Let’s face it: although we’d all love to be driving down that two lane mountain road, navigating our CC through exciting twists and turns while sucking in the “natural” sounds that such an activity entails, the vast majority of our driving time is spent going to work or running errands. Therefore, we turn to music for entertainment while we cruise down the roads we’ve traveled thousands of times. Since we live in an era where we can bring literally every song we own into our vehicles, I thought it would be prudent to share some of the sounds I enjoy with the rest of you.
Being primarily interested in the rock genre, some of my most favorite bands are fresh acts that channel their predecessors in a new way. Haim is one such group, three sisters that have distilled a very Fleetwood Mac vibe into a modern indie-rock package.
This next group, Arcade Fire, have been on ipod playlists for over a decade now, but it wasn’t their 2010 album The Suburbs that they found mainstream recognition. “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” is the apotheosis of their ruminations on modern society. Its not at all ironic that they have a picture of a car in front of what looks to be some sort of tropical getaway on the album cover. Its not total isolation from everything they want, just a place they can go without the trappings of everyday life. This song asks one of the most pressing questions of contemporary times: can we really ever get away from it all?
Aside from being one of the best songs to play while highway driving at night, its also a surprise justification for Yoko Ono’s style of singing. Listen to “We’re All Water” from Sometime in New York City to see what I mean. Band member Regine Chassagne really does a fantastic job here at channeling what made Ono’s work good while creating her own sound.
I’ll finish off this post by sharing a favorite classic of mine. Weezer’s debut album was seminal in the development of my musical tastes. It was the first time I understood the concept of an album as more than just a collection of songs, and it enlightened me as to how broad the rock genre could be. Most of all, it was just a really good album that blew me away upon listening to it for the first time. “In the Garage” drew me to its celebration of geekiness; Rivers Cuomo wasn’t lashing out at bullies or meekly saying he liked being nerdy, but instead confidently declaring his love for the lifestyle he lives without pretension.
I imagine I’ll share more of the music I like in the future, and I hope other contributors do too, since music listening and driving enhance both activities. Is there a particular song, album, or artist that tickles your fancy when you’re behind the wheel? Feel free to divulge below, or to declare that you only listen to NPR while driving.