I’ve done mostly travel posts in my blog thus far, simply because its the summer time and that’s what I do in the summer, I get moving! Summer is great for anything! People are generally in much better moods and more active despite their boob sweat and worry about getting lymes disease from the several ticks that you pick off of your leg before showering at night. IT’S GLORIOUS! And people tend to travel more in the summer for vacations.
Now, flying or taking the train is wonderful, but a lot of people opt to take road trips. because if you traveling hours away from home, why not simply stop and enjoy the sights while you’re at it?
I wanted to compile a list of albums that I, personally, consider to be the best road trip music to listen to while driving. But some may be sadden by this list, it’s not very long. In fact its only five albums! But don’t feel as though I am saying these are the ONLY albums one should listen to on their adventures.
People may also be disappointed because there is not really any new music on this list. That is because of one) A lot of the music we have today I am not aware of because I am all over the place with my music tastes and usually don’t hear newer songs until they’ve been out for almost a year, and two) because not a lot of musicians make concept albums like they used to and don’t have the inspirational vibe like others.
These five albums, however, somehow alway heighten the traveling experience for me. They offer inspiration, enhance daydreaming, give an excuse to out right sing out the window to the car next to you, and to mellow out without completely falling asleep. I also wanted to add some honorable mentions towards the end!
1. The Beatles: The White Album (1968)
I honestly love listening to this album in the beginning segment of any long trip, especially if you are starting out early in the morning. When Jeff and I have long trips, our first couple of hours of any road trip consists of us still trying to wake up and we talk, talk, talk with music in the background. But if we’re not talking about current events, we’re usually talking about this album and all its beautiful glory. This album, for me, was where I truly fell in love with The Beatles. I still don’t think I can fully grasp Beatle mania like a lot of die hard Beatles fans, but this album I can listen all the way through and generally enjoy. They truly began to take music outside what they conventionally were known to produce. You have up beats such as “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da” which give you a warm feeling and you can’t help but tap your feet on the floor board and rock your head back and forth to; It’s a happy song to sing to, despite the fact that you know John Lennon hated the song itself. Tracks such as “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” and and “Rocky Racoon” have haunting, old western folk music feels to them, while “Blackbird” has a bittersweetness feel to it. Even though there are several fast beats and slow beats on this album, it definitely has a mellow feel to it and gives its listeners great story telling. Such a good album to listen to in the beginning!
2. Band of Horses: Cease To Begin (2007)
I feel like the later 2000s was an amazing music scene for indie rock. Around 2006-07 you started to see these indie rock albums pop up that made your freakin’ life! I did not listen to this album for the first time until 2009, almost two year after it’s October 2007 release, when a good college friend of mine gave me the cd to listen to on my move from Kentucky to Ypsilanti, Michigan (where I attended grad school). I listened to this album on repeat the whole ten hours, I felt each lyric somehow hit me in the gut. And the harmony between the lead vocals, provided by Ben Bridwell, and the supporting vocals, normally provide by Tyler Ramsey, are beautiful and offer a haunting after affect as well. There are only ten tracks on the album, but the quality in each is freakin’ beautiful. I defintely recommend you listen to tracks “Is there a ghost” which gives a nostalgic beginning but crescendos into a burst of energetic melody. “Noone’ gonna love you more than I do” is the most notable single from the album, but if you’re not familiar with it, then you might recognize it in the movie zombieland when Amber Heard’s character is about to eat Jesse Eisenberg’s face off. My favorite track, though, is “Ode to the LRC” because it reminds me so much of small town life. It was quite bittersweet listening to it while driving to a different stage of my life, living out of state, and now the song just puts a smile on my face every time. By the time you get to “Islands on the Coast” and “Cigarettes, Wedding Bands” you’re jamming at a fast pace.
3. Weezer: The Blue Album (or a.k.a TBA) (1995)
Weezer’s debut album is my NUMBER ONE pick for long distance travel. I can listen to this album three times in a row before I even consider changing to something else. The garage-punk-style mixed with upbeats and hard core guitar solos that remain short and sweet is every indie rock fan’s dream come true. This album is nostalgia at its core because some of the lyrics just make me think of Rivers Cuomo being his awkward self growing into a brilliant song writer in his garage. You have fun, mellow tracks such as “Undone (the sweater song)” and “In the garage”, but then you also have tracks like “Say it ain’t So” and “Surf Wax America” that make you grab the dashboard (unless you’re driving), rock your head frantically back and forth, and shout the lyrics out loud until you’re voice is no more. Though it sounds crazy, you haven’t truly lived until you have destroyed your voice to singing this album on a long distance drive.
4. The Clash: Give Em’ Enough Rope (1978)
I didn’t start truly listening to The Clash until I met Jeff. I was not really aware of much punk rock from the 1970’s and 1980’s. but then Jeff and I started dating when I moved to Michigan in the fall of 2009 and one of the first things I learned about Jeff was that his favorite person in the whole world, and is actually the only celebrity/musician Jeff actually cried when they died, was that his role model of all time was Joe Strummer. And who wouldn’t fall in love with the guy, he seemed to be one of the most free punk rockers of all. This album definitely has its deeper meanings with the some of the strongest tracks that The Clash ever recorded with tracks such as “Safe European Home” and “Tommy Gun”. But it’s songs like “English Civil War” and “Julie’s in the Drug Squad” tend to have the darkest of themes. I recommend this album when you’re in your final stretch and just. want. to. get. the. hell. out. of. the. car. It builds up your energy again, it distracts your mind with hard core thinking it makes the last bit of the trip go by fast.
5. Dierks Bentley Home (2012)
I know this one seems random, but this is for all you faithful country fans out there. I am not huge on most country music artists currently, but I do have a handful of artists that i still follow. Dierks Bentley is one of them. I met Mr. Bentley once while working at a hotel. We exchanged a conversation before he got on an elevator to go to the EAA airshow in Oshkosh. He’s a very nice man! But I am also a fan because I think that he’s one of the few storytelling country singers that we still have. His last two albums have been great concept albums, and he genuinely seems like he has a lot of fun being a musician. Jeff is NOT a current country music fan. He states that anything after 1980 is not good music. So I usually sneak this one when I am the one driving (cuz whoever drives listens to whatever they want to), or when Jeff is asleep. You have your country rock tracks like “5-1-5-0” and “Am I the Only One” that keep your feet tapping. But then you also have ballads like “Gonna Die Young”, “Heart of the Lonely Girl”, and “Home” that make country music in the summer feel like perfection. You feel the flow of the lyrics and the melody, and it really affects you emotionally. Finally, you have “Tip it on Back” which is one of his best storytelling tracks, giving voice to lower middle class farmers/citizens and learning to let it go and be free for one night. If you haven’t listened to this album, go out and give it a try!
A few albums I want to throw out there:
Modest Mouse: Good News For People Who Love Bad News (2004)–Best tracks: Float On, Dance Hall
Taylor Swift: 1989 (2014)–Best tracks: Shake It Off, All You Had To Do Was Stay
Pink Floyd: Dark Side of The Moon (1973)–Best tracks: THE WHOLE FUCKING ALBUM
Third Eye Blind (1997): Best tracks: Losing a Whole Year, Semi-Charmed Life, and Motorcycle Driveby (my favorite song, literally, ever)
Do you have some albums that you love to listen to while traveling? Share in the comment section! I’d love new suggestions!