We’re Adding New Songs to Our California Soundtrack

Credit…Spencer Gabor

We’re back with yet another update to our playlist dedicated to all things California.

For the uninitiated, the California Soundtrack is a project of this newsletter that tries to capture the Golden State’s complexity and abundance through music. We’ve been growing the track list for months, largely based on your recommendations, and the collection now boasts more than 250 songs.

Today, I’m adding about 20 new ones for you to enjoy. Among them are “Qué Onda Guero” by Beck (2005), “Sierra” by Boz Scaggs (1994) and “San Francisco (You’ve Got Me)” by the Village People (1977). We’re also including the newest song to ever grace the playlist, OneRepublic’s “West Coast,” which was released last year.

You can peruse the full list of California songs here (the latest additions are in bold) or listen here.

As always, the California Soundtrack is a work in progress. Email your own song recommendations and a few lines about why you think it deserves inclusion to [email protected]. Please include your name and the city where you live.

And now for some of what you shared about the latest additions:

“The Golden State” by City and Colour (2013)

“As someone who moved here from the Midwest, the lyrics about needing to see the leaves change and snowflakes fall really resonate with me every fall and winter. It also speaks to the transient nature of many of the transplants here, looking for fame and fortune before a natural disaster takes the whole state out. I love California and living in Los Angeles, but whenever I’m having a ‘bad’ California day, I put this song on and lean into the idea that California isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be.” — Stephanie Fajuri, Los Angeles

“White Christmas” by Irving Berlin (1942)

“The opening section (which, sadly, is sometimes cut) is about being in Beverly Hills and missing the winter. Wonderful opening lines: ‘The sun is shining, the grass is green, the orange and palm trees sway. There’s never been such a day in Beverly Hills, L.A. But it’s December the 24th and I am longing to be up north.’” — Jennifer Jovanovic, Los Angeles

“Cayucos” by Cayucas (2012)

“For me, this track absolutely embodies driving along the P.C.H. on a beautiful, er typical, California day; the ocean breeze streaming in through the open windows and the music from within, pouring out.” — Ryan Suffern, Los Angeles

More on California

  • In the Wake of Tragedy: California is reeling after back-to-back mass shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay.
  • Fast-Food Industry: A law creating a council with the authority to set wages and improve the conditions of fast-food workers was halted after business groups submitted enough signatures to place the issue before voters next year.
  • Medical Misinformation: A federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of a new law allowing regulators to punish doctors for spreading false or misleading information about Covid-19.
  • Oil From the Amazon: If you live in California, you may have a closer connection to oil drilling in the Amazon rainforest than you think.

“Los Angeles” by Sugarcult (2006)

“This song is a dark dose of pop rock adrenaline that perfectly captures a vibe of smoggy despair and slacker futility on a too hot L.A. day. With vocals that are shouted and borderline offensive, the song speeds forward on a sugary-sheen post-punk freeway of guitars and drums. It’s a trip to nowhere, but this song makes the ride seem darkly cool.” — Bill Faraghan, Pleasant Hill

“Ojai” by Ray LaMontagne (2014)

“This song captures that smooth, mellow, somehow sad feeling of driving in the Southern California sun — the sense that something, someone, or some place is just out of reach even though it is just over the hill. To me, it embodies that contradiction of Southern California — looking for paradise, not quite finding it, and making peace with that fact.” — Melissa Hahn, Burbank

“California” by Low (2005)

“So many of us are transplants from somewhere else, and this song captures for me both the appreciation or nostalgia you feel for where you came from that is just no match for the inevitably stronger pull of the Golden State — ‘back to California where it’s warm.’” — Shev Rush, Los Angeles

Representative Adam B. Schiff became one of the most prodigious fund-raisers in Congress during the presidency of Donald J. Trump. Credit…Amanda Andrade-Rhoades for The New York Times

The rest of the news

  • 2024 Senate race: Representative Adam Schiff, who led former President Trump’s first impeachment trial, announced he would run for Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat.

  • Covid misinformation: A federal judge blocked a state law that would punish doctors for sharing false Covid information with patients, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

  • Egg shortage: As egg prices surge in the U.S., border patrol has seen an increase of people trying to bring in eggs from Mexico. The biggest rise was in San Diego, which saw over 1,000 encounters involving eggs in less than three months.

  • Police shootings: The State Justice Department hasn’t been logging, much less investigating, police shootings of unarmed individuals, CalMatters reports.

  • Didion archive: The New York Public Library has acquired the joint literary archives of Joan Didion and her husband, John Gregory Dunne. The archive, which totals 240 linear feet of material, spans Didion’s life, starting with her birth in Sacramento in 1934 (represented by a hospital record showing her mother’s thumbprint, along with the footprint of a just-born baby Joan).


  • Water pollution: The Chevron El Segundo facility on Santa Monica Bay was ranked the large water polluter of nitrogen and selenium in 2021, a new study finds. The pollutants could be harmful to children as well as to sea life, The Los Angeles Times reports.

  • Eviction protections: Los Angeles County extended its eviction moratorium, days before it was set to expire, by two months until March 31, The Los Angeles Times reports.


  • No more drought: After a series of storms, the federal government has removed the Central Coast’s formal drought designation. The region is now classified as “abnormally dry,” The San Francisco Chronicle reports.


  • Half Moon Bay shooting: A farmworker told The Times about coming face to face with the gunman.

  • 82,000 new homes: San Francisco supervisors signed off on a state-mandated road map that details how the city intends to build 82,000 new homes over the next eight years, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

  • Hiring process: Officials are working to fix San Francisco’s “broken” hiring system, which includes weekslong application reviews, lengthy interview periods and extensive background checks, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Credit…Johnny Miller for The New York Times.

What we’re eating

Pad kee mao.

The Monterey Plaza Hotel.Credit…Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Where we’re traveling

Today’s tip comes from Irene Franco, who lives in San Mateo:

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to [email protected]. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.

Credit…Teresa Suarez/EPA, via Shutterstock

And before you go, some good news

Monday is apparently National Croissant Day.

In honor of the holiday, Yelp compiled a list of the top 30 spots for croissants in the United States and Canada, based on customer reviews. And, incredibly, the five best are all in California.

Among them are Chaupain Bakery in Laguna Hills, Izola in San Diego and Arsicault Bakery in San Francisco.

Happy eating.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back on Monday. Enjoy your weekend. — Soumya

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword.

Briana Scalia and Lyna Bentahar contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at [email protected].


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