We’re Adding New Songs to Our California Soundtrack

As a midweek pick-me-up, today I’m sharing some music for your listening pleasure.

The California soundtrack is a project of this newsletter that tries to capture all of the Golden State in music, and today I’m adding several new tracks to the mix.

Our sprawling playlist is a work in progress, based largely on your recommendations for songs spanning the past century that in some way reflect this complex and vast state. Among the latest additions are “I Got 5 On It” by Luniz (1995), “Hollywood Perfume” by the Pretenders (1994) and “California” by Childish Gambino (2016).

You can view the full song list here — the latest additions are in bold — or listen here.

As always, feel free to email a song recommendation and a few lines about why you think it deserves inclusion to CAtoday@nytimes.com. Please include your name and the city where you live.

Here, lightly edited, are some thoughts readers have shared about their choices:

“Day After Day” by Shango (1969)

“This was a minor hit nationally, but received decent airplay in L.A. and the Bay Area. The song suggests that an upcoming earthquake will result in California slipping into the ocean.” — Art Destin, Saratoga

“Kid Charlemagne” by Steely Dan (1976)

“Fusion of a funk rhythm and jazz harmonies. On the Rolling Stone list of the greatest 100 songs, and pure San Francisco. Based on the chemist Owsley Stanley, who is worth the time to read about — a huge factor in the Dead. This song meant so much to me living in San Francisco in the early 1980s and for 30 years after. A can’t-miss for your outstanding list.” — John Polk Stewart, Berkeley

“California” by Semisonic (1998)

“I included this song on a mix tape I made for my future husband, who was living in Santa Monica (yeah, I included the Everclear song, too) when I was in N.Y.C. I loved that the song implied a wishful but ill-fated idea of what a California dream might be.” — Ellen Ryan, Philadelphia

“California” by Grimes (2015)

“I’ve been making mix CDs for many years now for my parents — it’s a special bond we share. Since I moved to Los Angeles 12 years ago, I’ve started each one with a California-themed song. ‘California’ by Grimes — it’s a fun pop track with a catchy chorus that I love listening to on the way to the beach. The lyric that always resonates with me — ‘California, you only like me when you think I’m looking sad’ — I’ve always loved as feeling very fitting with the way women can be seen in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles.” — Linnea Snyder-Straw, Los Angeles

“Tulare Dust” by Merle Haggard (1971)

“So many songs about California focus on the coastal or mountain areas, and rightfully so. But forgotten, as they so often are, are the tireless farm workers of the state, especially in the Central Valley. Haggard reminds us that they were — and still are — the literal and figurative backbone of the state and the food it produces. I feel proud of my state when I listen to songs about its physical features; proud of its people when I hear ‘Tulare Dust.’” — Eric Philbin, Folsom

“Sin City” by the Flying Burrito Brothers (1969)

“‘Sin City’ captures the brooding undercurrent beneath the sunshine and palm trees that so many have written about, but few have nailed so cleanly as Parsons and company did with this faux ballad.” — Peter King, Bay Area

The San Marino High School Titanium Robotics team, founded 23 years ago, is on its way to Houston to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition’s world championship. With 33 club members and three alumni serving as mentors, the robotics team learns not just how to design and build a competitive robot, but also how to run what is effectively a small business, The Pasadena Star-News reports.

Among the hundreds of teams from around the world that San Marino’s team will compete against in Houston are about a dozen from other Southern California high schools. About 50,000 people are expected to attend.


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