SPRING BREAAAAK! The cry went up almost as soon as the calendar flipped from cold, brutal February to slightly more-hospitable March, and now that the clocks have been turned back and the Vernal Equinox is near, it's time to load up the coolers and party. Here are 16 up-to-the-minute reasons that Spring Break in 2013 could very well be full of BEST DAYS EVERRR...
1. The 20/20 Experience
Justin Timberlake's third album officially dropped this week, and it's just in time; the first single "Suit & Tie" is more appropriate listening for winter, since it's all about wearing clothes. But the cheeky "Strawberry Bubblegum," with its deliciously risqué lyrics and JT's perhaps-intentional callback to N'Sync's whirlwind 2001 single "Pop," will surely get dance floors poppin'.
2. Spring Breakers
Harmony Korine's neon-hued chronicle of sun-drenched debauchery stars Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens, as well as James Franco in cornrows. It might not be the best inspiration for your Spring Break itinerary (unless you've already penciled hard time into your schedule), but it should at least help set the YOLO mood.
3. "Bow Down/I Been Down"
Beyoncé's hot-off-the-Tumblrs new single is a Hit Boy-produced proclamation of her royalty status, complete with a second half that consists of a screwed-down B boasting over a track that's both ghostly and futuristic. But who will start the trend of "bowing" for the cameras, particularly now that there's...
Twitter's blink-and-you'll-miss-it video app allows you to be your own six-second auteur—the ideal amount of time to turn your revelry into short films. (Just be sure to, you know, not channel Spring Breakers so much that you actually get into committing crimes and subsequently committing them for posterity.)
The second set of EDM's biggest bacchanal, Ultra, has its second run this weekend down in sunny Miami, and with headlining sets by Tiesto, Avicii, Deadmau5, David Guetta, and Swedish House Mafia—not to mention appearances by Azealia Banks, Disclosure, Sleigh Bells, and others of party-ready acts—there'll probably be at least one leading light of EDM that you and your friends can agree on. (And if there isn't, there's always the rest of Miami Music Week.)
6. Spring Break anthems
Are you ready to hear the Best Song Ever while doing the Harlem Shake? Are you Party Rocking so hard that you're a Wild One who has to Scream & Shout? Then you're ready to vote in our tournament to decide History's Greatest Spring Break Anthem.
7. The beginning of flip-flop season
Forget the "no open toes after Memorial Day" rule. Go get a pedicure (yes, even if you're a dude) and get ready to show off your feet in cute, foot-exposing shoes. (If you're stuck in a chilly climate, don't fret—just pretend that your climate-controlled indoor environment is actually a beach, and that your bathtub is your own private pool.)
Mark "Marky Mark" Wahlberg and Diddy have endorsed this "high-pH water" for its hangover-curing properties, just in case you're feeling the bad vibrations after a night of too much craziness.
9. Luke Bryan
The party-happy country star just released Spring Break: Here To Party, a compilation of songs he wrote about beer, bikinis, and bad times with exes during the middle of March. While his Spring Break-themed tour ended last week, he has a cluster of mid-Atlantic shows scheduled for later this week.
10. The Real World
MTV's Spring Break programming is taking a breather this year; instead, the channel is spending Spring Break Weekend airing program that's as old as its target demo. (Here, by the way, are 34 choice photos from MTV Spring Break.) The channel's first and third seasons of The Real World, set respectively in New York and San Francisco and dating all the way back to 1992 and 1994, will air in marathon form on Friday and Sunday. (Saturday's schedule is given over to the relatively young Las Vegas season, which debuted a mere 11 years ago.) Pay attention to these airings, because they're old enough now that they might show up on an American Culture syllabus of yours sometime soon.
11. Good deeds
Instead of chronicling the antics of college kids in beach towns, MTV is partnering with the United Way for Spring Fix, which will send 50 college students to help out areas of New York and New Jersey that were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy last year. If you've been shut out of that and want to spend your vacation doing good instead of doing shots, the United Way has a list of other Alternative Spring Break options.
What better way to chronicle your exploits without leaving a trail? This selfie-destructing photo app only allows your pals to see what pics you've sent them for 10 seconds, max—perfect for those scandalous moments that you want to talk about, but don't necessarily feel like sharing with the world.
13. Mercury retrograde is over
The astrological period where the planet closest to the sun travels backward, which is marked by communication breakdowns, ended on March 17. What this means: Any arguments you and your friends get into will be caused by actual events, and not screwy planetary alignments.
14. March 23 is National Chip And Dip Day!
It's true. And what food is more intricately linked with partying than chips and dip? There are even some pop star-inspired pairings out there: You can dip Katy Perry-endorsed PopChips with Marshmallow Fluff, or you can run the world with Frito-Lay products like Doritos—Frito-Lay's owned by PepsiCo, which has a huge endorsement deal with Beyoncé.
15. Smush Cocktails
Low-calorie, high-flavor, prepackaged cocktails endorsed by none other than Jersey Shore's own Ronnie—although you'll have to track him down if you want to figure out the exact blend of mojito, cosmo, appletini, and margarita that makes up Ron-Ron juice.
"You only live once" is a philosophy that's been a bit battered by overuse and too many novelty t-shirts, but if you can't embrace it wholeheartedly on Spring Break, when can you?
Listen to … our playlist of the best party jams ever!
Read … 13 quotes to live by from the movie Spring Breakers!