Is there a better way to spend a holiday then going on a road trip? Alone or with friends, driving through amazing landscapes will be part of your greatest travelling memories. But sometimes the road can be very long and boring; in a couple of weeks I’ll drive on the longest straight Australian highway: 145.6kms without a single turn. In this kind of moments especially, a good playlist might save the day. It’s a very subjective topic, but here’s my top 11 songs’ suggestion for a playlist that will bring you to brand new horizons! Ready to get in the car?
1. An opener: Where The Streets Have No Name – U2
This might be my all-time favourite song – top 10 definitely. Its long progressive instrumental introduction is perfect to start a playlist. Though the first lyrics can relate perfectly to escaping on a road trip (“I want to run/I want to hide/I want to tear down the walls that hold me inside”), the original meaning is actually about breaking up divisions between people. Just be careful if you listen to this song while using a GPS, it might be complicated to find out your way in a place where the streets have no name…
2. The perfect title: Road Trippin’ – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Not much more to say to explain why this song should be on a road trip playlist, is there? Maybe a look at the lyrics: “Road trippin’ with my two favourite allies/Fully loaded we got snacks and supplies/It’s time to leave this town/It’s time to steal away/Let’s go get lost”. Sounds like a great beginning for a road trip to me.
3. For a hot drive: Highway To Hell – ACDC
If you drove once in the Australian outback, this song might bring some memories alive. A road trip in the red center during summer, when the temperature scales over 40°C in the shade, in an old backpacker van without AC: that’s another definition of being in hell… But at least you can sing out loud the chorus of this song without disturbing anybody, except maybe a kangaroo or two.
4. To forget about your trouble: Everything’s Gonna Be Alright – Bob Marley
Because a road trip should be the moment where you don’t think about anything else than your next destination, the next beach you’ll lay on or the next mountain you’ll climb. No angry boss, no bad Monday mornings, no bills to pay: “Don’t worry about a thing/’Cause every little thing gonna be alright”.
5. A classic to sing along: Beatles, Rolling Stones, Queen…
Nothing like a huge classic to get the atmosphere up in the car! Songs like We Will Rock You by Queen (don’t clap your hands if you’re the driver!), any Beatles track (maybe Ticket To Ride or Drive My Car to stay in the road trip theme) or a Rolling Stones hit will make everybody sing along. Just what it needs to bring Good Vibrations (especially if you like the Beach Boys) to the road trip.
6. To hope for good weather: Follow The Sun – Xavier Rudd
The worst thing that could happen during a road trip: rain. If bad weather is here, it can ruin every plan: no open car windows, no hikes, no beach sessions… The best advice will come from this song, an anthem for many backpackers in Australia: “Follow, follow the sun/The direction of the birds/The direction of love”. It might not help having sunshine every day, but at least its melody will warm you up on a rainy day.
7. A song to keep your eyes open: Uptown Funk – Bruno Mars
If you know this song, you probably already sung the “Dum/Dum dum dum, dum dum dum, dum dum” from the beginning. The whole track itself is real dynamite: it will make you want to dance and keep your eyes open: no risk to fall asleep on a long boring drive! The danger might be not focusing on the road anymore instead…
8. A song to drive slower: Slow Dance – Serein
The danger if you’re only listening to upbeat tracks like the previous one would be to overspeed without even noticing it… Nobody wants to lose his licence in the middle of a road trip! To avoid that risk, the quiet atmospheric music of Serein would be perfect. You probably never heard of them yet because this electronic duo based in Melbourne only released a couple of songs so far but they’re really talented and they deserve more exposure. Follow them on facebook and listen to them on Spotify!
9. A movie soundtrack: Into The Wild – Eddie Vedder
Every generation had its movie that made people dream of changing their life and going off the beaten track. Easy Rider with the song Born To Be Wild by Steppenwolf for the 60s-70s hippie generation, or closer to us one of my favourite movies ever: Into The Wild. The stunning images and the dramatic authentic story of Chris McCandless contributed to make me want to go explore the world. The soundtrack of the movie was written by Eddie Vedder, singer from the band Pearl Jam and I love it as well: it fits perfectly into a road trip playlist.
10. For a road trip in the USA: Bruce Springsteen… and many more
The United States of America have been sung by so many artists in so many songs during all periods that you could easily make a very long playlist just with tracks about this country. Here are some examples: Born In The Usa (Bruce Springsteen), Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd), Californication (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Breakfast In America (Supertramp), Empire State Of Mind (Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys), Hotel California (Eagles)… Pick your own favourites!
11. Follow the poll of insurance.com: Don’t Stop Believin – Journey
If you’re running out of ideas to make your own playlist, why not following the recommendations of other drivers? In 2013, the American website insurance.com asked 2000 people what were their favourite driving songs, and 30% of them voted for Don’t Stop Believin by Journey. Other popular songs included artists such as Michael Jackson, ABBA, Queen or Bruce Springsteen. One sure thing: according to that same study, the worst song to listen to while driving is Who Let The Dogs Out by The Baha Men. You have to admit that you might look quite stupid screaming the “Who, who, who who” from the chorus alone in your car!
I hope you’re ready to enjoy your own road trip with these tracks! What would be your suggestions of songs to add to this playlist?