Mix Tape: Top Ten Driving Songs


A British insurance company surveyed a selection of its clients and concluded that The Killers' "Mr. Brightside" is Britain's most popular driving song.

That's not a bad tune to keep you singing and honking along. It made me wonder what makes a good driving song? Is it the lyrical references to the act of driving, the soothing quality to manage your road rage or does it just need to be steady tune to make that frantic every day commute to work a little less cumbersome?

When I think about "driving music" I think about music that fits the road - music that takes you places and that keeps you pepped and focused while also giving you something hooky to sing along to (if you dare). From a list of dozens of songs, I compiled a playlist of ten driving tunes. I don't drive much, but if it is a road trip, these are some of the songs, I'd pop into the CD player. (Listen to some of the songs on Mixwit.) 

What songs do you like to drive (or commute) with?  Read, comment and discuss after the jump.

The Killers "When You Were Young"    
I think this is one of my favorite pop songs ever written, and with lyrics like  "We're burning down the highway skyline -- on the back of a hurricane that started turning," you go on and on for miles. [Listen]

The Go-Go's "We Got The Beat"    
When night falls and your focus fades, this '80s classic will put your attention span right back into gear. [Listen]

Kaskade "Steppin' Out"    
Anything Kaskade will slow me down at the right moments. [Listen]

Outkast "Hey Ya"    
Outkast's infectious beat makes you go down that long and winding road a lot faster. [Listen]

Antigone "More Man Than Man"    
Pedal to the metal, turn down the windows and let a funky British breeze in. This tune will get your lowrider jumping
Cyndi Lauper "I Drove All Night"      

I love it when Cyndi Lauper sings in her lower timbre. This Roy Orbison cover is one of my fave Lauper tracks. [Listen]   

Drive-By Truckers "Two Daughter And A Beautiful Wife"
A little honky-tonk for that country road.

Maroon 5 & Rihanna "If I Never See Your Face Again"    
This is such a totally fun summer tune. Great for coasting with the sunroof open. And I dig it when Levine gets all articulate and sings, "I wonder if he's half the lover that I am." [Listen]   
Coldplay "Speed of Sound "      

I remember playing this song over and over again when I bought my new car a few years ago. It is one of the elevating tunes that takes you somewhere. [Listen]   
The B-52's "Funplex" 
Pimp your ride and go full throttle with some B-52's goodness and spread some joy around the neighborhood.[Listen]

Darren Hayes "Casey"      
One of the best (and most underrated) pop songs of the last 12 months. This will make you drive from broad daylight into the starry night.

Bonus: Prince ft. Sheena Easton "U Got The Look"
Show off your fabulous self in your fabulous voiture.

May 26, 2008 in Mix Tape | Permalink | Comments (7)

Mix Tape: Half Life by Aaron Krach


"Half Life" by Aaron Krach is one of the most entertaining novels I've read this past summer. The book tells the story about the depressed Adam Westman who grows up in the urban wasteland of Los Angeles in a broken family. After the suicide of his father, his young life unravels until a hunky cop comes to the rescue. Under the surface, the story is about the obscure relationships that people form and the illusion, dissapointment but also inspiration they often represent.

Krach has put together a mix tape of music to read by for Arjan Writes. I love his picks of Sigur Ross, the Beach Boys and Moby. After the jump, Krach gives a song by song description of his selection. Thanks Aaron!

1 "Von" by Sigur Ros
2 "Lost in Translation" by Adam West
3 "Yesterday is Dramatic, Today is OK", by Mum
4 Excerpt from the CD, "Moon Safari" by Air
5 Einstein on the Beach; "Knee Play 5" by Philip Glass
6 Excerpt from the CD, "Agaetis Byrjun" by Sigur Ros
7 "The Ballad of the Broken Birdie Records" by Mum
8 Excerpt from the CD, "Von" by Sigur Ros
9 "There is a Number of Small Things" by Mum
10 "Sexy Boy" by Air
11 "Constant Craving" by k.d. lang
12 "By This River" by Brian Eno
13 "Sweet Dreams" by Patsy Cline
14 "Surf City" by the Beach Boys
15 "Waterfalls" by T.L.C.
16 "Uptight, Alright" by Stevie Wonder
17 "Stars" by Moby

Sigur Ros.
Well, for my money, there’s a sneaky relation between the moody Icelandic bands music and the underlying vibe of Los Angeles…the L.A. of "Half-Life"…the L.A. without the movie stars…the L.A. when "ordinary folks" live extraordinary lives.

Because you can get every more surreal and moody than Sigur Ros. What is up with Iceland that the little place can churn out such trippy music.

Okay, French, not Icelandic. But damn the first album, "Moon Safari" is awesome and celestial, which is a theme that runs through "Half-Life." Stars and Hollywood stars and the Los Angeles sky that is never black enough too see the stars in the sky.

"Einstein on the Beach" by Philip Glass
The end-all-be-all of experimental operas. The thing blew people’s minds when it first came out and it continues to ripple through musical culture today. This particular excerpt is heartbreakingly romantic. Sample lyrics: "Two lovers sit on a bark bench next to each other. 'How much do
you love me?' he asked. 'As much as the stars in the sky,' she answered."

“Sexy Boy” by Air
This song is actually in the book. And it comes at a very crucial moment towards the end. Jeff, the sexy older cop picks it to play while on a date with young Adam.

k.d. lang
Because "Constant Craving" is perhaps the most universal song. And k.d. lang is vocal-genius.

Brian Eno and Patsy Cline
Two ends of the same spectrum. One electronic and the other country western, but like "Half-Life," both artists traffic in the melancholy of broken hearts.

“Surf City” by The Beach Boys
This one is also in the book. Adam, the main character is going through a phase where all he wants to do is listen to oldies. It’s also oddly ironic because Adam is so gay and couldn’t be further from the lifestyle celebrated in the song.

"Waterfalls" by T.L.C.
Another song from the book. Best friend Dart wakes up to the song one morning and thinks about the video. You know, the one where the guy has died of AIDS and his girlfriend looks at his picture longingly.

"Uptight, Alright" by Stevie Wonder
Because I could only pick one song by the master of soul. And this one is so positive, which "Half-Life" is as well. Under the layers of heartbreak, suicide and bad parenting lies a young man with a heart.

"Stars" by Moby
a) I love Moby’s music. B) when this song came out, it was about my book, I’m convinced. "We’re all made of stars…" is just too perfect. C) So I asked Moby (through his manager) if I could use a bit of text/lyrics as the dedication in the very front of the book. He agreed. And I couldn’t be more proud to have his artistry grace a front page of "Half-Life." Now I love him even more.

September 27, 2005 in Mix Tape | Permalink | Comments (2)

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