I’ve been back from Europe for just over a month now. It took awhile, but I got settled back into New York City life, and shed the constant daydreams of rocky beaches, foreign men, motorbikes and ancient civilizations. That is, until now. Last night, I was walking to the Union Turnpike subway station, and I smelled something in the air that reminded me of Europe. It wasn’t a food smell, but a street smell. It reminded me of the streets of Rome. I’m sure I sound crazy, because I thought I was, too. But I swear, if you were there, you’d have thought the same thing.

Bernard Fanning: “Wish You Well” (download)
When you go on a coach-based tour with Contiki, you get a “day song.” Basically, it’s played on the bus first thing every morning and acts like a theme song for your group. Cute, I know. This song is pretty cheesy — it reminds me of the kind of thing that everyone at Hofstra would’ve loved — but, it’s admittedly incredibly catchy. By the end of the tour we all knew the words, and everytime we got drunk, we’d scream out for our tour manager to play it. A lot of people on my first tour had recently broken up with someone, so the message of the song was pretty fitting. I was just amused/curious at the fact that he sounds so happy even though he’s singing about how “love is dead,” and wondering, “why’d you give up on me so soon?”

DJ Bobo: “Chihuahua” (download)
The nice thing about the music on the bus was that it was usually soft enough that one could sleep over it. That is, unless they needed to wake us up. Usually our tour manager, Libby, would just jump on the mic, but sometimes she’d bust out this gem. This song is hilarious and ridiculous in so many ways, and for that reason cannot be missed.

Dire Straits: “Brothers In Arms” (download)
The first day of my cruising tour was spent en route to Istanbul, so we spent most of the day and night drinking and dancing at the disco. Towards the end of the night, the DJ started playing slow songs — not even really songs you can slow dance to — most likely because he was trying to politely kick us out. It didn’t work, though, because we usually just sang along to the songs. At one point, he played “Brothers in Arms.” By this point in the evening, it was just me and four of the guys, and we sat in our chairs, drinks in hand, and closed our eyes, singing and humming along. It was a perfect moment in its own way. (The DJ eventually gave up on trying to kick us out and just left.)

Laid Back: “White Horse” (download)
Mykonos is a big party island. I knew that just about everyone who went there liked it, but I didn’t understand that that is the reason why. We spent the first part of our afternoon relaxing on the beach, which is aptly named Paradise Beach. We eventually started heading over to the bar to get beers, but the bar was fairly empty. Around 4pm, music started playing. A lot of people had moved over to the bar, so I did, as well. “White Horse” is playing, and what do I see? Women in bikinis dancing on the bar, around a pool, and on platforms built with the sole purpose of having women in bikins dance on them, I can only assume. My second thought, after “wow, this is like walking onto the set of MTV Spring Break,” was “wow, this song RULES.” I had heard it before, thanks to my friend Courtney who put it on a mix for my 21st birthday, but I have to say that Mykonos was the perfect atmosphere for this song. Scantily clad and slightly drunk women dancing to lines like, “if you want to be rich / you have to be a bitch / rich / bitch”? Don’t even try to tell me that doesn’t work.

Ottawan: “Hands Up (Give Me Your Heart)” (download)
The DJ in the disco on our cruise ship tended to play the same songs. But we had to wait until the second to last night for him to throw this on. Most of the people on my second tour were 1-2 years older than me, and they all seemed to instantly recognize it and ran to the dance floor. I still ran to the dancefloor, but I felt cheated for having never heard this European disco-pop masterpiece, because it’s the kind of cheesy that I love (I will always maintain that there’s good cheesy and bad cheesy, and the line that exists between them is an important one). Ever since, I can’t listen to this song without either a) smiling uncontrollably, b) dropping whatever I’m doing and breaking out into a dance party, or c) doing some combination of the two.