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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

And I'm Melissa Block. Now to summer music. Our critic Meredith Ochs has found a song she thinks is fitting for one theme of the season. That theme: skipping a vacation because of high gas prices or frustrations with the airlines. The song is called "How was California?" from the group Reckless Kelly. Here's Meredith Ochs.

MEREDITH OCHS: I will always remember 2008 as the year of the stay-cation, the notion that staying at home can be substituted for a getaway. I hate the way that word sounds as much as I hate what it means. It's just an excuse for canceling your summer travel plans in the face of sky-high fuel prices, unspeakable airline indignities and general economic woes. That's why I'm especially grateful for Reckless Kelly's new song about traveling called "How was California?" It's a much better rationalization for not going away than the dreaded stay-cation.

(Soundbite of song, "How Was California?")

RECKLESS KELLY (Rock Band): (Singing) How was California? Did they teach how to surf? Was it everything they said it was? Was it all that you deserved? Did you hate the Golden State? Was it hollow just like you? Just like every place you go, California's got the blues.

OCHS: This song by Reckless Kelly skips across the United States to illustrate the point that it's just not worth the trouble to go anywhere this summer. It has the kind of jaded feeling that only someone who's spent a lot of time driving around the country could express. But it's more than just a bummed-out anthem for a summer of staying close to home. Singer Willie Braun is hinting at our national malaise. According to him, every city has the blues, even his own hometown of Austin, Texas, a place known for fun.

(Soundbite of song, "How Was California?")

RECKLESS KELLY: (Singing) How was Austin, Texas? Did they greet you with a smile? Did you ride the pretty horses? Did you feel like you could stay a while? Did you hate the Lone Star State? Was it lonely just like you?

OCHS: As any itinerant knows, it doesn't matter how far you travel, you will always bring yourself with you. And that's another message in this Reckless Kelly song. People who go on vacation to escape their lives may get to do a new thing or two, but there's no way to leave your troubles behind. All that said, I guess I've resigned myself to spending this summer at home. Good thing I live in one of the most exciting cities in the world. Oh, wait a second. Reckless Kelly says New York is a bummer, too.

(Soundbite of song, "How Was California?")

RECKLESS KELLY: (Singing) Did you hate the Empire State? Was it miserable like you?

BLOCK: The new album from Reckless Kelly is called "Bulletproof." Our reviewer Meredith Ochs is a talkshow host with Sirius Satellite Radio. If you want to hear the entire song "How was California?", you'll find it at the music section of npr.org.

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