Driving Music
December 10, 2004 8:11 AM   Subscribe

Tomorrow I have to drive from Asheville to Richmond, which is about six or seven hours in the car by myself. I need some good driving music. What do you use/recommend?

I tend to think that the best driving music is something I can sing along to, which mostly means no electronica/jazz/classical etc. (although I am a fan of all three). I tend to load up on classic rock like Zeppelin and The Who, but I also dig Rusted Root and DMB live sets.

Also, I have The Lord of the Rings on CD but I can only listen to so much of it before I want real music. I'm not really interested in other books on tape/CD.
posted by Who_Am_I to Media & Arts (20 answers total)
Response by poster: Not that there's anything wrong with this thread, mind you.
posted by Who_Am_I at 8:29 AM on December 10, 2004

This podcast, Coverville may just do the trick.

The show is made up of mostly-good cover versions of generally well-known songs.

I'd say download 'em all if you have the time and fast-forward as necessary. So far there are 27 episodes, so there's a lot of good listening, no matter where your taste lands.
posted by baltimore at 8:36 AM on December 10, 2004

I use the Punk Rock. It keeps things moving. I've had discussions with other people who prefer long mellow songs to get lost in, so I'm sure it's a matter of taste and the philosophy behind the drive-time music. I have also had positive results branching out of this by making theme mixes and having 80mins of songs about cars and travel, or songs about food (be sure to bring snacks).

Since you like the Rock (and I always considered The Who's early work to be proto-punk) you might also like to mix in some punk, thus I'd recommend the following: Black Flag: Damaged; Husker Du: New Day Rising and Zen Arcade; Bad Brains: Rock For Light; 7 Seconds: Walk Together, Rock Together; Bad Religion: Against the Grain and No Control; The Blood Brothers: Burn, Piano Island, Burn; Braid: Movie Music Vol. One.; The Buzzcocks: Singles Going Steady; The Clash: London Calling; Down By Law: Punkrockacademyfightsong; Ex Models: Other Mathematics and Zoo Psychology; Fugazi: 13 Songs and Repeater; The Get Up Kids: Four Minute Mile; Hey Mercedes: Everynight Fireworks; Jawbox: Grippe and For Your Own Special Sweatheart; Jawbreaker: 24 Hour Revenge Therapy and Live 4/30/96; Minor Threat: Complete Discography; Minutemen: Double Nickels on the Dime; Misfits: Collection; NomeansNo: Live + Cuddly; The Ramones. The Refused: Shape of Punk to Come; Rites of Spring: End on End; Sleater-Kinney: Dig Me Out and Call the Doctor; Superchunk: No Pocky for Kitty; Wire: Pink Flag. Note: Not a single album title above contains the word "and" it's for multiples I say!

The drawback to the punk approach if you have to switch media (yet also part of its advantage) is the tendency toward short songs and album lengths.
posted by safetyfork at 8:38 AM on December 10, 2004

I'd like to sacrifice all credibility and suggest Thick as a Brick as good driving music. Also, Trout Mask Replica (seriously).
posted by kenko at 8:42 AM on December 10, 2004

Ben Folds Five is feel good sing-a-long music, that's great for driving.
posted by trbrts at 8:48 AM on December 10, 2004

I agree with those upthread: singing is the key to good driving music. I also am fond of driving punk, but more in the vein of Flogging Molly and (especially) Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies. (A must for those, like me, who love covers) Oh, and Dead Milkmen.

Also, I find that Tenacious D is always good for eating up an hour of drive time. No matter how many times I hear it, it's time well spent.
posted by absalom at 8:56 AM on December 10, 2004

The 90s No Depression stuff is good for driving. I'd go with:

Jayhawks: Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow the Green Grass
Uncle Tupelo: Anodyne and March 16-20
Son Volt: Trace
Wilco: A.M., Being There, and maybe one of the Mermaid Avenue albums
Bottle Rockets: The Bottle Rockets or The Brooklyn Side.

That stuff got me through a lot of looooooooooooong drives through South Dakota and Iowa.
posted by COBRA! at 8:58 AM on December 10, 2004

Tom Waits. Specifically Rain Dogs. I love listening to Jockey Full Of Bourbon in the car. Makes me feel like I'm part of the movie Down By Law.
posted by soplerfo at 9:18 AM on December 10, 2004

posted by repoman at 10:09 AM on December 10, 2004

Beatles and Bob Marley & the Wailers. The two groups I heard most growing up, so I know the lyrics to most of the songs, and they both have huge catalogs.

I have to second the Tenacious D and Wilco's A.M. rec's as well.

You might also want to try Radio Locator, you can search for radio stations (AM and FM)by zip, city, state, format or call sign.

Here's the page for NC.
posted by LavaLady at 10:27 AM on December 10, 2004

The Stones. Let It Bleed.
posted by extrabox at 10:36 AM on December 10, 2004

My favorite CDs for in the car:

R.E.M.: Lifes Rich Pageant (this is awesome)
R.E.M.: New Adventures in Hi-Fi
The Flaming Lips: The Soft Bulletin
Slowdive: Souvlaki
Pavement: Brighten the Corners
Herbert: Bodily Functions
Songs:Ohia: Magnolia Electric Co.
The Go-Betweens: Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express
The Soft Boys: Underwater Moonlight
Fugazi: The Argument
Neil Young: Harvest

I bet The Arcade Fire's record "Funeral" would be reallyl good too.
posted by josh at 10:51 AM on December 10, 2004

I'd like to sacrifice all credibility and suggest Thick as a Brick as good driving music.

Seconded. It makes you think of that car commercial, which makes you think of driving!
posted by kindall at 11:24 AM on December 10, 2004

Just recently did a trip myself, just for the day. Forgot to grab discs, so I was stuck w/what was in the car. Had a total blast. For some reason, there was an old Fabulous Thunderbirds disc (the first one I think), the Blues Brothers, and a few other odds and ends. It was fun as hell listening to the TBirds when they were good.
posted by damnitkage at 11:29 AM on December 10, 2004

I forgot about an old standard. I still have an actual cassette tape of this that used to travel with me from car to car:

Beastie Boys - License to Ill
posted by soplerfo at 11:39 AM on December 10, 2004

whilst tooling around the town or cruising on the local highways i find i prefer something that tickles the ears with a bit of chest-crushing, deafening, window-rattling bass. it makes me happy. the wife isn't such a fan, but when by myself i just love to crank it. anything with a good bassline is nice... i know you said you stay away from the electronica on a road trip, but i keep what little i have in the car for just such purposes. thievery corporation is a nice balance i think, not so harshly electronic while still containing plenty of mixiness to it. not so much for singing along, though. for times when i want to sing, i find that the beastie boys are a good outlet. (use the cruise control though, if you have one of those feet that tend to bear down on the pedal as the tempo increases!) paul's boutique for instance is a good driving album. for sure. heck, my little brother had to buy four copies of license to ill, because his friends kept stealing it from him. you can't go wrong with that.

if you have $80 you aren't doing anything with, you might pick up one of the rhino 7 disc decade of music sets - the 80s pop culture box or the 70s have a nice decade set have given my wife and i hours of entertainment (read: 16 hours on the road and still singing along to the music). i mean, how can you not launch into the chorus when you're listening to "rhinestone cowboy"? hell yeah! there is apparently a 60's soul box from rhino but i haven't heard that one, so can't comment on it.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:41 AM on December 10, 2004

I listen to This American Life during my weekly five-hour round-trip drive between Blacksburg and Charlottesville, and have found them so engaging that I've ceased listening to music entirely. I have about 70 MP3s of the hour-long episodes. Contact me if you'd like to provide you with some of my favorites.

Alternately, you could take exit 118B when you drive by my place, and I could give you a few burned discs. ;)
posted by waldo at 11:56 AM on December 10, 2004

Under no circumstances should you listen to Philip Glass while driving long distances.

It will make your road hypnosis 10 times worse.
posted by kreinsch at 12:15 PM on December 10, 2004

Response by poster: if you have $80 you aren't doing anything with

HAHAHAHA.....HAHA. *wipes away tear* Whew! Good one.

Seriously though, thanks everyone for some great ideas. Keep 'em coming.
posted by Who_Am_I at 2:42 PM on December 10, 2004

For that part of the drive where it's getting hard to stay awake, a little march music does wonders. You never hear it any more, the marching bands don't even play it, and it is different enough that it gets your attention. And if you get the right mix you realize that you know them all and can tap your foot, whistle drum on the steering wheel, hell get up and march around the car..
posted by mss at 6:03 PM on December 10, 2004

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