We DJ’d Cathleen’s Summer Road Trip

Cathleen writes us:

“What a fun idea– who doesn’t love a good mix tape or audiobook! The family (me, main squeeze, the little toddler) are heading to the beach (3 1/2 hour car ride) to celebrate our little one’s 3 year birthday (her second time ever at the beach too).”

What to listen to?

Hey Cathleen! The beach, how relaxing! The toddler and the 3 1/2 hour drive? How the-opposite-of relaxing! I have taken a toddler to the beach before. You need some sweet tunes to help you, the squeeze, and that babay jam and to remind yourself that this trip will eventually culminate in some sunshine and idyllic memories even though right now you are simultaneously driving, mumbling swears at your GPS, reaching back with one arm to grapple for the child’s drink cup and resenting your partner for sleeping through all of this.

Since you mentioned mixed tapes, Tom from Sight & Sound put together this one, which will take up just under an hour of your trip. Although lots of them are summery enough to listen to as full albums as well, like Wilco’s Summerteeth, Bob Marley, and War. Here are Tom’s recs:

1. Swimming/ Breathe Owl Breathe
2. We’re Going To Be Friends/ White Stripes
3. Where’s the Music/ Medeski, Martin & Wood (a jazzy version of children’s songs for the kiddo)
4. Surfer Girl / Beach Boys
5. Three Little Birds/  Bob Marley (babies love Marley)
6. My Girl/ Temptations (and also this song is on The Big Chill soundtrack, which is a pretty good road trip album)
7. Summer/ War
8. My Darling/ Wilco
9. Swimming Hole/John McCutcheon (more songs for the toddler)
10. Forever Young/ Rod Stewart
11. A Summer Place Theme / Percy Faith
12. Sitting on the Dock of the Bay/Otis Redding
13. Summertime/ Pico & Chown
14. Summer Breeze/Seals & Crofts
15. To the End / Blur

For the rest of the way there, we’ve found a few sunny sounding albums to pump you up for your day off. Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life will guide you through a whopping hour and a half of hits you can sing along to. It’s Mr. Wonder’s favorite album because it was a great time in his life as he had just become a father! Sing along with him!

On the last leg of the trip, try Polyphonic Spree’s Beginning Stages of…  The first nine tracks of their album take about 30 minutes, but the last track is 36 minutes long by itself. They’re weird but they’ll make you smile.


Now on the way home from the beach, you also need something to look forward to. The little one will be tuckered out, your ears will be a bit tired from the lovely sounds of the waves and the wind and you’ll want something quiet, but also something that will keep you from falling asleep at the wheel.

I would recommend listening to a book that’s suspenseful, summery, and on the short-side. The Young Adult section is the perfect place to go for those things. How about We Were Liars by E. Lockhart? Here’s the Goodreads description:

A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret. Lies upon lies. True love. We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel. Read it. And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

I hope you like our playlist for you. Happy birthday to your kiddo and have a blast at the beach. Or as my son calls it, loudly, in public, “Beetch! Mama beetch!”



Leave a Reply