Sustainable and toxin-free living

Sustainable and toxin-free living

The Perfect Pool Party and Beach Playlist for Summer

Hi! This post is a year old. If you want an updated version, head over to my summer 2014 version!


The perfect pool party or beach playlist takes a special music sauce. It must be upbeat, yet laid back. I should give guests lounging around the pool the sense that “It doesn’t get better than this.” It must sound good when backed by the percussion of cold beers being cracked open, and inspire listeners to tilt their heads back and close their eyes with pleasure as the sun bathes their bronze faces.

Ideally, you would have a DJ friend show up with a mixer (placed far away from the water) who could do all this for you. But if you don’t, you can still send your guests away with the sense that something epic happened that day by the blue waters of the pool or ocean.

I whipped up a nine-hour long playlist for my sister’s birthday exactly a year ago, and since then I just keep adding to it! So here is the updated version for 2013, with 179 tracks. It starts with classic rock favorites, then goes into some fun 80s rock tracks, then a few nostalgic 90s songs and old school hip-hop interspersed with 2011 and 2012 mashups, before dropping into current indie hits, then fading into some beachy chillwave right around dusk before jumping into disco house and–around when everyone is ten beers deep–into cheesy pop hits that everyone loves to sing along to, before finally ending in excellent and exuberant dance music.

And remember, it’s your playlist. So listen, consider, and edit it to suit you and your friends’ tastes. At the very least, it’s an excellent starting point.

I’ve shared the list on Spotify here:

However, there are a bunch of more obscure tracks you can’t find on Spotify and have to download. Plus, not everyone has Spotify. So I’ve listed all the tracks for you below.

If the song title is linked, you need to listen to it/download it from SoundCloud to experience it. It’s worth it, I promise. The rest are available on Spotify and probably iTunes.

Classic Rock

Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival
I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) – The Four Tops
For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield
Volunteers – Jefferson Airplane
Joy to the World – Three Dog Night
Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
I Get Around – The Beach Boys
California Girls – The Beach Boys
Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys
Jumpin’ Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones
Take on Me – a-ha
Paradise City – Guns n Roses
American Girl – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Ramble On – Led Zeppelin
Song of the South – Alabama
Glory Days – Bruce Springsteen
Your Love – The Outfield
Centerfold – J. Geils Band
Summer of ’69 – Bryan Adams

80s Pop

Jump in the Line – Harry Belafonte
Maneater – Daryl Hall & John Oates
Black or White – Michael Jackson
Heaven Is a Place on Earth – Belinda Carlisle
Young Turks – Rod Stewart
Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey

90s Nostalgia

Walking on Broken Glass – Annie Lennox
Semi-Charmed Life – Third Eye Blind
Lovefool – The Cardigans
Summertime – Sublime
Summer Girls – LFO
Soak Up the Sun – Sheryl Crow
Miami – Will Smith
Genie in a Bottle – Christina Aguilera
Cold Beverage – G. Love & Special Sauce

Feel-Good Hip Hop and Mashups

Feels So Good – Mase
Keepin’ the Faith – De La Soul
Body Movin’ – Beastie Boys
Dutchie Courage – Star Slinger
Sunshine – Atmosphere
The Good Life – Chiddy Bang
Summertime – Will Smith
The Way You Move – Outkast
Candyman – Cornershop
Crime – Chip Tha Ripper
Still Strugglin’ – Raekwon
The Recipe – Kendrick Lamar, Dr. Dre
Machine Gun Funk (Woody Remix) – Notorious B.I.G. 
Party at the Crib – Bei Maejor 
Let’s Ride – Bon Thugs-N-Harmony
Lady Killers – G-Eazy, Hoodie Allen
Grown Up – Danny Brown
My Type of Party (Dom Kennedy feat. Tyga & Juicy J) – OPM
Hip Hop Hooray – Naughty By Nature
Hypnotize – The Notorious B.I.G.
Tupac – Do for Love – Vodka & Milk 
Runnin (Philippians RMX) – The Pharcyde
History Town – Mos Dub
Midnight Life – The White Panda
Dancing With the DJ (Chiddy Bang) – The Knocks
God of Joy (Dionysus) – Anthem
Dear Professor – The Dean’s List
Foreign Exchange Student – XV 
Stage Dive – Sol

Indie Hits and Songs That Should Be Hits

Shove It – Santogold
New in Town – Little Boots
Around the Bend – The Asteroids Galaxy Tour
Kids – MGMT
Home – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
East Coast Girl – Cayucas
Now We Can See – The Thermals
Daylight – Matt & Kim
Lisztomania – Phoenix
Shuffle – Bombay Bicycle Club
Punching in a Dream – The Naked and the Famous
Palomino – Mates of State
Learn to Fly – The Knocks
Hollywood featuring Penguin Prison (The Magician Remix) – RAC 
City of Lovers – Baby Monster
Burn It All Down – VHS or Beta
Houdini – Foster the People
Don’t Stop – Foster the People
Bombay – El Guincho
Rain of Gold – Young Empires
Nobody Lost, Nobody Found – Cut Copy
Show Me – Mint Royale
Lights & Music – Cut Copy
Pumped up Kicks – Foster the People
Hearts on Fire – Cut Copy
Living in America – Dom

Remixes and Mashups

Flowers – Teeth
Golden Cage (Fred Falke Remix) – Whitest Boy Alive 
Sunshine (Justin Faust Remix) – Picture Book
Polish Girl – Neon Indian
Passion Pit – Sleepyhead Remix – Streetlab
Diet Mtn. Dew [the original, not album version] – Lana Del Rey
Breathe – Capital Cities ft Tupac Shakur

Chill(ish) Wave (Like, Not Strictly but Close)

Brooklyn Sunburn – Teen Daze 
Just Another Day – Stori 
License to Drive – Work Drugs
Lovers Carvings (Bruno Be & Eddie M Remix) – Bibio
Myth – Beachhouse
Everything Is Embarrassing – Sky Ferreira
Under the Kicks – Ellie Goulding vs Foster the People
I Wanna Go – Summer Heart
Fifteen – Goldroom
Luv Deluxe – Cinnamon Chasers
All Eyes on You – St. Lucia
New Theory (RAC Mix) – Washed Out
Sweetness Alive (Bufi Remix) – Goldroom
Sonnentanz – Klangkarussell
Lime – Koi
You Make Me Feel Good – Satin Jackets
Summerlong – Xylos
Le Sable – Sunrom
Paradise – Wild Nothing
All Eyes on You – St. Lucia

Palm Tree-Summer-Disco-House

Get Lucky – Daft Punk
City Girls – Goldroom
Paris (Aeroplane Remix) – Friendly Fires
You Take Me There (Rodriguez Jr. Remix) – Pedro Mercado & Karada feat. Zoe Xenia
All Day All Night – DJ Romain
Trans.Pacific Summer Blues – Illich Mujica 
Need U – Duke Dumont, A*M*E
Inspector Norse – Todd Terje
Street Talk – Inland Knights
Set Me Free – Dato
Sun – Kenton Slash Demon
Let’s Have a Kiki – Scissor Sisters
Bonafied Lovin (RAC Mix) – Chromeo
ue Veux-Tu (Madeon Extended Remix) – Yelle
Reckless With Your Love (Tensnake Remix) – Azari & III, Tensnake
You [Ha Ha Ha] (Goldroom Remix) – Charli XCX
Tongue Tied (Gigamesh Remix) Grouplove
KDC Scion Mix – Kaviar Disco Club
Heatwave – Fabian
U Got Me – Lee Foss
High – Sun City
Slow Down – Poolside
Romeo (Monitor 66 Remix) – Tempogeist 
Ragysh – Todd Terje
How Do You Do? (Todd Terje Remix) – Hot Chip 
Today – Daniel Dexter
Friends (Plastic Plates Remix) – Sneak Sound System 
Satellite – Rodriguez Jr.
Your Body – Gigamesh

Those Days (Viceroy Remix) – Amtrac
Midi Matilda (MyKill Remix) – Day Dreams 
Move in the Right Direction (Classixx Remix) – Gossip
Cold Nights – Chordashian
Summertime Sadness (Marcapasos Remix) – Lana Del Rey
You Don’t Know Me – U-Tern 
In My Arms – Mylo

Cheesy, Delicious Pop

Hits Me Like a Rock (Dillon Francis Remix) – CSS
Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke, T.I., Pharrell 
Paper Planes – M.I.A.
Gucci Gucci – Kreayshawn
We Found Love – Rihanna, Calvin Harris
Bad Girls – M.I.A.
I Love It – Icona Pop
I’m on a Boat – The Lonely Island
Anything Could Happen – Ellie Goulding
Super Bass – Nicki Minaj
TiK ToK – Ke$ha
Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO
Scream & Shout –, Britney Spears
Memories – David Guetta, Kid Cudi
Like a G6 – Far East Movement
Gagnam Style – Psy
We R Who We R – Ke$ha

Exuberant Dance Songs

Call me Skrillex J. Robinson – The Jane Doze
Call on Me – Eric Prydz
On the Beach (Andy Duguid Remix) – Above & Beyond
Collide – Leona Lewis / Avicii
Let’s Go – Calvin Harris, Ne-Yo
Summertime Sadness (Cedric Gervais Vocal Down Mix) – Lana Del Rey
Silhouettes – Avicii


  • Alden Wicker

    Alden Wicker is an award-winning investigative journalist and author of To Dye For: How Toxic Fashion Is Making Us Sick — and How We Can Fight Back (Putnam). She splits her time between managing her internationally recognized platform on safe and sustainable fashion,, and contributing to publications such as The New York Times, Vox, Wired, Vogue, and more. She’s made expert appearances on NPR’s Fresh Air, the BBC, and Al Jazeera to speak on consumer sustainability and the fashion system’s effect on people and the planet.

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