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Summertime is approaching, many people will spend their vacations on road-trips. People might travel solo, to find themselves or just to see and merge with the world, or might go with a group of friends and loved ones. In any case, music is a must to accompany those magic moments that a road-trip reserves to its explorers. Here is a playlist of 14 songs, proposed by Toonari Post to all those who will hit the road this summer, driving through the journey of life.
The Passenger – Iggy Pop
This is THE song for a road-trip. The infamous track written by Iggy Pop and Ricky Gardiner, featuring David Bowie as back-vocalist, accompanies the soul of every traveler. Interpreted by some as referring to the nomadic spirit of the punk outcast, the song well expresses the journey of anybody who is exploring both the world and their person.
Road Trippin’ – Red Hot Chili Peppers
A ballad that tells the story of a trip that Anthony Kiedis, John Frusciante, and Flea made after Frusciante re-joined the band in 1998. It is played acoustically, with no drum riffs. The track sets the intense mood of a relaxed and nostalgic journey, and of companionship.
California Stars – Billy Bragg & Wilco
A penetrating folk song, whose lyrics were written by infamous folk musician Woody Guthrie. It is part of the project carried on by Billy Bragg and Wilco, who composed the tunes for some of Woody Guthrie’s lyrics found by Guthrie’s daughter. Bragg and Wilco also performed the songs, releasing the collection ‘The Mermaid Avenue.’ The rhythm and the lyrics of this song warmly cuddle the travelers through their journey.
Wheels – Foo Fighters
“Well I wanted something better man, I wished for something new. And I wanted something beautiful, I wished for something true. Been lookin’ for a reason man, something to lose…” Dave Grohl sings about the failure of life expectations. The melody and the well composed tune are adequate to create the feeling that “there is another round,” and that it’s worth it to keep looking for something.
Kashmir – Led Zeppelin
The song was inspired by Led Zeppelin’s tour in 1973, through the Sahara desert, south of Morocco (although the name refers to the Kashmir region, which is the Northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent). Plant told Cameron Crowe, “The whole inspiration came from the fact that the road went on and on and on.
It was a single-track road which neatly cut through the desert. […] It basically looked like you were driving down a channel, this dilapidated road, and there was seemingly no end to it. ‘Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dreams…’ It’s one of my favourites… […] It was so positive, lyrically.”
Me and Bobby McGee – Janis Joplin
The blooming personality of Janis Joplin goes through a catchy song about love, freedom, and the attitude of keep going. Listening to the song, one can feel the road rolling under your feet.
Where Did You Sleep Last Night – Nirvana (Lead Belly Cover)
A traditional American folk song interpreted by many, made famous by Lead Belly, and performed outstandingly by Nirvana during the MTV Unplugged in New York, recorded in 1993. A powerful and intense performance by Kurt Cobain touches all the senses, with its sweet, strong, melancholy personality. Kurt Cobain himself declared that he particularly loved his performance of this song during that night.
Symbol Song – Dredg
The beautiful introduction to the Dredg’s concept album ‘Leitmotif.’ The whole album narrates the journey of a man who travels around the world to understand different cultures, in order to reach a higher consciousness and heal from moral disease, as told him by a spirit. The album develops around the concept of change, and ‘Symbol Song’ refers to the Chinese symbol for ‘change.’ The whole album will serve you well during the trip, but this song has a mixture of feelings that is unmatchable.
I’m Free – Rolling Stones
Appropriate for a good mood, sunny day, the sonorities chosen by the Rolling Stones well express the sense of freedom the song is about. It is an adequate “easy” song, good to listen while on the road, driving towards your next destination.
Have Love, Will Travel – The Black Keys (Richard Berry cover)
Performed by many artists, The Black Keys give an exciting version of this Richard Berry song. A man who is willing to leave everything behind find pure love. The catchy rhythm creates that right thrill to energize the journey.
Postcards From Italy – Beirut
A sweet, melancholy, but joyful song. It is on Beirut’s album ‘Gulag Orkestar,’ which recalls the Balkan influences of the band’s style. The nostalgic lyrics are opposed to the cheerful rhythm, creating all together a pleasant listen which will carry the listener’s imagination away.
Glósóli, Sigur Rós
The song sets a magic atmosphere that enables the listener to fully relax and feel carried away by the melody. It gives, mainly in the final part, a strong sense of freedom and liberation. Perfect for those who travel to find themselves, and those who love to get lost in thoughts.
Forever Young (Alternate Version) – Bob Dylan
A beautiful song, a blessing from a parent to a child. It full with beautiful wishes for a person and the life to come in the future. The alternate version has the typical rhythm of a folk song, which inspires a good mood. The amazing lyrics do the rest. If you want to start your day of adventure with a positive vibe, this song will work for you.
Station to Station – David Bowie
The first track of the album that has been considered the transition record for Bowie. Bowie told Q magazine, “The ‘Station to Station’ track itself is very much concerned with the stations of the cross. All the references within the piece are to do with the Kabbala.
It’s the nearest album to a magic treatise that I’ve written. […] It’s an extremely dark album. Miserable time to live through, I must say.” Magic is the right adjective to describe it; the rhythm and the approach varies a lot during the song. Another perfect track to listen to while traveling towards the next destination.