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Master Playlists

We asked five local bands to make mixes tailored to five classic summer activities. Visit to listen to them yourselves.


"50 Ways to Leave Your Lover": This is a song that I advise people to listen to. —RZA   

The Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA has ridden the Staten Island Ferry thousands of times. His new solo album, Digi Snacks, comes out this Tuesday, and he plays at Webster Hall on July 5.

“Wake Up Everybody”
Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes I remember listening to this as a little kid. I was really poor, and this song made me feel like there was hope.

“Do Ya Wanna Get Funky With Me”
Peter Brown
This is for when you’re heading to the ferry—I used to ride the dollar van, now I walk or ride the bus.

“More, More, More”
Andrea True Connection
Listen to this when you go to the concession stand.

“Tender Love”
Force M.D.’s
The ferry can be a very romantic place. Take it up to the third deck, you might get lucky and see a pretty woman sitting there alone, right when you pass the Statue of Liberty.

“My Melody”
Eric B. & Rakim
This is for the hip-hop side. In the old days of the ferry, there were guys hustling loose joints downstairs. I can see me back then, getting my smoke on, listening to Rakim.

“My Adidas”
There was nothing like coming back to Staten Island fresh with your new Adidas on. I loved Adidas, and shit, I felt so cool when Run-DMC made this song.

“Fly Robin, Fly”
Silver Convention
This reminds me of standing outside at the back of the boat, watching the bubbles blow up, seeing the pigeons fly up, maybe throwing them some food.

“50 Ways to Leave Your Lover”
Paul Simon
When the Wu-Tang got popular, I would ride the boat just to get serenity. This is a song that I advise people to listen to. “Hop on the bus, Gus.” Now, he didn’t say get on the Staten Island Ferry, but that’s another way to do it.

Wu-Tang Clan
You gotta represent Staten Island. Also, it’s how to prepare yourself for New York City. This city’s all about the money.

“Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”
Elton John
As the Wu-Tang Clan, we needed to get off of Staten Island to find our real life. We used to meet on the ferry on our way to see Russell Simmons. Me and Ol’ Dirty got arrested on the ferry three or four times. I remember fighting cab drivers. Fighting Brooklyn niggas. Hitting on somebody’s girl, and then her boyfriend comes.

“Native New Yorker”
This is when you’re approaching Manhattan. I really feel the Yankees, the mustard—I really feel New York when I hear this song.

“Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now”
McFadden & Whitehead
Now you get off the boat, you’re on your way to the real world. You should have this idea in your head—ain’t no stopping us now.

"Rhapsody in Blue" has a quirky feel to it, especially when played really loudly while driving.
Albert Hammond Jr.  

The Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. releases his new solo album, ¿Cómo Te Llama?, on July 8. He just bought a house upstate; here’s what he listens to on the way there.

“Goodbye Horses”
Q Lazarus
You want to start a weekend trip without stress, and this has a smooth sound to get a drive going. And it’s a fun sing-along if you have friends with you.

“Monkey Man”
The Rolling Stones
Some people see it as a dark song, but when you play it during the day, it has a great rock-and-roll feel.

“A Life of Illusion”
Joe Walsh
When a friend played this for me, I liked it so much I couldn’t believe it was Joe Walsh.

Let’s get a little literal with our drive. This has honking, which could confuse you, keep you on your toes.

“Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere”
Neil Young
This feels like wanting to get out of something you’re in and going somewhere you’d rather be.

“Failure 33 Object”
John Frusciante
Some people hate this song. It gets kind of creepy. But anything that comes after it sounds like a relief.

“Janie Jones”
The Clash
I didn’t know about this when I first got into the Clash because it’s not a single. But I think it should be.

“Ça Plane Pour Moi”
Plastic Bertrand
Long drives require pick-me-ups. What’s more exciting than a French power-punk pop song?

“Tea for the Tillerman”
Cat Stevens
It’s only one minute, and it starts off so light, but you get into a huge chorus at the end. You might even play it a few times.

“Absolutely Cuckoo”
The Magnetic Fields
I love when Stephen Merritt says, “Don’t fall in love with me yet / We only recently met / True I’m in love with you but / You might decide I’m a nut.”

“Come Softly to Me”
The Fleetwoods
This takes you to the fifties—having a cigarette, rolling the window down.

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