Immerse yourself in: songs for poolside parties, beach trips
From “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel to “Water Under the Bridge” by Adele, H2O has long captured the attention of popular songwriters and musicians.
The reasons, of course, are basic. We need water to survive, so it’s a great lyrical metaphor for all kinds of things we can’t live without, especially love. It also invokes such vivid imagery, leading artists to place their songs on beaches, rivers and lakes.
And the topic can translate into an almost limitless amount of cool playlists, including ours, featured below. We’ve tried to mix things up here, tackling a variety of aquatic themes and including many different genres with the end goal being something you would want to throw on a road trip to the lake or beach or can – just being an afternoon spent at the garden pool.
So enjoy the tunes, which we’ll be listing chronologically because it gives us (yet another) an excuse to start things off with one of our all-time favorite bands.
“Surfer Girl” (1963)
Let Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys start the ball rolling on a tender note, as you soak up one of the most beautiful pop ballads ever recorded.
“(Sittin ‘On) The Dock By The Bay” (1968)
As legend has it, Otis Redding began writing this memorable record while staying on a houseboat in Sausalito, California during the legendary Summer of Love.
“Rockaway Beach” (1977)
The song is written on Rockaway Beach in Queens, not San Mateo County Beach. But Bay Area fans won’t hold that against the mighty Ramones, who scored the most popular song of their career with this fun number that spanned just over 2 minutes.
“The tide is high” (1980)
Debbie Harry and her fellow New Wave titans in Blondie reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for their third time with this reggae-pop issue, which was a cover of a 1967 recording by Jamaican band The Paragons.
“November Rain” (1991)
Of course, this Guns N ‘Roses classic might not scream “summer fun”, especially once Axl Rose starts talking about the (brrrr!) “Cold November Rain”. But things heat up considerably once Slash arrives with nothing less than some of the most fascinating guitar work in rock ‘n’ roll history.
“Night swim” (1992)
REM is at the peak of his substantial powers over this devastatingly beautiful memory of past youthful days, using the act of “swimming at night” as a way to mourn all the things that go away and are “replaced by every day”.
Every playlist should include TLC, right? So we’re going, with this R&B hit from “CrazySexyCool”, the second album from Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas.
“Swimming pool” (2008)
Vocalist Blake Hazard appears to be at odds in this softly romantic offering from the Los Angeles indie rock actor, the Submarines’ second album, “Honeysuckle Weeks.” On the one hand, she sings that “heavy is the mind which cannot be told when it is time to let it go”. The other? “But when you kiss me in a way I’ve forgotten, love is a bottomless pool.”
“Eyes of the Ocean” (2016)
It was the song that really got the ball rolling for Billie Eilish – after she and her brother Finneas O’Connell uploaded the song to the internet and quickly went viral. The rest is history, as Eilish went on to become one of pop music’s biggest stars. Still one of Eilish’s best issues, “Ocean Eyes” serves as the coolest and dreamiest part of our H2O playlist.
The Beach Boys American pop group in 1964. From left to right: Dennis Wilson, Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine and Carl Wilson.