Road trips are a perfect way to focus attention on music and LPs, whilst taking in the many landscapes on your journey. (Albeit the trip to Nottingham on the M1 isn’t that extraordinary.)
As students, most of our time is taken up with revision, writing essays, and getting involved with societies. Travelling is a wonderful way to re-establish a love for listening to music. Some of our contributors here at Impact have recommended their favourite albums to listen to whilst on a road trip – why not have a listen the next time you’re travelling?
Band of Horses – ‘Everything All the Time’
‘Everything All the Time’ is the 2006 debut album by Seattle indie-rock group Band of Horses, and to me it embodies all the qualities that a road trip album should have. At only ten tracks in length, it is long enough to captivate your feelings but short enough to not overstay its welcome.
“This approach allows for a deeply atmospheric, yet ultimately relaxing listening experience”
Symbolising a perfecting of the soft sound American indie-rock had been gravitating towards in the early 2000s, the album effortlessly takes the listener through a handful of soothing yet emotionally impactful songs. Tracks like The First Song and The Great Salt Lake are iconic for their drawn-out, reverb-intensive driving guitars, which are paired masterfully with lead singer Mat Brooke’s echoed vocals. The songs with a faster rhythm, such as Wicked Gil and Our Swords encompass rolling drum patterns which almost seem to lend themselves naturally to a journey, and standout number The Funeral aids in breathing a solemn, wistful admiration into the project.
‘Everything All the Time’ is chock-full with a sense of melancholic peace and of reposed wonder. This approach allows for a deeply atmospheric, yet ultimately relaxing listening experience, perfect for reflecting during a long summer drive.
Mateus de Sá
The Stooges – ‘Fun House’
If George Ezra can be described as the “Prius of Pop” then Iggy Pop’s abrasive squadron of grimy and depraved musicians, The Stooges, are the musical equivalent to road rage. A grubby, snarling, violent beast of a record, the perplexed anger of ‘Fun House’ has iconically established itself as one of rock music’s most legendary records.
“the lack of calming temperament in ‘Fun House’ transforms even the most mundane car trips into a scene from ‘Mad Max’”
The garage-rock of Loose is provocative yet unleashes a newfound confidence within its listener. From the very beginning of Down on the Street, the drug-infused dual-guitar soloing four-piece managed to conjure an adrenaline rush like no other, perfect for roaring down a motorway on a sweat-inducing summer’s day. A maelstrom of primal fury and incandescent exhilaration, the lack of calming temperament in ‘Fun House’ transforms even the most mundane car trips into a scene from ‘Mad Max’, reverberating any residual anger into the comfort of the leather passenger seat beside you.
Lorde – ‘Pure Heroine’
Perhaps one of life’s greatest gifts as a teenager is being given the opportunity to start driving. Released whilst she was just 16, New Zealand’s Lorde is the quintessential voice of many young and confused people, yet her debut record is a startling example of narrative songwriting at its very best.
Written during her early teens, ‘Pure Heroine’ is a true recollection of the tensions, frustrations and freedoms that surround suburban adolescence and digitalised boredom, offering a passenger-seat reflection of life, that is orchestrated and narrated with such depth that it is instantly relatable to the masses.
“Royals is a direct snub towards the all-too-predictable nature of commercial radio, sneering at its pop-addicted nature”
Whilst I personally resonate perfectly with someone who manages to announce to the world that they are bored twice in the opening twenty seconds to their debut record, as a whole, the album is a tribute to those built up emotions that come to the forefront of late-night city drives. The sombre moments are perfect for recreating the dramatic refrain of looking through the car window on a rainy day, or as the streets lights pave the way on deserted streets.
Audio-wise, the deep-rooted percussion comes to life within a car audio system, whilst a highlight of the record has to be Royals. The album’s most successful offering, and the single that defined Lorde as the voice of a disgruntled generation, Royals is a direct snub towards the all-too-predictable nature of commercial radio, sneering at its pop-addicted nature. An ideal listen for some emotional-spilling nostalgia, ‘Pure Heroine’ is everything that your rebellious teenage heart desired, and much, much more.
The Doors ‘L.A. Woman’
Imagine a seven-year-old girl playing ‘Need for Speed: Underground 2’ on her dusty PS2, bopping to Riders on the Storm (the best song on the game’s soundtrack), throttling her customised Nissan 350Z around the fictitious “Bayview”. That was me. I was a car nerd. Little did I know that I was listening to what would be my favourite band ten years later – The Doors.
“songs like the title track, L.A. Woman, make me want to buy a ’67 Shelby GT500 and race around Californian deserts”
Riders on the Storm is perhaps one of my favourite songs of all time, and I will never be able to dissociate it from driving and car games. ‘L.A. Woman’ is the final album of The Doors as a quartet, and the last track, Riders on the Storm, was inspired by Jack Kerouac’s novel ‘On the Road’. The roman à clef retells the adventures of Kerouac and his Beat mates (including Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs), where the characters utilise hitchhiking to get around the States. Thus, it’s difficult to think of Riders on the Storm without thinking of travelling, car journeys, and druggie Beat writers.
Just generally, ‘L.A. Woman’ has a rhythmic and driving force (I’m terrible at jokes) behind each song, which propels the listener through the album. (The listener will want a large single malt whiskey after hearing the album. Maybe this is why lead singer Jim Morrison was an alcoholic.) Songs like the title track, L.A. Woman, make me want to buy a ’67 Shelby GT500 and race around Californian deserts. The Doors, then, have unintentionally created a perfect road trip album.
Mateus de Sá, Ben Standring, and Hannah Pickard
Featured Image courtesy of Alexandre Lazaro via Flickr.
Image use licence here.