Unless you view the automobile as an appliance that gets you solely from point A to point B (in other words: if you drive a Camry), you no doubt have a favorite twisty driving road near your home. Drives on such roads are great ways to clear your head and relieve the stresses of the day. They can help keep you sane, centered and sometimes are a great way to vent a little bit of your pent up aggression.
But just like peanut butter goes with jelly and peaches with cream, so does good music go with your favorite twisty, two lane driving road. As follows are ten of my favorite songs that I routinely listen to on my favorite Southern California driving road, the Ortega Highway, which runs from South Orange County to lovely (sarcasm inserted here) Lake Elsinore.
As I test cars for a living I need good driving tunes at all times. But take what you will from this list. It might just make for a perfect iPod Playlist for your next blast up your favorite driving road. As always, enjoy!
Queen-(Another One Bites the Dust)
This song’s guttural bass thump and clever wordplay is perfect for those moments when you have to muster up all your nerve to pass that sputtering, 35 year old Datsun pickup with the huge roll of carpet strapped to the back. Hopefully you will choose your passing time wisely as no one wants to see you “bite the dust.”
Journey-(Any Way You Want It)
Liberty, freedom and the awe inspiring nature of the “journey” we call life. It’s all here and there is nothing more liberating that listening to this song as you wind around the hairpin curves of your favorite driving road.
Kenny Loggins-(Danger Zone)
Try to expel any memory of the shirtless volleyball scene in “Top Gun” (or on second thought-don’t) and you will see that this song is the perfect sonic inspiration for a heroic driving experience when your “metal is under tension.”
Granted, you may have a hard time getting the image on scantily clad men in lederhosen and Lady Gaga in a machine gun bra out of your brain thanks to the crazy music video recently released for “Alejandro.” But this song still stands as my favorite Gaga track and is my vote for #1 summer jam even over the Katy Perry hit “California Gurls” (or however it is you spell it).
This. Song. Rocks. Period.
AC/DC-(Highway to Hell)
This song is a truly old school classic and is the perfect rock track for enjoying your favorite driving road. “Sweet Home Alabama” may follow a close second but nothing compares to this when it comes to what truly qualifies as “classic rock.” And if you are so young you think that Pearl Jam qualifies as “classic rock” please stop reading right now because it is past your bed time.
Scissor Sisters-(I Don’t Feel Like Dancing)
“You think that I could muster a ruffle/little soft shoe, gentle sway/But I don’t feel like dancing.'” I think the Scissor Sisters are liars because this song makes me feel like dancing. And if your idea of dancing is the gentle interplay of heel and toe downshifting with your manual transmission equipped sports car, this is a great song.
A friend of mine used to listen to this 1980’s classic before each road trip up the driving roads of the West Coast of this great country. This is an anthem of freedom, of strength, of “shooting at the walls of heartache/bang, bang/I am the warrior.”
Def Leppard-(Pour Some Sugar on Me)
It may be totally over-produced but this song is just so much fun it is irresistible. You can’t help but do a one-armed drum solo as you a driving. Sorry, bad joke.
At some point during your drive part of you will wonder if you really want to turn around and go back to the banalities of your everyday life. This song reminds us that our problems will always follow us no matter where we go. That doesn’t mean driving and music can’t offer you at least a momentary freedom from said problems. So at the Tennessee state line you need to decide, are you going to change your mind and keep on driving?