen to it in early September, ideally while driving through an abandoned beach town. Slowly start to roll up your windows.