Top 5 Favorite Driving Songs

Everyone’s got songs that they love listening to while driving their cars. The music brightens your mood and makes you want to sing along. It’s something fun to do between stopping at that stupid red light that always catches you while you’re in a hurry and cussing out the jackass who just cut you off so he could drive under the damn speed limit even though there’s nobody behind you for about half a mile. And you’d better enjoy it while it lasts because once you get to work the only station you’ll be listening to all day will be the soft-rock/adult contemporary station that plays “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train three times an hour.

In other cases, the music is full of fast-paced rhythms and heavy riffage that makes your adrenaline start to flow, and you start thrashing the steering wheel all around, driving like a maniac… WHIPLASH!

…I’m sorry, that wasn’t very funny. See, if you start driving like a maniac, it puts you at risk to hit a telephone pole or something, and then your head will jerk backwards and you might actually get whiplash. Or at least that was a problem before they started putting those headrests on the front seats. Well, the whiplash part, anyway. I’m pretty sure maniacs crashing into stuff is still an issue.

So now I’m gonna hit you with a couple honorable mentions, and then the top 5 will follow after the jump.

HONORABLE MENTION #1:

Queens Of The Stone Age, “Go With The Flow”

HONORABLE MENTION #2:

Muse, “Knights Of Cydonia”

(Incidentally, these songs also happen to have two of the coolest music videos ever made. Coincidence, or part of something greater? … It’s a coincidence.)

5.

Stone Temple Pilots, “Interstate Love Song”

You know, I always thought it was kind of odd that the lyrics in “Interstate Love Song” mention “leaving on a southern train.” I mean, when I think “interstate,” I think of four-lane highways extending from Maine to Florida and always have a ton of traffic jams on them. Especially in Delaware. I have been in more traffic jams in freaking Delaware than probably anywhere else I have ever been (not that that’s saying much, as I am not very well-traveled). Why? It’s not like there are NASCAR races at Dover Downs every day, you know?

Were You Aware? Delaware’s status as the first state to ratify the Constitution is still, 217 years later, the only thing it has going for it.”

America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide To Democracy Inaction

Of course, I suppose you could also say that railroads cross state lines just as much as highways do, so I guess it still makes sense. Plus, “Transcontinental Railroad Love Song” isn’t as catchy a song title.

4.

Beck, “E-Pro”

I’m not sure exactly what it is about “E-Pro” that makes it one of my favorite driving songs. Maybe it’s because that guitar riff sounds pretty badass blasting out of your car’s speakers (not that I’m the kind of guy who blasts his speakers, but you get the idea). Or maybe it’s because the drum pattern was borrowed from the Beastie Boys’ “So Whatcha Want,” which gives it a cocky hip-hop swagger that says, “Hey ladies, check out my sweet ride! I got me a 2000 Ford Focus. Gets me from point A to point B. Good gas mileage too. Paid for it with my own money back in high school, ’cause I’m awesome like that… why, yes, that is a Bichon Frise in the passenger seat. His name is Harley. Yeah, like the motorcycles. So anyway, back to me and my car… and… uh… and I see you’re too busy petting Harley to pay attention to me. That… that’s just super.”

CHICK MAGNET.

Best believe I taught him everything he knows. And now the student takes the teacher to school on a routine basis. I’d ask him for some pointers, but… well… I don’t speak dog. I don’t even have a tail to wag. And if I asked a girl to rub my belly, she’d file a restraining order. I can tilt my head in adorable confusion and that’s about it.

3.

Foo Fighters, “Monkey Wrench”

“Monkey Wrench” is one of those songs where as soon as you hear that fast-paced guitar riff, you just want to floor it and try to scream along to that bridge in one breath, which I’m pretty sure isn’t even humanly possible. And yes, I have tried it. But not while flooring it, because I don’t want a speeding ticket. I am a careful driver, dammit. I’m not one of those jerks who likes to weave his way through traffic at a hundred miles an hour just because he can. When I speed, I try to be reasonable about it. Only up to 20 MPH over the number on the sign — that’s it!

2.

Queen, “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Do I really need to explain this one any further?

1.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “Runnin’ Down A Dream”

You guys may like the #1 choice on this list, but I practically guarantee you’re going to laugh at me when you find out why it’s here. I hadn’t realized just how awesome a driving song “Runnin’ Down A Dream” was until it soundtracked a lengthy car trip through the bright lights and gang battlefields of the cities and the oddly charming dinginess of small towns tucked away in remote sections of the woods, past beaches and around mountains, over bridges and through tunnels, all in a matter of minutes in a shiny blue convertible with the wind whipping through my hair.

How is such a car trip even possible, you ask? That’s easy — just dust off your PS2 and pop in a copy of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I am dead serious. And I know it sounds kind of crazy. But if ever a video game existed that really nailed the vast, diverse, and fascinating landscape of this country, San Andreas is probably it. I spent countless hours just driving around, randomly exploring every inch of virtual territory the game had to offer.

And out of all the great music on the game’s soundtrack, no other song felt like a better fit for my aimless wandering than “Runnin’ Down A Dream.” Every time it came on it made me want to hop in my 2000 Ford Focus and do some exploration in the real world — running down my own dreams, looking for mystery and going wherever it leads.

But not until the song ended and I’d found the nearest save point.

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