Long, short, monstrously epic – road trips come in all shapes and sizes. From the most meticulously-planned adventure to that spontaneous Friday evening after work, there’s an excitement that grabs us all; a new beginning, even if it only takes us down south for a few days before we trundle back home, tired and in desperate need of another holiday.
For this mixtape, we came together on our own ideas of the Road Trip: the awkward thrill of the unknown; buzzing frenzy as your trip hits full swing; the turbulent third act, where you know you’ll be homeward bound soon; and then wistful longing for it all to begin again.
Summer holidays are well under way – and our bags are packed! And with that, we dust off our hiking boots, fill the car with gas and hit the road.
Road Trip Pick: Gas – Pop (Untitled #1)
Pop is an amazing album that instils a great sense of harmony, serenity and warmth inside me. I first listened to this album a couple of years ago during a trip to visit family in the country. Sitting in the backseat of the car, this music was a perfect soundtrack to the beautiful images unfurling – lush green and yellow fields, blue lakes, sunlight piercing through the trees. So unlike other ambient albums, I listen to this one when I’m in motion. It’s ideal travel music that’s restless enough to keep me engaged but doesn’t distract from me from my surroundings.
Road Trip Pick: The Black Keys – Gold On The Ceiling
You hit the road, it’s already been a few hours, and the songs you once loved are now a regrettable choice for your playlist. A ‘pick me up’ is needed desperately to avoid further irritation. The Black Keys’ Gold On The Ceiling kicks in, and the surf rock track goes perfectly with the summer breeze in your hair. The song is energetic and infectious with its upbeat rhythm. The lyrics are simple to follow, and get you swaying.
This song is a reminder of exciting times to come, and making memories with what you have. Feelings of vulnerability, lost but care-free, all pushing, exposing you to the world. When in this state of mind, things begin to happen, befriending those on the road too, exploring new places and then your mind can’t help but to begin to spiral and expand as you get a taste for all the new experiences. Then reality hits you as the song ends, big things are about to happen.
Road Trip Pick: Neil Young – Till The Morning Comes & Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
It may seem a bit of a cheat, but I’m taking two tracks with me on this road trip. I love to travel, and wherever I go – across country, up the mountains, down the shops – Neil Young always comes along for the ride.
My two chosen tracks embody that essence of travelling. Till The Morning Comes, with its chirpy melody and muted, angelic vocals, unlocks the excitement of the first steps – who knows what the morning might bring? We’re living for the moment and that moment is right now – only, once you embrace it, ripping river currents and all, it ends, not even a minute-and-a-half in.
Young might have written this song for a lover, though it’s equally probable that he penned it after arriving in a new town, somewhere in the southern United States, perhaps. Dry as hell in the dead of summer; dusty, golden and full of promise.
My second pick, for which Young is joined by his long-serving band Crazy Horse, harks to that time in any traveller’s life when you’ve simply come as far as you can. You’ve overstayed your welcome in a town that, let’s be honest, had nothing much going for it in the first place. Soon enough, the homesickness begins to creep in and you’re fantasising about perfect family holidays and sweet, succulent home cooking that never really existed but you could learn to do if you get the right Ivy and Wilde home accessories for cooking. The wall is thick, impossibly so, but you break through, finally, and are faced with the great, vibrant green of the other side and the glorious prize that lies ahead. For a moment there, you’d forgotten why you left home at all – that tiny little town in the arse end of nowhere – but you remember and you’re back on track now. You strap in. It’s time to let go and see where the next adventure takes you.
Road Trip Pick: Swervedriver – Son of Mustang Ford
Swervedriver have ‘road trip’ written all over their music as well as their name. Who better to conjure up filmic nostalgia for epic, dusky, heartbroken American highways than a bunch of lads from Oxford? For me, their best songs from their debut Raise, such as this hair-raising blast, conjure up images of landscapes flashing past as you’re headed on down to the next troubled town. Distant hills, sweat, exhiliration, dust, sex and lust, all this and more from these thunderous chords. Rave down, hit the ground.
Road Trip Pick: The Sound Marshals – Walking on the Outside
This is a tune for outsiders, trying to make a difference in the direction only they know how to go in. It’s got a catchy guitar hook, atmospheric vocals, and a groovy bass line that compliments the images of a hair-down, roof-off, foot-to-the-pedal, future ahead of you.