The Soundtrack of Your Summer 2023 Vacation

It is now officially the month of May, and you know what that means. It is getting hotter, school is nearing its end, and summer is approaching! With that comes the summer break and (hopefully) vacations we all love. According to USA Today, the top five travel destinations of 2023 are London, Cancun, Paris, Orlando, and Rome. One of the most fun things for me before traveling is to curate a playlist to fit the atmosphere of wherever I am going. That is where these albums come in. I have selected albums that capture the vibes of the top five summer travel destinations. Let’s get things started!

London: Up All Night – One Direction

Now, I know what you’re thinking. This is not the most all-encompassing vibe for the city of London. However, nothing fits more than the first introduction to one of the biggest UK acts of the last decade: One Direction. They took over the airwaves in 2011, so much so that everyone and their mother knows this band. What better way to celebrate your holiday in the Big Smoke than blasting them throughout the city? You could scream “What Makes You Beautiful” in a taxi with your friends. You could have a dramatic main character moment through the rain with “Gotta Be You.” The best yet is you could recreate the whole “One Thing” music video like the boys and explore the entire city. Whatever your choice, give this one a spin for the trip across the pond.

Cancun: Un Verano Sin Ti – Bad Bunny

I spent some time in Cancun last summer, and this was right around the time Bad Bunny dropped Un Verano Sin Ti. Trust me, this album is the perfect fit for it. It has enough variety amongst the tracklist and fits different activities. My favorites are the laidback beach vibes such as “Moscow Mule” or “Ojitos Lindos” with Bomba Estéreo. However, if you’re in more of a party mood, Bunny has that covered with the high-energy “Tití Me Preguntó” or the aptly named “Party” with Rauw Alejandro. On top of this, there is plenty of diversity in styles of dance music on this record. This ranges anywhere from bachata to salsa to trap. It fits any party you want on the beach, in the resorts, or in the streets of Cancun.

Paris: Nonante-Cinq – Angèle

When I spent some time in Paris, I listened to a lot of Brent Faiyaz and Post Malone, as they released new music around the time. While both are good, they remind me of Paris more by association. This album fits the city’s energy a bit more. Many people in Paris cited Angèle as the perfect background. Angèle is terrific at crafting an atmosphere with her music, and it felt like I was right back in the streets of Paris. This project reminds me of Bad Bunny’s in that we have many moods to match. First, we have what I believe is the premiere Paris vibe: midnight rainy walks through the cobblestone. Songs such as “On s’habitue” or the ballad “Taxi” are the perfect feel for those situations. Then, we have the lowkey nightclub dance-pop vibe with songs like “Solo” or “Démons” with French rapper Damso. I’m a huge fan!

Orlando: Horizons – Surfaces

In this entry, we have a destination I have more experience in. I lived in the Orlando area for a few years while completing college and just loved it. Orlando is a beautiful, carefree, sunny city that is so fun. Surfaces capture the same atmosphere of this in their music flawlessly. Despite being a Texas-based band, this duo makes tunes as if they lived in an island paradise. Their third album, Horizons, is their most consistent one for me and helps soundtrack The City Beautiful. With Florida being such a laidback state, the first few songs have quite apt titles: “Take It Easy,” “Good Day,” and “Lazy” are perfect for poolside relaxation. If you’re excited about Universal Studios and want something a little more hype, you can throw on “Bloom,” “Sunny Side Up,” or my personal favorite, “Keep It Gold.” You cannot go wrong with Surfaces in Orlando.

Rome: Call Me By Your Name (Soundtrack) – Various Artists

This one might be cheating. Soundtracks are more compilations than albums. However, this one is too perfect not to put in. This soundtrack was more curated for summer in the northern countryside of Italy, where director Luca Guadagnino grew up. You can hear this much through the collection of 80s Italian pop songs laced throughout this soundtrack. However, as someone who spent some of their childhood in Rome, this is an excellent addition to your time there. Listening to these songs put me back in my family’s old apartment. While those 80s songs are a delight, the real star of the show here is the two original songs we got from American singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens. “Mystery of Love” and “Visions of Gideon” are two genuinely beautiful and elegant pieces of music that everyone needs to hear. Playing these two songs throughout Rome will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on you.

I hope you all enjoyed this article! Sorry if your dream destination was not on this list. I am sure there’s a perfect album for it. It might be a fun activity for you as it was for me. Have a great summer in advance!

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