We’ve all been there. You’re gliding down the 405 Freeway and that song comes on during shuffle — the one that sounds great over your car’s stereo, the perfect road trip music to stare out the window and up at the sky. Suddenly, your life is a movie.
It’s hard to imagine driving without your phone on the auxiliary cord, choosing instead to listen to a static radio that censors songs as often as it repeats them.
It’s even harder to think about the individuals (sociopaths?) who elect to drive in silence.
Whether you’re driving to Los Angeles, San Diego or Lot G, there’s a song out there to encapsulate your mood and journey. So grab the Bugles, spend those 20 minutes trying to pair your iPhone to your car’s bluetooth and enjoy this selection of songs to drive along to while pretending you’re in a music video.
Prune, You Talk Funny – Gus Dapperton
New York singer Gus Dapperton has been described by Pigeons & Planes as a “paradigm shift” in indie music. That’s a funny way of saying textbook hipster.
To a music lover who shuns the invariable playing field of indie rock, the effect of Dapperton’s discography, complete with eye-rolling song titles like “I’m Just Snacking,” amount to a little more than a harmonica song in a jail cell.
But there’s a song from his 2018 EP “You Think You’re a Comic!” (groan) called “Prune, You Talk Funny,” (louder groan) that serves as the perfect starter pistol for your road trip.
urban outfitters employees on their way to work: pic.twitter.com/znRk2A92Cv
— gary from teen mom (@garyfromteenmom) March 25, 2018
Keeping in mind all of my half-articulated criticisms of Dapperton, “Prune, You Talk Funny,” isn’t half as bad as its title. The song is actually quite melodic, and Twitter has even labeled it the anthem of Urban Outfitters employees on their way to work.
In the track’s chorus, Dapperton’s voice cascades over synths and guitar strings in ways that evoke the feeling of driving through the countryside in a restored 1960s Chevy with your friends who have bowl haircuts on purpose.
This is indie rock at its most charming and campy. That reason alone merits its place on this list.
Nights – Frank Ocean
“Round the city, round the clock. Everybody needs you. No, you can’t make everybody equal,” sings Ocean on “Nights,” a track off his 2016 album “Blonde.”
Those lyrics were enough to make me, a single freshman in college with absolutely no social or familial obligations, bang my forehead against my steering wheel.
Not only is this song an optimal choice for your car stereo, but hearing the beat shift at the song’s 3:30 mark in the middle of evening traffic could result in a 16-car pileup.
Normal Girl – SZA
Ever driven home with your significant other after a disastrous first meeting with their parents?
If not, then you can just pretend you did while listening to “Normal Girl,” a track off SZA’s debut, grammy-nominated album “Ctrl.”
Lyrics like “This time next year I’ll be livin’ so good, won’t remember your name, I swear,” are practically written to be belted in a car, driving home from a breakup or bad date.
Crew – Goldlink (Ft. Brent Faiyaz & Shy Glizzy)
What better way to conclude your trip, wherever you are and wherever you’re headed, than with a reminder of just how great your life is?
If you roll your windows down, trust Faiyaz’s featured vocals, singing “She see money all around me; I look like I’m the man,” to remind the drivers around you as well.
Perhaps a continuation of the empowerment exhibited toward the end of SZA’s “Normal Girl,” Goldlink’s track off his 2017 album “At What Cost,” serves as the perfect crescendo to your journey, especially if you’re going somewhere you will want to make an impression.
But regardless of which song you end with, listening to a selection like this, I wouldn’t blame you for not ending it at all.