Vacation

Album: Swim Team (2017)
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Songfacts®:

  • The Dirty Heads' upbeat single "Vacation," featured on the California reggae-rock band's sixth studio album, is built on the notion that if you love your job, you'll never work a day in your life. Jared Watson, the band's co-lead vocalist, got the idea for the song while he was walking his dogs and contemplating the happy life he'd built for himself with the band. It took a lot of hard work both professionally and personally (he had to overcome addictions to alcohol and Vicodin) to achieve success, and he wanted to encourage fans to find their own path to happiness.

    "As long as you're doing what you love, you can't really ask for more," he explained in a 2017 radio interview. "If you aren't in that spot, there's nothing holding you back from changing that and going and making that happen. And we're proof of that."
  • This went viral on TikTok in 2021 thanks to the "Vacation Challenge" that has users sneezing their way into a vacay with the song playing in the background. Watson picked up on the #vacationtransition trend in February 2021 in a clip of him sneezing into his arm and being transported onstage performing the tune. The challenge, which garnered over a billion views on TikTok, increased the song's streams by over 40% across all digital platforms, and boosted the band's profile internationally.
  • Thanks to renewed interest in the song, the band recorded a new version with Train in 2021. The accompanying music video features performance footage spliced with clips from the TikTok challenge. Train frontman Pat Monahan was eager to jump on the track, saying, "My whole family has loved this song since it came out. Getting a chance to sing on it was really cool for all of us, and I think it made me a much cooler human."
  • Upon its release in 2017, this peaked at #14 on the Alternative Airplay chart. After its revival in 2021, it was certified Gold by the RIAA for more than 500,000 copies sold in the US.
  • In an interview with The Aquarian, Watson reflected on the song's viral success and how social media can be an asset to modern musicians. "It's such a crazy time to be a musician, and a lot of people hate on social media and streaming and things like that. I think most people are getting used to it now, but I love it. I really love the fact that it's giving all the power back to the fans and like giving the power back to the people. Not even giving it back to them! Just giving it to them finally," he said. "It's giving opportunities for musicians to blow up just because you write good music and somebody found it, and it became popular because it was a good song. Like it's not up to program directors anymore. It's not up to labels dumping a bunch of money into one song from one artist and like controlling the industry, forcing you to do radio shows, and forcing you to do this and that or they won't play your song."
  • The music video, co-directed by Wayne Isham and Ryan Ewing, stars actor Dennis Haskins as a fun-loving principal who frolics through the empty hallways of a school, lip-syncing the tune and clearly enjoying his job. Haskins is known for playing Mr. Belding, the principal of Bayside High on the '90s teen sitcom Saved By The Bell. The group was hoping to show a different side of the wholesome character, but their hands were tied. "We wanted to get him to do way more debauchery in the video but he can't, like he legally can't because he's still Mr. Belding and does appearances and stuff," Watson told Ic3y. "We wanted him smoking weed and drinking and burning stuff and driving around on a golf cart and doing a bunch of s--t but he couldn't."
  • Dirty Heads released a smooth summertime version, "Vacation (Attaboy Remix)," on June 18, 2021. Attaboy is songwriter and producer Nicholas Furlong, the man behind AttaBoy Music. He is best known for co-writing and contributing vocals to Avicii's 2014 hit "The Nights."

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