Get those seat belts on, it’s time for a roadtrip. Our writers have selected the tunes that they blast out when they’re on the road.
‘Heroes’ – David Bowie
I’ll start by clearing up the obvious: yes, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of my favourite movies, and yes I did think of that scene when I saw today’s brief. However, I do firmly believe that the director of this movie made a great choice when he chose this tune to represent ‘the tunnel song’ (for those of you who haven’t seen the movie, Sam insists on playing this song whenever her brother drives through a certain, long tunnel, so she can stand in the back of his pick-up truck and dance along in the wind). To me, a good driving song should be epic, so a few minutes of your journey pass by while it plays, but also mellow and calm, so it provides nice background music for the scenery. Heroes is the perfect balance of these two qualities- it’s certainly an iconic rock song, but it’s also pretty chill. It’s the kind of song that calms you down when you’re stuck in traffic or in the midst of some road rage, without ever becoming tedious or boring.
‘Louie’ – Ida Maria
‘Louie’ is the third song off Ida Maria’s debut album Fortress Round My Heart. It’s an under-rated song in an under-rated album, not even being released as a single. In my family, that’s criminal: I’ve picked this song because we all used to belt it out while barrelling down the motorway. It’s not difficult to see why: Maria’s voice glides from powerful to vulnerable all the way back up to powerful again. With my mum and dad driving, we would all forget that none of us could sing. What I can’t forget, years later, is how much we enjoyed it.
‘Redbone’ – Childish Gambino
This was the most difficult day so far when choosing a song – when I’m driving I either like to listen to upbeat, fast paced tunes or I like listening to more chilled out songs, especially when driving alone. ‘Redbone’ definitely fits into the latter category. The elements of funk in the song are not at all outdated and Glover’s voice is so easy to listen to. Every time I listen to this song I find something else I love about it. Listening to the Market Shaker playlist whilst driving a Fiat 500 is embarrassingly on brand for me, but there is something about the chilled out vibe of ‘Redbone’ that makes it one of the best songs to listen to whilst driving.
‘Put A Donk on It’ – Blackout Crew
I can’t drive and don’t really know anyone who can, so this is a difficult one for me. I have, however, always admired the confidence of those people who drive round in old bangers blaring deafening donk out of the window, so in honour of them I’m going with ‘Put A Donk On It’ by Blackout Crew. Whilst I can’t claim it’s the best song in the world it’s really fun and if you’re in the right vibe it’s great. It’s also always really good to hear a proper Lancashire accent in a song.
‘Layla’ – Derek and the Dominoes
I don’t drive, but if I did, this is exactly the type of song I’d want to be listening along to. ‘Layla’ is Eric Clapton at his best, starting the song with a now-iconic opening riff and refusing to relent throughout the rest of the track. The chorus perfectly captures the anguish that is at the heart of the song, Clapton’s solos are simply superb, and the lengthy instrumental is nothing short of beautiful. This song is 7 minutes of musical bliss, making it the perfect accompaniment to any kind of journey.
‘Rocketman’- Elton John
When it was released space exploration was huge, this song talks of going on a long journey, what better song to drive off into the distance to. Based on a sci-fi tale of the 1950’s that tells the story of a child whose father is an astronaut and has to leave to do his work. Many links have been drawn between this song and Elton’s struggles with isolation and drugs. The mellow start to the song and subsequent build make you feel as if you’re taking off, ‘rocketing’ away from where you were to an open world. A class song, perfect for a roadtrip, or popping to the shops.
Synthwave is without a doubt the best driving music and this track is one of my absolute favourites. Just the absolute vibes when you’re driving along at night, streetlights passing above you, sitting in silence as you listen to the amazing vocals by both Kavinsky and Lovefoxx are incomparable to anything else. I can’t put into words how much I miss “borrowing” my dad’s car at 2am only to drive around the neighborhood listening to this track and others like it. Kavinsky is undoubtedly the king of Synthwave.
So, I don’t drive. Which kind of makes this day harder to write about. However, I’m making the best of a bad situation and picking my favourite beautifully melancholy Metro/moodily walking around town song. ‘Untitled’ is the opener from Interpol’s critically acclaimed debut ‘Turn on the Bright Lights’ and is a song which never fails to take my breath away. Daniel Kessler’s layered guitar on loop combined with Carlos Dengler’s spine-chilling bassline- my favourite of all time- give the track an instrumental simplicity with unmistakable beauty. Then you have Paul Banks’ vocals which are as close as you can get to an American Ian Curtis. The dark and mysterious beauty of this song makes it one which I like to play on late night walks, it truly brings the cold air and bright lights of the city streets come alive.
‘Dean Town’ – Vulfpeck
For me, the perfect driving song has to push your car’s bass speakers to the extreme. It’s the kinda song which you can metaphorically close your eyes to and take you away from the mediocre task of driving from A to B. With this in mind, ‘Dean Town’ by Vulfpeck is your go to tune. Trying to describe the bass in this song won’t do it justice. If you trust me and listen to it for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.
Last modified: 12th April 2020