To do the road tripping thing right, you know, really capture the picture in your head of the ultimate road trip–driving through vast open landscapes, the bare-footed passenger with her feet on the dash, sipping a rootbeer freeze from the mom & pop diner you stumbled upon in the July heat–then you know that the soundtrack is key here. Think of this image moving along to a badly tuned radio station playing Highway to Hell and you have one feeling (shiver) and then imagine the same image underscored with two people singing along at the top of their lungs to Maps by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, particularly slamming out the chorus. Pure Joy.
For this reason, we don’t take the playlist lightly. It takes planning and care. If we do it right, we’ll lift the mood of the landscape; we’ll enhance the drive. We could even time it so that The Old 97’s play us out of California with Won’t Be Home and Trisha Yearwood serenades us into Texas with Baby You Can Sleep While I Drive.
One of the things Jeff and I do once we’re on the road is try to create obscure playlists on the fly: one of us will say something like “vegetables” and then we spend the next hour or so trying to outdo each other’s knowledge of songs related to that theme. You end up with Pink Martini’s “Hang on Little Tomato,” “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” and Sugar Hill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight–“...the macaroni’s soggy, the peas are mushed, and the chicken tastes like wood…” all in one playlist. Bonus for thinking of songs with the theme in a lyric, but not in the title…much harder to do. And no googling.
We are starting to build our playlists that, thankfully, can actually be created given Jeff’s gigantic music library. But we’re open to suggestions. Think of all the possibilities of playlists: songs about states, songs about cites, songs about the open road, songs about writing home, songs about vacations, songs about petroleum products (seriously, She Don’t Use Jelly by Ben Folds Five, Gasoline by Jann Arden, plus all the songs dedicated to Vaseline)…really, it’s time to start creating some must haves:
Yeah Yeah Yeahs Maps
The Plimsouls A Million Miles Away
Jeff Beck Freeway Jam
Pearl Jam rearviewmirror
Neil Young Albuquerque
Janis Joplin Me and Bobby McGee
Modest Mouse Float On
Lyle Lovett If I Had a Boat
Johnny Cash I’ve Been Everywhere
Indigo Girls Get Out the Map
Van Morrison Bright Side of the Road
Pretenders Middle of the Road
We’ll share our playlists here. Up first, in preparation, is the obvious choice…songs about road tripping. Feel free to play along in the comments!
Our lists from the last Pales in Comparison Tour:
Friday, July 10
So here’s a new twist. We came up with a theme and created a playlist. I posted (most of) it to Spotify. Don’t even read all the titles, just start the playlist and as you listen see if you can guess the theme! Post your guess and subsequent additions in the comments!
or visit the Mystery Theme#1 on Spotify.
Thursday, July 9
Thanks for Peter DiFalco for the category: Royalty.
Wednesday, July 8
#PalesTour: Playlist (states and rivers)