Road Trip necessities: Music

One of the most important components of a road trip, especially a solo road trip, is a good soundtrack. I listen to music all the time – pretty much all day long while I’m home and ALWAYS when I am in the car. Some people listen to books on tape during long drives. I’m happy those people have found something that brings them joy, but I just can’t do it. I’ve tried it, and I almost fell asleep at the wheel. I need to rock out, preferably singing along if I know the words (and just making up words if I don’t), and often even dancing in my seat.

When we first moved to Ohio and I was commuting 100 miles a day between two terrible radio markets Victoria treated me to a subscription to satellite radio. It was one of the best things ever and continues to be. My stations of choice are XMU (Indie Rock) and The Spectrum (hmmm…not sure how to describe this…just good rock – older stuff and newer stuff), but I’ve been known to listen to pop stations, old school hip hop, and even some country music in a weak moment. Now that we live in St Paul we have an awesome local radio station, but I still find myself rocking out to my satellite radio on the regular.

On this trip – at least so far – I’ve been sticking to the standbys. I’d say 95% of my listening is to XMU and the other 5% (when I can’t stand listening to Jake Fogelnest anymore) I switch over to The Spectrum.  Here’s a list of some of the songs that have really grabbed me this trip…at least so far:

Bad Girls (M.I.A.) – I was really feeling this song before I headed out as well. It just makes me feel like a total badass (and the video is bananas!).

Brother Sport (Animal Collective) – An older song, but a good one. I love how repetitive it is and it had me bouncing and bouncing my way through Kansas.

No Love (Hooray for Earth) – Another song that’s been around for a while, but I love the hook – especially singing it LOUDLY in the car.

Andrew in Drag (Magnetic Fields) – A new one from the Magnetic Fields, Victoria was really rocking out to this when I left. I think the song is silly, and I enjoy it a lot, but mostly it makes me think of her.

Silent Song (Daniel Rossen) – A great solo track from one of the dudes from Grizzly Bear. I’ve really been feeling this one and definitely need to pick up this EP (which I’ve heard is quite good).

Disparate Youth (Santigold) – This is a new one from Santigold, I really like her vibe and her vocals. The beat is pretty killer too. Good stuff here.

Coca Cola Freestyle (Heems) – I really like what Das Racist has done so far and Heems’ solo stuff has been on point as well. This one is great – I’m really digging the sample in this – but his song Jason Bourne makes me laugh out loud.

Lived in Bars (Cat Power) – A few years back I went through a hardcore Cat Power phase. I love her albums “The Greatest” and “You are Free,” but “Jukebox” (her latest one?) was a no go for me. I love her voice, her style and hope she gets back to making amazing music. This isn’t my favorite Cat Power song (This one is much better), but it’s what they played on XMU and I was happy to hear her voice. Then I started thinking…I’m on a journey kind of like Nicolas Cage in “Leaving Las Vegas,” except without all the booze and with multiple destinations. Fingers crossed that I find Elizabeth Shue…

Don’t Let it Get to You (Rostam) – A recent solo track from one of the dudes from Vampire Weekend. I think I like this so much because rips off the “Obvious Child” drum rif from Paul Simon’s Rhythm of the Saints.

All of Me (Tanlines) – Another new track, this is an upbeat, fun, party type jam.

Postcards from Italy (Beirut) – Another oldie, but goodie. I love the lead singer’s voice and that they always, always use a killer horn section. This is the song I rocked out to on the radio, but their more recent hit “Santa Fe” would have been more appropriate, no?


  1. As a musician, I love a music-themed post. I look forward to listening to all of these songs and thinking of you on your adventure.

  2. Kind of weird because I hardly ever listen to music. Not sure why. Oh yeah, because I write and I like total silence when I do. So there. But I love a good tune to dance like no one is watching or sing like no one is listening – both of which I can’t do, so no one should be watching or listening! Bah.


  1. […] the front side of this trip I published a post on the importance of a good road trip soundtrack. The reactions to that post varied – some enjoyed hearing some new music. Others, like my […]

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