Today, as I embark on an out of town trip, it seemed like a good idea to highlight some of my favorite records to listen to while on the long road, wherever you may be going. This list isn’t as easy to make as you’d think. Some records are excellent, but many don't translate to long listens while cruising. It’s just that simple. These five records aren’t just some of my favorite of all time. They lend themselves perfectly to fun, being free, and sometimes epic car sing-alongs. I hope you enjoy, and hopefully next time you take a long trip you can jam some of these!
Arcade Fire, Suburbs
Maybe it’s the length of the record, or the fact that many songs talk about roads being constructed and torn down, but this album has always struck me as perfect driving music. It has it’s high intensity moments, like the breakneck pace of “Month of May,” but it also has it’s slow and steady moments like “The Suburbs” and the closer “Suburbs II.” The album has everything you could want, and it molds itself to losing yourself on a highway, as you reminisce about being a teenager driving all over the city with your friends, with the road as well as your life right in front of you for the taking.
the Avalanches, Since I Left You
For years I wanted to make a short film set to this record. The basic idea was to involve a grand-prix style race through treacherous mountains and vivid imagery in the background Obviously that never occurred, but I still love this album as a whole. Another one you can lose yourself to, it’s perfect for the highway because it’s varied in style, and the free flow of music and very short breaks into songs make it quick and simple to get into it. An album perfect for driving is one that allows you to forget your problems and also not be concerned about what track number you’re on. “Since I Left You,” the sole album by the Avalanches, is such an album, and perfect for a early afternoon drive through gorgeous scenery.
the Beatles, One
I’m well aware this is a record made up of “Hits,” but it makes the list for one very specific reason. Years ago I hated my job at a car dealership. It was just terrible in every way, but quite often I was allowed to go on errands. Still I was able to bring customers to and from if they needed to get somewhere. Having this record in the car not only helped my sanity and likely kept me from blowing that place up, but every customer I drove around loved hearing this record. That’s when I realized how universal this band actually was, and how much people of all walks of life love this incredibly perfect band.
Queens of the Stone Age, Songs for the Deaf
This list wouldn’t even exist if not for this record. These other four are merely other albums that fit the mold, but I would’ve never gotten the idea if not for this record. “Songs for the Deaf” starts inside of a car, and as we navigate in a perpetual drunken or drug induced haze, we encounter many oddball radio stations in the valley. The album is easily the heaviest on the list, but it’s also one of the best. Songs like the opener “You don’t think I’m worth a dollar but I feel like a Millionaire,” pivel drive like a car with the spirit of Satan, while a track like “the Sky is Falling” is perfect for having the windows down and the cool desert air in your hair and wiping through the car as you dive deeper into the unknown.
Jay Z & Kanye West, Watch the Throne
Every now and down you need some bounce in your car, whether you’re traveling hundreds of miles or just a quick around town. This monster of a rap album, featuring two of the best MC’s of the last 20 years is perfect for throwing down in the car. “Niggas In Paris,” is a classic from the first seconds, while “Otis” blows away and lights up the night sky. “No Church in the Wild,” also serves as a good mid tempo sailing song. The one rap record to make the list has to be a special one, and between Kanye and Jay they managed to make not only an all around great record, but one that so easy to sing and dance to as you pass up every slow car on your way to funtown.
Thanks for reading!
Landon Murray is a published writer and an avid lover of music, books and films. He's also a lover of the New Orleans Saints. He was born in 1982 and has a chainsaw tattoo on his arm.
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