Music Blogs - Blogged Blog Directory Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, May 04, 2007

5 Totally Awesome Road Trip Albums

When I was a student in Dallas, I often traveled between Dallas and Houston. It is one of the most boring rides you could ever take; 3+ hours of flat land and pine trees. Boo! One thing that always got me through was music. A good road trip album has in be moving. It has to inspire introspection. It has to feel complete. By the end of it, you feel as if you've accomplished something, like you're a better person for having listened to it. So here are my Top 5 choices for road trip albums. If I took a road trip and could only bring 5 albums, these are the albums I would choose.

#5: Eagles: "Hotel California" - Recently featured on my Anniversary Special, "The Unquestionable 10s," this classic album is the only classic rock album that is perfect from beginning to end. A lot of old records put the good stuff on side A and left the crap on side B. On "Hotel California" the B-sides were better than most album's A-sides. Beginning with the undeniably road-trippy title track, the album take you on a journey through rejection, love, and regret. All of its songs are relatable, classic, and totally awesome. This is a must-have on any road trip.

#4: The Decemberists: "The Crane Wife" - Last year's spectacular 4th album from The Decemberists is brilliant any way that you cut it. Like all road-trip albums, it takes you on a journey through worlds that you can only dream about. Crane wives, a murderous gang of Irish hooligans, feuding families; what's not to love about this album? By the time you get through the final track, you'll want to listen to it again and again. Fortunately, there are 3 other albums to take your mind off of it.

#3: Bright Eyes: "Cassadaga" - Pretty much every Bright Eyes album is going to be a perfect companion for your road trip. I chose "Cassadaga" because I believe it is his best yet. Besides, "I Must Belong Somewhere" is such a beautifully moving song, that it lends itself perfectly to this list. "Cassadaga" is a journey of self-realization. It's about awakening. And, for once, it's not all about Oberst. That's enough reason for me to put it on the list. Plus, I listened to it on a trip from Huntsville a few weeks ago, and I'm totally right about it being a great road trip companion. Of course, was there ever any doubt?

#2: The Postal Service: "Give Up" - Unlike a lot of the albums on the list, "Give Up" is one of those albums that you just have to sing along to. While I totally enjoy taking it easy on a long trip and just taking in everything, there are times where you just have to sing like an idiot to your music. In my opinion, there's no better album to sing along to than The Postal Service's 2003 masterpiece. Gibbard's lyrics are flawless and inspiring, and his melodies pretty much beg to be sung-along with. For a boring trip through the middle of nowhere, singing wildly is the best way to pass the time. Trust me.

#1: The Elected: "Sun, Sun, Sun" - While every other album on the list feel like they lend themselves to road trips, only this album feels like it was crafted specifically for this purpose. It begins with the somewhat saddening chorus, "'I realize why I cannot fly' said the bird with the broken wing. 'Though my lift is gone, my voice is strong, and I can still sing,'" and is followed by a few songs that seem to be soft reflections rather than empowering introspections. However, the album goes through a sort of metamorphosis and before it comes to a close you'll be drumming on your steering wheel, singing along with "Biggest Star," and feeling a rush of self-empowerment. The album ends with the same chorus it began with, but this time over a springy, upbeat guitar. Suddenly, the "I can't fly" is no longer important. "I can still sing," says the bird with the broken wing, and you realize that despite whatever life throws your way, you'll be okay. Awesome!

1 comment:

Allan Stec said...

There is definitely nothing like a good tune to back you up during a road trip. It's pretty hard to think of driving in a car without listening to something... like Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, some good old metal, or perhaps some nice Ska-jazz. Several good albums can put an awesome exclamation point on any road trip.